Rep. Mike Thompson is without a doubt a standard-bearer for the Democratic dynasty in California, and he shows no sign of releasing his grip on power in the 5th Congressional District.
Thompson is a native son of Napa County, and has maintained a permanent residence within our district boundaries for many years.
During a Middletown-area town hall meeting last year, he vowed “to protect the interests of my country, my state, and my district,” in that order. Who can fault him for that? I can’t.
Thompson is clearly nowhere near political extinction. In his recent congressional reelection, and each general election dating to 1998, he “devoured” his opponent. He received 78.1 percent of the vote during the 2018 mid-term elections.
For many, his challengers will require an introduction: Anthony Mills (2018), Carlos Santamaria (2016), James Hinton (2014), Randy Loftin (2012), Loren Hanks (2010), Zane Starkwolf (2008), John Jones (2006), Lawrence Wiesner (2004, 2002), Russel Chase (2000), and Mark Luce (1998).
For those residing in California’s 5th Congressional District, it appears as though we are in a long-term relationship with Mike Thompson. Or at least at such time as he sees fit to end it. A bit ironic.
However, I want to bring out a couple of facts. First, each of Thompson’s marginal electoral opponents have proven to be patently noncompetitive candidates. On average, Thompson has defeated his closest challenger by around 40 points.
Secondly, one recurring complaint is shared by his opponents: their inability to engage our member of Congress in a formal debate of the issues.
How unfortunate that Thompson has consistently chosen to sidestep this long-standing democratic tradition.
Is this fair to the electorate or an opponent when an entrenched, Tyrannosaurus Rex-like incumbent opts to tread carefully during a campaign to avoid any potential risks, however small, to his seat in Congress?
If I may continue without offending anyone’s political sensibilities, T-Rex is believed to had a life span of 30 years. Can we then expect at least 10 more years of Congressman Mike Thompson?
It appears Thompson enjoys representing his constituents in Washington, and he obviously has overwhelming support here. He is also, by any measure, the consummate politician. I do honor both his military and public service to our nation.
However, I am disappointed by the lack of serious competition in our congressional elections and Thompson’s reluctance to debate. To elaborate, consider the following quote: “Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.”