California 4th District election preview: Tom McClintock vs. Brynne Kennedy

  • Six-term Rep. Tom McClintock will face Democrat Brynne Kennedy in California’s 4th Congressional District. 
  • The district is located in east-central California and is home to all of the counties of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorade, Maripose, and Tuolumne. 
  • The two candidates were chosen through California’s “top-two primary” system which places the top two candidates in the state’s primary on the November ballot, regardless of party.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Six-term incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock will square off against Democratic challenger Brynne Kennedy in November in California’s 4th Congressional District.

California currently has a “top-two primary” system, meaning that the top two winners of the primary election go on the final ballot, regardless of their political party.

The candidates

McClintock is a former California state assemblyman and state senator, positions he held for a total of 12 years. Before running for a position in the U.S. House of Representatives, McClintock ran for the office of state controller in 1994 and 1992, governor in the 2003 recall gubernatorial election, and lieutenant governor in the 2006 gubernatorial election, losing in every single one. 

In Congress, McClintock serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Natural Resources, focusing many of his efforts on natural resource issues important to California. McClintock has sided with President Donald Trump 88% of the time in his voting record since 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Kennedy is a former United States gymnast and business owner of the software company Topia. She is a former columnist for the Financial Times and is the author of a book on employee mobility. Her campaign is focused on strengthening the Affordable Care Act, combatting wildfire threats, and modernizing the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2018, McClintock defeated Democratic challenger Jessica Morse by eight percentage points, 54% to 46%, in the general election. 

The district

California’s 4th Congressional District is located in an entirely inland part of east-central California, stretching down from Truckee and South Lake Tahoe in Northern California down to the area outside of Fresno. 

It is home to all of the counties of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, and Tuolumne as well as parts of Placer, Fresno, Madera, and Nevada counties. The district is home to some of California’s finest scenery and natural beauty, containing the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Sequoia National Forest.

In the 2016 presidential election, the 4th District voted for Trump over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a 54-39 percentage point split of the vote, according to the Daily Kos.

The money race

Kennedy has narrowly outraised and outspent McClintock, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Kennedy has brought in $1.4 million, spent $1.1 million, and has over $356,000 in cash on hand. McClintock has raised $1.35 million, spent $932,000, and currently has about $646,000 left to spend as the November election approaches. 

What experts say

The race between McClintock and Kennedy is rated as “safe Republican” by Inside Elections and “likely Republican” by the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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