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Source: Elise Cooper

Republicans lost the majority in the House of Representatives during the 2018 elections.  Many argue that the reason was that President Trump was not on the ballot.  American Thinker decided to use the 49th Congressional District of California as an example of a red district going blue after sixteen years.  Brian Maryott, who is the 2020 Republican candidate for Congress, and Melanie Burkholder, the Republican candidate for the State Assembly, discussed their chances this November.

The district’s current representative, Mike Levin, is just like many Democrats today: a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  He has not aligned himself with the Blue Dog Democrats, but has instead sided with the Squad, led by AOC.  The 49th District straddles southern Orange County, from Dana Point to San Clemente, and northern San Diego County, including Del Mar, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. 

Brian Maryott is a certified financial planner and served as mayor of San Juan Capistrano.  He believes that Levin is one the of the six hard leftist members of Congress.  “Levin co-sponsored the Green New Deal, wants to allow sixteen-year olds to vote, has rhetoric that supports open borders, co-sponsored a bill that calls for a complete government take-over of health care, and speaks of re-imagining policing.”

On Levin’s website, it says, “Mike would like for our nation to work towards achieving a Medicare for all type healthcare system.”  He “[c]o-sponsored the NO BAN Act for immigrants.”  “Mike strongly opposes the Trump Administration’s desire to privatize public education.” He “introduced legislation including the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act of 2019 and the Green Spaces, Green Vehicles Act of 2019, to create a national zero emissions vehicle standard and expand zero emission vehicle charging structure on our federal public lands.” Unbelievably, the website also says that “Mike disagrees with the idea that you cannot protect the environment and grow the economy at the same time.  We are doing it in California.”  Is he kidding?  How could California be doing it correctly when there are rolling blackouts? 

Melanie Burkholder’s opponent is no better than Levin, which is why Burkholder is running for the 76th Assembly District that includes Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, Encinitas, and Camp Pendleton.  As a former Secret Service agent, she noted, “I was heavily recruited became they were actively employing female agents.  I was part of the counterfeit squad and also protected Dick Cheney.  I also am a health care therapist.” 

She wants Americans to understand: “When the police roll up on a call, they know someone’s rap sheet.  Before I became a law enforcement officer, I spent six months of my life in training.  Because of both of my background careers, I understand about de-escalating situations.  Those who want to defund the police are not interested in finding solutions, but are the rioters, looters who hit people, shoot people, and as in Portland kill people.  To me these are extreme groups that are borderline domestic terrorists.  The police go out every day to protect people.  After seeing the recent events, I think there could have been alternative tactics at the time that could have resulted in a different outcome.  The police need more experienced training like I had with emphasis on how to de-escalate situations.  The president is correct, law enforcement has only a split second to decide.  They have to be trained on situational awareness.  No one is arguing that there are not bad police just as there are bad people in every profession.  But to recommend a social worker to go on calls would not be effective.  Imagine a 24-year-old just out of college going to a domestic violence call.  People should be aware of how stressful it is to be in that position where there are only seconds to decide what must be done.”

Maryott feels that people need to start questioning what Biden and Levin mean by re-imagining the police.  “He voted for a federal police bill to federalize the police.  He also supports removal of qualified immunity for police officers.  I do not believe in taking it away from police and their families.  We are completely on the side of respect and admiration for those police that risk their lives every day.  Other than the Carlsbad Police Department who supports my opponent, I have the endorsement of the Local County sheriff, the San Diego County sheriff, and the Oceanside police department.”

Levin does not say anything on his website about police reform.  For Maryott, it comes down to being sensible.  “I believe in body cameras and de-escalation tactics.  It is all about recruiting people with the right mentality and the right accountability.  It is clear that there are some bad people in the police, but for the vast majority the police officers are good men and women who want to keep the peace.  It is very dangerous when police officers lose the benefit of the doubt of their elected officials and the media does not show the full score of the circumstances.”

After seeing the dangerous riots, he sides with those who believe in the Second Amendment.  “Gun safety laws should be made on the state level and within the construct of the Constitution.  Even the Ninth Circuit recently struck down a California gun law because it was not in the constricts of the Constitution.”

Burkholder also believes in the Second Amendment.  “Public safety should be government’s number one priority.  Gun sales have increased is some areas by 72%.  It is because people do not feel government is keeping them safe.”

Maryott says, “The pandemic has shown how children lost socialization, after schools were shut down because of Covid-19.  Single parent households are being devastated by not having the school system help them.  I do not think the federal government should have a major role in education.  No Child Left Behind by George W. Bush and Reach for the Top by President Obama have been utter failures.  Billions were spent on national education, and it did not work.  Education needs to work well at the local school level where parents can have accessibility to speak their minds.”

Since Burkholder is a mom with two school-age sons, she believes “in competition regarding school choice.  I withdrew my child from public school and put him in an online charter school.  Children do not all learn in the same way.  There should be learning options to fit the children’s needs.” 

The issue of homelessness deserves more attention.  President Trump tried to call attention to it after visiting California in May 2019.  Both Maryott and Burkholder believe there is a difference between homeless individuals and their circumstances.  Many of those who do suffer from addiction are quietly committing suicide.  California laws have to change and not have a one-size-fits-all policy.  The single mom who cannot make ends meet is different from the drug addict.  Case officers, social workers, health experts, and medical doctors need to become part of the solution.

President Trump has eliminated needless regulations, but states like California are consumed by them.  Burkholder believes that the regulations are a stranglehold on people.  “Sacramento wants all these policies without thinking or caring about unintended consequences. Take for example AB 5, which curtails employers to hire certain freelancers and independent contractors and requires them to hire workers as employees.  My opponent has voted three times in support of it.  Single moms, retired people, and senior citizens are all affected.  Think about working moms who were able to work when their children were at school, and now they cannot.  It makes no sense to put constituents out of work.”

She has a good point, considering that her opponent was highly rewarded.  Within a month after her vote in May, she received $243,700 in contributions from the AB 5 coauthors and other assembly Democrats.

Maryott also wants to talk about the wall.  “I have called our immigration system disingenuous and chaotic.  We need a safe and secure border.  California by calling this a sanctuary state does not help the situation where barriers are feasible.  There have been hundreds of miles of barriers for years, and neither a Republican nor Democrat complained about it.  The president was willing to have some progress on DACA.  Clearly, today’s hard left has put politics over people.  They have gone down a path of complete obstruction.  Barriers taken together with technology can ultimately be very effective.  We need a safe and secure border to keep our country sovereign.”

Burkholder wants Americans to understand that California is just the tipping point.  “Liberals do not think outside the box and never try to come up with creative ways to solve issues.  Instead, all they do is tax, tax, and more tax.  In California they are talking about this wealth tax, which would tax any Californian who wants to leave the state.  This is nuts.”

Maryott thinks Americans should be very careful when they vote.  “Career politicians get in the way of getting things done.  I do not think our Founders envisioned thirty-year legislators who become obstructers.  I believe in term limits.”

These purple districts need to turn red again.  If not, nothing will get done because the Democrats care more about their power than helping the American people and have shown themselves to be hypocrites.  If people like Maryott and Burkholder are elected, then maybe common sense will again prevail.

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.