California Democrat Moves to More Vulnerable Rating

Father's guilty plea doesn't help Ami Bera's re-election chances

Rep. Ami Bera is likely in for another close race this year in his Northern California-based 7th District. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of California topped Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, 53-47 percent, in a preview of the general election since they were the only two candidates on the June 7 primary ballot.  

Bera won close races in 2012 and 2014 in the 7th District, and was regarded as one of the few vulnerable incumbent Democrats heading into the 2016 election cycle.  

[ Roll Call’s 2016 Election Guide ]   

The congressman’s re-election got even more difficult when his father pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations  for laundering over $250,000 in excessive contributions to help his son’s campaign. Bera claims to have known nothing about his 83-year-old father’s scheme, but the negative headlines didn’t help his candidacy.  

[ Ami Bera's Dad Pleads Guilty to Campaign Finance Fraud ]  

Jones got off to a slow fundraising start, but Republicans were excited that he received the endorsement from Teamsters Joint Council 7. While Jones’ fundraising has improved, the union has since retracted its endorsement because of Jones’ support for Donald Trump. Bera raised $2.1 million and had $1.3 million on hand on May 18 compared to Jones, who raised $416,000 and had a modest $233,000 in the bank.  

This Northern California district has seen multiple close races now, and the narrow margin in the primary, when Democratic voters had more of a reason to turn out to vote because of the presidential primary, demonstrates that this could be another close race. We're changing the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rating from Democrat Favored to Leans Democratic .

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