Can One of These Three Republicans Flip the 49th Congressional District?

By Travis Dale

May 13, 2022

Three Republicans are vying to replace Democrat Rep. Mike Levin in a highly competitive district, and Carl DeMaio invited them on his radio show to make their case.

There’s a national political tide building against Democrats, with some polls indicating that Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot by as much as 14%. That would be a bigger landslide for the Right than both 1994 and 2010, but what does that mean for seats in California?

California Republicans are hoping to ride the wave this November and flip the newly redrawn 49th congressional district back into the Republican column. A seat once held by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa for over a decade, and Republican for 22 out of the 29 years since it was created, the seat is now held by Democrat Rep. Mike Levin. 

California’s 49th Congressional District runs along the San Diego coast and takes in parts of south Orange County. The old version of the seat had a Democrat registration advantage of D+4, but the new seat has seen that lead reduced to D+2. This alone puts Rep. Levin in a tight reelection race, but when you factor in a potential R+14 national environment, the odds are in Republicans’ favor.

But only if they can get their act together and unite behind one candidate. 

California elections are run by a “top two” primary system, in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the November general elections. This means that, theoretically, Republicans could get shut out of the November ballot and leave two Democrats for voters to choose from. This fate is likely if too many Republicans split the vote.

There are three leading Republicans in the race for the 49th District: Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez, and Former Mayor of San Juan Capistrano Brian Maryott. 

Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California and host of the DeMaio Report on 600AM KOGO, spoke to each of the four candidates on his radio show and gave them the opportunity to give their “elevator pitch” for becoming the 49th’s new representative.

“I believe there is something of merit in each of these candidates,” DeMaio explained. 

“I have not endorsed in this race yet, and I want your feedback on who you think we should unite behind,” said DeMaio. “But in the end, we have to unite behind one candidate in order to avoid getting shut out of the November runoff.”

All of DeMaio’s other endorsements can be found in his annual voter guide at ElectionGuideCalifornia.org

Christopher Rodriguez

Christopher Rodriguez is a local business leader and decorated combat Marine. He also serves as a City Councilman for Oceanside. Rodriguez grew up in a household with an abusive father, but he saw his mother gather the strength to flee and get help for her and her children. She eventually remarried to a marine, who inspired Christopher to serve his country himself. Christopher had to grow up early, especially after becoming a teenage father. He pushed himself to graduate high school early to provide for his daughter and family. 

After serving in the marines following 9/11, Christopher entered the real estate business. He opened his own office and was recognized as one of the top Hispanic Realtors in the nation. As an Oceanside City Council Member, he has pushed for lower taxes, job creation, and addressing the homeless crisis.

Rodriguez hopes to fight for fiscal responsibility, secure borders, an end to critical race theory in schools, supporting our police, election integrity, and more in congress.

“Look at what’s happened the last two elections: we’ve sent the same types of individuals on the ballot, including on the conservative side, and you have Mike Levin who continues to win, and you have Brian Maryott who continues to lose,” said Rodriguez.

“We need new blood, we need a fighter — this district is sick and tired of losing this seat to far-left Democrat Mike Levin,” he continued.

Rodriguez listed inflation, high cost of living, crime, education, and insecure borders as key issues in the election.

“What is your biggest criticism of congressional Republicans — what would you like to see changed?” asked Carl DeMaio.

Rodriguez responded that he was disappointed that Republicans didn’t act on issues of border security, election integrity, energy independence, and pro-life policy when they held majorities in congress.

“Republicans need to not sit on their hands, get up, get to work for the American people,” said Rodriguez.

For more information, you can visit Rodriguez’s website HERE.

Lisa Bartlett

Lisa Bartlett is an executive and businesswoman from Orange County. She is currently on the Board of Supervisors, where she has served since 2014 — including two stints as Chairwoman of the Board in 2016 and 2019. She also served as Mayor of Dana Point for two terms. Bartlett hopes to take her experience as an elected leader of the 6th largest county in the United States to Congress, where she aims to secure prosperity for California and the rest of the country.

“I think we all know that our country and state are really heading in the wrong direction, and we need a change in leadership to reverse course,” said Bartlett. 

“American families, small business owners are under attack … rising inflation, skyrocketing crime, failing education, weak foreign policy, open borders, or the rapidly decreasing quality of life,” she continued.

But can Bartlett make it through the primary and beat Levin in November?

“I’ve got a solid track record of winning elections — I have never lost an election — I’ve been on the ballot six times delivering results, fighting for the conservative values,” she said.

Bartlett listed the key issues of the election as inflation, election integrity, and public safety. She then criticized Congressional Republicans for being too polarizing at times and emphasized a need for reaching across the aisle and consensus-building.

For more information, you can visit Bartlett’s website HERE.

Brian Maryott

Brian is a conservative businessman, Certified Financial Planner™ professional, and former Mayor of San Juan Capistrano. His first job was shoveling dog waste as a kennel attendant when he was 15, after which he worked his way up from a dishwasher to an assistant manager in the restaurant industry. He then joined the financial world, where he has spent his career helping families save their money. As Senior Vice President at his company, he has also managed hundreds of employees and billions in assets. 

If elected, Brian will fight to secure the border, cut wasteful spending, eliminate critical race theory, promote school choice, support our officers, and more.

“Government is failing us … Government is getting in the way, we’re wasting outrageous sums of money, and this progressive movement is right at the tip of this stuff,” said Maryott.

Maryott touted endorsements from county Republican parties, the California Republican Party, grassroots organizations, and more which will assist him with outreach and campaign infrastructure. He listed the border, the economy, and the” nation’s balance sheet” as the top issues he sees in this election.

“What would be your biggest criticism of congressional Republicans — what do you want to see them do differently?” asked Carl DeMaio.

“The Republican Party needs to be ready to move swiftly and ambitiously and in a coordinated way, and we’ll do just that,” answered Maryott.

“Your criticism is that they didn’t act swift enough when they were in power?” clarified DeMaio.

“No, I don’t think they did,” said Maryott. He went on to criticize Speaker Paul Ryan for not acting more to support President Trump’s agenda but praised the tax reform that was accomplished.

For more information, you can visit Maryott’s website HERE.

View Carl DeMaio’s Election Guide

Listen to the Full Candidate Podcast

Photo Credit: Lisa Barlett for Congress; Maryott for Congress; Rodriguez for Congress

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