New poll shows tight race in key California House race

The House race in California’s 50th Congressional District is shaping up to be a neck-and-neck contest between former Rep. Darrell Issa (R) and Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, according to a new poll.

Both Issa and Campa-Najjar are running to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Duncan Hunter (R), who resigned from his post earlier this year after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations. The district is a top target for Democrats after Campa-Najjar, a former Obama campaign official and Labor Department staffer, narrowly lost his 2018 bid to unseat Hunter by about 3 points.

In a new poll conducted by Campa-Najjar’s campaign and obtained exclusively by The Hill, Issa, who previously represented California’s neighboring 49th Congressional District, has a 48-45 advantage over his Democratic opponent among likely California voters. The difference falls within the poll’s margin of error.

Campa-Najjar, who is centering his House bid around a message of change, said the poll is a sign that his campaign is resonating with the district’s voters.

“This poll shows what I’ve heard campaigning for three years; CA50 wants a congressman who will put their personal health, safety and financial dignity ahead of personal partisan politics,” he told The Hill. “They want a fighter and a healer, not a quitter and divider. They’re ready for new leadership, rather than settle for the old ways of Washington.”

Campa-Najjar is hopeful that he can overcome the GOP’s 11-point voter registration advantage in the district with a 30-point edge among self-identified independents in the poll. He is also confident that voters will be turned off by Issa’s past leadership of Republican investigations into the Obama administration and the fact that he does not live in the district. 

“As a native of the district, voters believe I’ll stand up for them and not just toe the party line,” he said. “And above all, they know I’ll put country before party to meet this moment.” 

Nevertheless, Issa is expected to put up a stiff challenge in his bid to replace Hunter. He has a vast personal fortune from his founding of the Viper car alarm system, and his name recognition surged during his former chairmanship of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

“Can’t imagine he’s not formidable with his bank account alone,” one lawmaker told The Hill last year as Issa was exploring whether he would run. 

The poll, which was conducted by Strategies 360, surveyed 400 likely voters from March 18 to March 21 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Tags Ammar Campa-Najjar California Darrell Issa Darrell Issa Duncan Hunter Issa
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