By Chris Bremer
San Luis Obispo County Republicans have an opportunity to make a lasting affect on the U.S. House of Representatives.
California is made up of 53 individual congressional districts, all of which are served by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, and parts of Ventura County are included in California’s 24th congressional district.
Despite California being thought of as a Democratic state, (with Democrats serving as the governor, both senators, and the majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives) the 24th congressional district area has a history of voting Republican, according to the County of San Luis Obispo Clerk-Recorder’s office.
“You may [not] know that there are more Republicans in this county than Democrats,” said San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder, Tommy Gong. “There’s about 61,100 Republicans to 55,500 Democrats in our district.”
Although the 24th district may not sway California’s vote for the presidential election, the vote for the district’s representative–which is currently held by a democrat–could impact the future of the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives currently has a majority controlled by the Republicans. To change this, the Democrats would have to win 30 Republican-held congressional districts–something that the New York Times calls “no small task.”
The New York Times continues, however, by stating that an estimated “36 Republican-held seats are either ‘tossups’ or ‘leaning’ Republican.” Although experts say the Democrats are unlikely to gain control of the House in 2016, this election year could lay the groundwork for a majority shift in elections soon to come.
If Republican candidate, Justin Fareed can take the 24th district representative seat from the democrats, the chances of a majority flip would be slimmed all the more.
“If Hillary wins the election, I want Fareed to be our representative,” said junior and first year Cuesta student, Thomas Flores. “That being said, if Trump wins, I want the democrats to take the house.”
There is a history of Republican representatives in San Luis Obispo County’s past, according to the County Clerk’s past election records. Before 2011, San Luis County was divided between the 22nd and 23rd district. In that time, a Republican represented the 22nd district for over ten years, the election records state.
Despite the Republican majority in the California’s 24th district, Fareed will have to overcome a key obstacle when facing opponent, Democrat Salud Carbajal.
Only 63.1% of registered Republican voters casted a vote in California’s June primary election, compared to 86.5% of registered Democrats, according to San Luis Obispo County’s election summary report. Additionally, Carbajal received over 8,000 more votes than Fareed in that primary, the same report states.
“I don’t know about Fareed,” said undecided voter and Cuesta student, Jessica Chausse. “All the things I’ve been hearing say that he’s for Donald Trump.”
Since the time of this interview, it should be mentioned that Fareed has revoked his support for Donald Trump, following “[…] the 2005 video of sexually aggressive remarks by Donald Trump,” The Tribune states.
As the general election draws near, many Cuesta students take to the voting booths for the first time.
For locals, the vote for the presidential nominees this November can feel inconsequential, with California voting democrat in every presidential election since 1992.
Regardless, this upcoming election is predicted to be close across the entire ballot, and more is at stake than the white house.
“This is my first time voting [and] I lean Republican,” Flores said. “There needs to be balance.”