On Wednesday morning, I was able to speak with Tim Sheridan. Sheridan is a Democratic candidate for Congress who is looking to take out Rep. Ken Calvert in California’s 42nd District. Calvert, a Republican who has served in the House of Representatives since 1993, won with relative ease in 2012. Also, as I detailed in a piece about him and his district in November, he is regarded as one of the more corrupt and money-grubbing members of Congress. Sheridan is extremely confident that he can take down the Republican come November.
This past summer, Sheridan announced his intention to run for Congress. During that time, he contacted many of the top Democrats in Riverside County and was able to assemble a top-notch campaign team. Overall, he got an overwhelming response from the county’s Democratic Central Committee members, many of whom have stepped forward and endorsed his candidacy. Besides the county’s key Democrats, he’s also picked up endorsements from Bill Hedrick, who ran two close campaigns again Calvert, nearly toppling him in 2008, and Francine Busby, as well as the Riverside County Chapter of Democracy for America.
Sheridan feels he can best Calvert by campaigning on the fact that Congress is broken and that it is necessary to turn it back to a Democratic majority in order to get Washington to work again. His campaign’s slogan is ‘People First’ as he feels that people elect representatives to Congress to work on their behalf and solve problems. His feeling is that Calvert has done nothing but use Congress as a means of bettering himself while having little concern for his constituents.
Speaking to this, Sheridan pointed out three major issues he would like to tackle if elected. First off, JOBS! His district has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. He pointed out that while Calvert has been part of the Republican majority that has wasted time and money voting over and over again to repeal the ACA, his district has suffered. He also pointed to the hypocrisy of Republicans who talk about fiscal responsibility while at the same time forcing a government shutdown that ultimately cost the nation’s economy $24 billion.
Another issue he’d like to tackle is comprehensive and sensible immigration reform. Sheridan feels it past time for Congress to finally address this issue and get something passed. If Calvert and other Republicans are not willing to do something and insist on blocking any progress, it is time to move onto lawmakers who will. A third issue Sheridan brought up in our conversation was the Voting Rights Act. He feels the Supreme Court did a great disservice to the nation and many of its citizens by striking down Section 4 of the Act, thereby making Section 5 useless.
He made sure to point out that while the Voting Rights Act does not necessarily affect his district, it is important to the nation as a whole that everybody be able to participate in the franchise of voting. It was refreshing to hear a candidate bring up a larger issue like this and state that unless the House turns Blue, the Voting Rights Act will essentially be meaningless, as Republicans will not bring this up as long as they have the majority. Obviously, since the Supreme Court’s decision, we’ve seen many states that were previously subjected to the preclearance of Section 5 move forward with restrictive voting laws.
When I asked Sheridan what he feels his chances of winning are, he displayed extreme confidence. He pointed out that California is the ‘bluest’ of states, and that it sets the progressive standards for the nation. He also went back to his campaign them of ‘People First’ and said that should resonate with the voters. Additionally, Sheridan stated that citizen’s lack of faith in Congress, as well as the dysfunction and hypocrisy shown during the shutdown and other events over the past year, should have a number of voters in the district looking for a change.
Finally, we discussed some of the key dates and events for Sheridan to secure his position and take down Calvert in November. Next will be a pre-endorsement conference on February 8th, where there will be a meeting to decide who the party will endorse in the district. Then, in March, the state’s Democratic Convention will be held, where all of the endorsements from around California will be ratified. Then on to the primary election in June. In California, they have an open primary election where Democrats, Republicans and any other parties face off in one election with the top two votegetters meeting in the general election.
Sheridan is aware of other Democrats that are planning to run the primary. However, he is very confident that he will be officially endorsed by the Democratic Party and that he will make it through the primary to face off against Calvert in the general election. He also pointed out that it isn’t extremely important that he win the primary but only that he finish in the top two, as he mentioned that Raul Ruiz defeated Mary Bono Mack in 2012 after finishing 2nd to her in the primary and considered a longshot to win.
Sheridan has made his way to many events in Riverside County and met with a lot of constituents these past few months. He credits his campaign team for working around the clock and getting the word out about him. “I am very proud of my team,” Sheridan said. “I feel that my team is the best.” The ‘People First’ slogan for Sheridan’s campaign also came from one of the team members.
You can visit Sheridan’s campaign website here. He is also on Twitter and the campaign has a Facebook page. Please do yourself a favor and go and follow him on both. Good luck to Mr. Sheridan in his quest to help take back the House for Democrats in 2014!