(Editor’s Note: Tired of the same old, same old officially registered candidates running for California’s 50th Congressional District? Say hello to El Cajon editor/writer Katie Memmel, a San Diego State graduate who works for SteelOrbis, a steel industry publication and marketplace with offices at Del Mar and Istanbul, Turkey. She is running as a write-in candidate. In this case of congressional district musical chairs, top two finishers go on to the November election. For more on Memmel’s candidacy, visit https://www.facebook.com/katieforcongress.)
By Katie Memmel
Write-in candidate, 50th Congressional District
This country’s about as divided as it can get right now, but there’s one thing everyone can agree on: This election cycle is nuts.
We’ve never seen anything like it. Rules and traditions have lost all influence. Citizen engagement and voter registration are off the charts—everyone is sick of something, or everything, culminating in a clamoring demand for change.
But let’s set aside that circus of a presidential race and focus on a minor detail most people forget: no matter who wins the White House, all those campaign promises—both reasonable and pie-in-the-sky and everything in between—have to get past Congress first. Another detail to remember: Congressional terms only last two years, which means every single seat is up for grabs in November.
And if there was any year in which a fed-up nobody could snatch the 50th District seat from a legacy incumbent, it’s this one.
Hi, I’m Katie Memmel and I’m running for Congress. As a write-in candidate because that $1,740 filing fee to be on the official ballot is too rich for my broke-ass blood.
But before you roll your eyes and think “write-ins have no chance,” consider California’s top-two primary system that sends the top two vote-getters in every primary race (aside from President) to the general election in November, regardless of party affiliation.
Obviously our national-newsworthy incumbent Duncan Hunter Jr. will get the most votes in the primary due to name recognition alone, which, not coincidentally, is how he slid into office in the first place—sharing the name of his father, who held the office for nearly 30 years. It’s that second-place finish that I’m aiming to secure, beating out the four other relatively random guys on the official ballot.
(Note: As a “registered” write-in candidate, my name won’t be on the ballot but it will appear on a supplemental form handed out at the polls.)
Also consider the role of social and viral media in this year’s election cycle and the atmosphere of “anything can happen” that has absolutely slayed respected political pundits and their short-sighted yet entirely reasonable predictions in the presidential race. Duncan Hunter Jr. probably thinks I’m a joke. He also probably thinks he’s entitled to his job and figures he’ll sail through the next dozen or so elections just like Daddy.
I mean, is this the behavior of a guy who doesn’t take his constituents’ support for granted? Doesn’t the 50th District deserve someone whose legislation isn’t lampooned on late-night talk shows?
No matter what happens in the primary or general election, Duncan Hunter Jr. needs to go—any of his opponents would be better, at varying degrees, but here’s why I think I’m the best option for the people of Escondido and the rest of the District: I only want to serve for one term.
This seems to be the most head-scratching aspect of my platform, but all I need to do is point to Congress’s approval rating, which is hovering around 15 percent right now. This means virtually no one in America thinks their Representatives are doing a good job representing them—more than ever, career politicians acting on behalf of their wealthy donors and lobbyist buddies to the detriment of struggling folks back home.
These careerists might not set out to worship at the altar of campaign funds, but after enough re-election battles and promises of cushy lobbyist jobs in the future, even the most earnest politician is ripe for corruption.
But one term means no re-election campaign. No fundraising. No strings attached.
It also means freedom to vote in the District’s best interest, and call out bullshit, and throw a spotlight on fellow Representatives who’ve succumbed to greed.
I’m sure those other guys on the Congressional ballot mean well, but running to replace Duncan Hunter Jr. might mean no real replacement at all. It might mean business as usual when voters across the political spectrum have made it clear that the status quo has got to go.
And that’s the most magnificent thing to come out of this Looney Tunes election: the widespread sense that America is great, but it could be much greater. We can do better. We don’t have to struggle so much and if our elected officials won’t help, then dammit we’ll help ourselves.
Of course, there are a few competing visions of what that “greater” America looks like. But no matter where you stand, you must know deep down that an incompetent, impotent, hated House of Representatives isn’t going to change a damn thing.
So if you want change, real change, write in Katie Memmel on the ballot June 7. And check out my campaign page for more information and updates on how Duncan Hunter Jr. isn’t even close to deserving your vote.