REGION — A Democrat in a heavily Republican-registered district going up against one of the most wealthy of congressional incumbents, with a limited amount of political experience and in a non-presidential election year.
This is what Dave Peiser will be facing as he attempts to become the next challenger to try and unseat 49th District Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) next November.
Peiser, an Encinitas resident, who currently serves as board president for the nonprofit group Microloans for Mothers, filed his candidacy papers earlier this year.
For the past four months now, Peiser has been building his campaign and the team he’s put together has been making a huge amount of progress, he told an assembled Escondido Democratic Club on Saturday.
Even though Escondido isn’t in the 49th District, he came asking for their endorsement. And he received it, making them his first Democratic club endorsement so far.
The 49th District includes all of North County coastal cities, Rancho Santa Fe as well as the southern parts of Orange County.
Issa has held the seat since 2001.
Peiser holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering, but has very limited political experience.
Though he said that his lack of political experience in this particular election is a plus.
“The mood in the district in general, and in the country, I think is anti-Congress right now. And I think the fact that I have not been tainted is a really big plus,” he said.
As he tells it, Peiser has a family legacy in politics.
“When I was 19 years old growing up in New York, my father ran as a Democrat, for county Legislator on Long Island against an entrenched Republican,” he said. “He lost. But my son is 19 years old now, and I’m running against an entrenched Republican and I’m going to win.”
Peiser had considered running in the previous election, but said that because his son was still in high school, the timing wasn’t right.
The challenger to Issa two years ago was Carlsbad resident Jerry Tetalman. The real estate broker, who also ran with very little political experience, earned 41.8 percent, or 114,893 votes. Issa won out with 159,725 votes or 58.2 percent.
Tetalman, who has endorsed Peiser, ran a grassroots-style campaign, raising about $150,000 by the end of the election, he said.
Peiser realizes that money will be an issue in this race, and said he thinks that he’ll need to raise a couple million dollars to win.
For Tetalman, the money issue came to be about how much money a candidate was able to raise to run against Issa, he said.
“Darrell Issa, he really doesn’t run a campaign against you as a candidate unless the polling really shows that you’re doing something…so he doesn’t run any ads against you…You really need a lot of money to go up against a guy like him. It’s part of the game,” Tetalman added.
Still, Tetalman said he thought his run moved the scale a little bit for the future win of someone.
“I think I put the message out there, I think people rallied, but I think that overall I lost the election because the district is very heavily Republican-registration compared to Democratic,” Tetalman said.
One of the other challenges facing Peiser will be Orange County, Tetalman said.
“The problem with that campaign is that you have Orange County as well in the district,” he said.
“It’s a tougher road in Orange County. That’s the thing with that district, is that you might be able to pop San Diego County, but Orange County…it’s moving democratic, but its got a lot farther to go,” Tetalman said.
This September, Issa opened a new office in Dana Point. According to a press release, the office will “serve as a convenient option for Orange County residents in the 49th District to receive the assistance of Rep. Issa and his staff.”
Fundraising efforts have gotten underway this week, Peiser said. And he continues to garner support from the other local Democratic clubs within the 49th District.
He added that he was realistic about the race to come.
“I get what the demographics of the district are. So I do need to convince a whole lot of Independents and Republicans that I’m the guy.”