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VOSD Podcast: Nathan Fletcher and the GOP Scramble in the 49th

In this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Ry Rivard talk about Congressman Darrell Issa’s big retirement news, and what might come next. Also: Nathan Fletcher, who’s running for County Supervisor, talks about his political past and future.

Darrell Issa
Rep. Darrell Issa holds a town hall in Oceanside, March 2017 / Photo by R. Adam Ward

Congressman Darrell Issa’s sudden announcement Wednesday that he would not be seeking reelection was a doozy.

It sent Republicans scrambling to propose possibly stronger GOP candidates for the 49th District, largely viewed as the most vulnerable Republican seat in the country.

In this week’s Voice of San Diego Podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Ry Rivard talk about Issa’s big news, and what might come next for the congressman.

As it turns out, Issa might not be ready for the pasture quite yet. The Hill reported that the congressman has been mulling the possibility of running in the neighboring 50th District, which includes Alpine, Ramona, Valley Center and other cities in northeast San Diego County. Much of the area was part of his district in the past. The 50th is currently represented by embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter, who’s under federal investigation for questionable campaign expenses.

“So there’s a seeming plan, or possibility of a plan, that Hunter is going to implode and Issa, who was about to implode, is going to come into the implosion and, I don’t know, save the day?” Rivard ponders.

Rivard and Lewis also discuss the details of the new push to expand the Convention Center and the startling things tat District 2 City Council candidate Jennifer Campbell said about homeless people.

Fletcher’s Meandering Political Path

Nathan Fletcher is running for county supervisor.

nathan fletcher
Nathan Fletcher is a candidate for a County Supervisor seat. / Photo by Sam Hodgson

In the second half of the podcast, Lewis and Rivard talk to the former two-term California assemblyman about his two failed mayoral bids and how he left politics after that, only to return again.

Fletcher said he wanted to become a businessman, but when he tried, he would wake up thinking about needle-exchange programs and mental health services for veterans. He said getting back into politics felt like something he had to do.

Fletcher also talks about his stance on policy issues like pensions, unions and more.

And Rivard and Lewis can’t help but revisit Fletcher’s infamous switch from Republican to Democrat, and the flack he continues to get for it. Fletcher said there are very few vestiges of conservatism left in him.

“I was scarred by my time in the legislature in the sense of having to deal with $42 billion dollar budget deficits,” he said. “I’m always going to be fiscally responsible and want to have prudent reserves and those types of things. But I don’t think there’s anything in the Democratic Party that’s out of line with that type of change.”

Hero of the Week

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher is the hero this week. After Voice of San Diego contributor Kelly Davis revealed the San Diego Police Department’s practice of taking DNA samples from minors without convictions, Gonzalez Fletcher sponsored legislation to ban the practice.

Goat of the Week

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole is the goat. She was one of five local elected officials who appeared at an event with local labor leader Mickey Kasparian, 10 months after he was accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination. Cole said she was not aware of the allegations against Kasparian when she attended the meeting, even though the allegations have been covered heavily in the news and discussed intensely by local Democrats.

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