Former Rep. David Dreier, who has not held elected office for two election cycles, is polling near the top of the pack of potential candidates to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer in California, trailing just behind powerful Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris, the favorite in the upcoming race.
"If the California GOP were smart, they'd start their courtship of David Dreier right now," says an op-ed in The Orange County Register
pointing to numbers in a recent Public Policy Polling
survey about candidates that could seek Boxer's seat, after she announced that she will not seek re-election in 2016. "He may be just the man they're looking for to pick up the pieces and win in a major upset."
Harris, a Democrat who has served as attorney general for two terms, was the first to enter the race, and has since been lining up major endorsements nationwide, and the Democratic-leaning pollsters' results showed her with 34 percent of potential voters.
Her numbers weren't surprising, the Register explained, as she has won statewide office twice and has been spending millions to boost her name in the state's expensive media markets.
But Dreier, the only Republican listed in the Senate poll, came in second, with 19 percent of the voters.
Dreier has not only been out of office for several years, but "hasn't spent a penny on boosting his profile in years," the opinion piece points out, "yet [he] is competitive with Harris and ahead of former [Los Angeles Mayor] Antonio Villaraigosa, who is sitting at 16 percent."
Dreier is now a Brookings Institution fellow and founder of the Dreier Roundtable at Claremont McKenna College
The poll further showed Dreier behind Harris overall, head-to-head, by 47 percent to 42 percent, but 10 percent of the voters remained undecided. When matched head-to-head with Villaraigosa, Harris comes out ahead 45 percent to 23 percent, with 33 percent still undecided. But when the two top finishers are Villaraigosa and Dreier, the former mayor comes out by just 46 percent to 44 percent, with 10 percent undecided.
"When you factor in the margin of error, Dreier is essentially tied with two of the state's most powerful politicians — and he hasn't lifted a finger," the Register writes.
And even though California is very much a blue state, says the editorial, there is "no way" the race is a done deal, especially if "Democrats end up with a nasty primary that breaks down along racial lines, which could produce hurt feelings and leave long-lasting scars."
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