In California’s only Republican-on-Republican congressional race this year, former assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate, Tim Donnelly, is taking aim at a three-term incumbent congressman and retired marine colonel.
The campaign for California’s 8th District congressional seat has been dubbed by the Weekly Standard as the race to see “which California Republican will out-Trump the other?” Donnelly, a staunch conservative and former citizen patrolman of the United States-Mexico border, accuses Rep. Paul Cook of not actually supporting President Donald Trump.
“Paul Cook says he “supports” the president,” Donnelly stated in a tweet on Monday. “Yet he did not support Trump in the primary and NEVER defends him even today.”
Yet last month, Trump took to Twitter to endorse Cook, describing him as “a decorated Marine Corps veteran who loves and supports our military and vets.” Trump tweeted that Cook is strong on crime and the border and has supported tax cuts, and he “has my total and complete endorsement.”
Donnelly has also attacked Cook for allegedly supporting the use of United States military funds for sex change surgeries. A billboard outside Twentynine Palms that was paid for by Donnelly’s campaign states, “Ask Paul Cook Why He Voted To Allow Our Military Funds To Be Used For Sex-Change Surgeries!”
The billboard is referencing a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have prohibited the military from providing gender-reassignment surgery to soldiers. Cook voted against the amendment.
Cook’s campaign manager said the vote did not reflect the congressman’s views. Rather he voted for the amendment after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis personally asked Republican representatives to vote against the amendment to ensure the legislation would pass the Senate without a Democratic filibuster. [Desert Sun]
Meanwhile, anonymous online posters are attacking Donnelly for allegedly failing to fully repay a $60,000 loan he received from an elderly Palm Desert woman living on a fixed income. The woman says Donnelly has repaid her on intermittent intervals but still owes her thousands of dollars.
“I think voters need to know about a candidate’s character,” 75-year-old Palm Desert woman Anna McBride said in a video posted by anonymous internet users. “How you behave when nobody’s watching says a whole lot about you. I just don’t understand how can you do this to people.”
California’s 8th Congressional District includes most of the state’s eastern desert regions, including most of San Bernardino County. The district leans Republican, though Republicans only hold a 36.56 percent to 32.31 percent lead over Democrats in voter registration.