Gas Tax Could Lead To A Big Win For Republicans In California

Henry Rodgers | Political Reporter

A voter referendum on the November ballot to repeal a state gasoline tax in California could lead to a wave of wins for Republican candidates due to the soaring prices in the state.

The referendum has helped California Republican Rep. Mimi Walters raise millions of dollars for her campaign. The referendum, would reportedly lower the price of gasoline in the state to $2 per gallon by 2021, Politico reported.

Walters and Republican candidate Young Kim, who is running for retiring Rep. Ed Royce’s seat, brought several boxes filled with 82,410 signatures into the Orange County Registrar’s office in early May, to repeal the gas tax. Republicans have now collected over 1 million signatures, even though only 365,880 were needed to put it on the November ballot.

“This is a big day for us,” Walters said after she turned in the ballots. “I talk to constituents in my district, and every time they go to the pump, it’s more and more money, and it’s becoming outrageous.”

The gas tax signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in April 2017 has spiked the price of gas in the state to nearly $4 per gallon, just over a year after the bill was signed into law.

However, winning as a Republican in the deep blue state will be a challenge, as Walters so far faces at least four Democratic candidates. But, Republicans have an 8-point advantage in voter registration, and Walters won re-election by 17 points in 2016, according to The Orange County Register.

Walters believes the effort to repeal the gas tax shows how motivated her constituents and other voters in Southern California are, which could be a massive problem for Democrats in the November election, who need to win in California districts if they want to flip the House. The California Republican also believes she is being targeted because Hillary Clinton won her district in the 2016 presidential election.

“The only reason I’m a target is because Hillary Clinton won my district,” Walters said. “I got 37,000 more votes than President Trump did. That means that the people in the 45th District identify with the policies that I support and support me because I’m in line with what they believe in.”

Democrats are targeting 10 House seats in California currently held by Republicans. Seven of those seats are districts Clinton won in 2016. But, Walters has made it clear she thinks Republicans can hold their seats in the House.

“The Democrats think there’s no stopping them this time. They’re not just coming for any one of us, they’re coming for all of us,” Walters continued. “This isn’t going to go the way they think it is.”

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