Morse to face McClintock in general elections |

Morse to face McClintock in general elections

Jessica Morse emerged from a pack of candidates challenging incumbent Tom McClintock, right photo, in Tuesday's California primary election. Morse, who totaled 20.0 percent of the vote, and McClintock, who won the primary with 52.1 percent, will square off for the District 4 U.S. Congressional seat in the November general election.
Hannah Jones/

The battle against Republican Tom McClintock will not be easy for Jessica Morse, the Democratic candidate who squeezed past Tuesday’s primary election with 20 percent of the vote.

McClintock, who has held the seat in California’s District 4 for nearly a decade, secured 52 percent of the votes in the primary election.

Morse, a 36-year-old Northern California native and first-time candidate has shown clear commitment to reaching out to communities in the Lake Tahoe area. Before the primary, she said she had personally knocked on 1,000 doors in the district, many of which were in Truckee.

“People in Truckee and Tahoe are a huge part of our community and deserve to have a voice,” said Morse. “Our rural communities have been neglected for too long.”

“We need a rep who’s really going to understand the communities, but the only way to understand what voters are saying and needing is to go talk to them.”


However, toppling McClintock would mean garnering the rest of the Democratic vote as well some Republican support.

With McClintock’s 52 percent vote totals, and those from a second GOP candidate, Mitchell White, Republican Party candidates claimed 59 percent to the 41 percent won by Democratic challengers. McClintock has won the last two elections by more than 20 percentage points in a district that President Trump won by a comfortable margin in 2016.

In the general election voters will be forced to choose between two candidates both with conflicting policies and stark contrasts in experience.

McClintock has long been an advocate for lower taxes and minimal government regulations, in what he sees as efforts to boost the economy. He has overseen the production of budget plans he said are meant to “restore Social Security and Medicare to sound financial footing.”

Morse, however, claims that McClintock prioritizes wealthy political donors over citizens

“At the expense of the middle class and future generations of Americans,” she said.

She said she “will never support unfair legislation that hurts middle-class Americans or future generations in order to further enrich the ultra wealthy.”


In a district that encompasses much of the Sierra Nevada from Truckee down to Sequoia National Forest, environmental issues including wildfire prevention and water conservation have been a leading concern of residents.

McClintock’s support for legislation enacted into law as part of the Water Infrastructure for the Nation Act last year said that it would “expedite the removal of dead and dying timber, increase federal funding for forest management in the Tahoe Basin by $150 million and encourage new water storage.”

Morse said more attention needs to be given to the district’s forests and waterways in terms of conservation and the unique needs of each community.

“Each community has its unique issues up here. People are really struggling with workforce housing, with fire prevention, we’re struggling up here with symptoms of climate change,” she said.

Despite McClintock’s long reign in the fourth district, Democrats are hopeful that Morse could change that. The Democratic Party has not had majority control of congress since 2010. Currently, Democrats hold 194 of 435 seats. They need 218 to regain control. Of the 24 seats they need, Hillary Clinton won 23 of those districts in the 2016 election.

As of May 16, McClintock still has an advantage in campaign fundraising, having raised a total of $1,077,031 with Morse close behind, raising $1,069,201, according to Federal Election Commission data.


Among the field of candidates not advancing to November, Democrat Regina Bateson finished third with 12.5 percent of the vote. White, one of the two Republicans running, totaled 6.9 percent, followed by Democrats Roza Calderon (6.2 percent) and Robert Lawton (2.3 percent).

Morse was officially endorsed by the Democratic party in February. She is the only candidate to have an office in Truckee and has held numerous events in the Lake Tahoe area.

In a statement released Tuesday night McClintock said he was “overwhelmed by the resounding vote of confidence.”

“Tonight’s election is stunning proof that the shrill voices of the left do not speak for the people of our communities, and that as we approach the crucial November midterm elections, our nation will stay the course and restore American greatness, prosperity, freedom and security,” the statement read.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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