Brandon Reiser may be an underfunded third-party candidate vying for attention among nine challengers to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, but the 32-year-old displays no hesitation in explaining his path to becoming the first bona fide Libertarian Party member to win a House seat.
The seven Democrats are going to split the ballots cast by Democrats, while he vies for votes of independent voters — a quarter of the district’s electorate. He also thinks he’ll pick up Republicans dissatisfied with the unorthodox GOP incumbent, who has made headlines for meetings with Russians and with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Because there are so many challengers, Reiser figures 15 percent of the vote next June will be enough to advance out of the top-two primary.
“If we get into the general election, I like our chances — Democrats aren’t going to vote for a Republican,” the Corona del Mar resident said. Republicans account for 41 percent of the district and Democrats, 30 percent. But with Hillary Clinton eking out a victory in the coastal district last year, many believe Rohrabacher is vulnerable.
“I’ve talked to so many people who are in the same boat as me — they want somebody who is better than the Republican Party, who is better than the Democratic Party,” Reiser said. Just 1 percent of the district’s voters are Libertarian.
Reiser, who was a Republican until last year but voted for Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson in the last two presidential elections, has fiscal-conservative, social-liberal platform that has something to appeal to almost everyone — but also something to rub almost everyone the wrong way.
A key difference between Reiser and Rohrabacher, who has long pushed for easing federal marijuana laws and has a similarly libertarian stance, is that the challenger backs an amnesty that would cover most of those in the country illegally while the incumbent is an ardent opponent.
Other differences: Reiser opposes President Donald Trump’s ban on some Muslims entering the country, while Rohrabacher supports it. And Reiser agrees with the scientists who say man is the primary cause of climate change while Rohrabacher says man’s contribution to the issue is insignificant.
On the other hand, like Rohrabacher and many other Republicans, Reiser would like to see the individual mandate removed from Obamacare. He also wants the federal government to get out of the student-loan business. He says government participation is contributing to…