Battle among California Democrats to win House races now includes unsubstantiated candidate phone message

Democrats’ all-effort effort to win a handful of GOP-held seats in California to take control of the House is still a messy scrap among a crowded field of nominees — with the latest incident a tough-talking, unsubstantiated voicemail one candidate allegedly left on a rival candidate’s telephone recorder.

The call was reportedly constructed in recent days by Gil Cisneros to Andy Thorburn — top Democrats in a field of 17 candidates vying for the Orange County seat of retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce.

“Hi Andy, it’s Gil Cisneros, ” a man’s voice is hear saying. “I’m gonna go negative on you.”

The Cisneros campaign told Monday that a report by independent forensic analyst “clearly” states that the unidentifiable voice was not the candidate’s.

“The voice on that recording is not Gil Cisneros, period, ” campaign spokesman said Orrin Evan said about the tape, reported first by The Intercept blog.

Andy Thorburn, a California Democrat, is trying to win a House seat in a crowded field in Orange County.

Washington Democrat have for months run behind the scenes to winnow their field of nominees — attracted to the races in Southern California and other parts of the state by changing demographic and Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton win in seven districts in 2016 that had voted Republican since the Depression era.

Some nominees have dropped out, realizing that their campaign would only hurt their party. California has a top-two primary system, entailing the No. 1 and No. 2 vote-getters in the June 5 primaries advance to the General Election regardless of party. And numerous Democratic candidates would splinter elections and perhaps set two Republicans in the November elections.

In Royce’s district, Cisneros, a Navy veteran and$ 266 million gamble winner who’s loaned his campaign$ two million, appears to be the creation pick.

Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s national House campaign arm, included him in its most recent batch of top-notch “Red to Blue” candidates, signaling to donors that he is the most viable nominee among the six Democrat seeking the seat against seven Republicans.

“Beyond their demonstrated abilities to build a winning campaign infrastructure, these candidates have strong records of service and deep ties to the communities they aim to represent, ” DCCC Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, New Mexico, said of the Red to Blue group.

Thorburn, a former insurance executive, appears a favourite of liberals, with endorsements from nurses who are interested universal health care and Our Revolution, a Bernie Sanders-inspired political committee. He’s loaned his campaign more than$ 2 million. And Pediatrician Mai Khanh Tran, another Democrat in the field, has pumped $480,000 into her campaign.

Republicans have established names on that ballot, including former nation Senate leader Bob Huff, Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson and former country Assembly member Young Kim, a former Royce aide who has his endorsement.

Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher faces four party challengers and six Democrat in the 48 th District. And four Democrats and eight Republicans are operating to replace Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who is retiring in the 49 th District.

“This is a free for all. This is the Wild West, ” Jessica Hayes, chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, told of the 49 th District race.

Democrats emboldened by an unpopular chairwoman and a diversifying population, including more Hispanic in Orange County, hope to capture all four of the Republican-held U.S. House seats in the county, and three more in other parts of the state.

They need to gain a total of roughly 24 seats to take control of the House. They’ve been heartened by recent Democratic victories in Pennsylvania and Alabama, and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to retire at the end of the word has fanned the headwinds faced by the GOP.

California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring in 2018, as Democrats bid for his Orange County seat.

Republican leaders, hoping to retain control of the House, have opened in Orange County a 10,000 -square-foot war room, near John Wayne Airport, filled with computers, telephones and, on one day last month, dozens of volunteers building calls to potential primary voters.

To Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the GOP majority runs through Orange County.

It’s in suburbium that “we are going to either hold the majority in ‘1 8, or lose the majority, ” he said.

The dangers are plain for Republicans in the state that is home to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Democrat dominate California politics, and midterm elections generally favor the party not in control of the White House. But President Trump lost the state by more than 4 million elections in 2016 and there’s no sign he’s gained subsistence since then.

“I’m profoundly concerned about my kids grown up in Donald Trump’s America, ” David Min, the endorsed Democratic nominee in the battleground 45 th District held by Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, says in an online video.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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