Regina Bateson eyes South Placer as key to beating McClintock
Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of profiles highlighting Democratic challengers in the race for California’s 4th Congressional District. Republican candidates will be profiled in weeks to come.
Regina Bateson sits in Origin Coffee & Tea in Rocklin, a barely eaten croissant next to her.
Over the past few hours on this Friday morning in January, Bateson has been in the thick of it, talking animatedly to prospective constituents and volunteers for her campaign to represent California’s 4th Congressional District.
“In the months to come and leading up to November, the absolute battleground of our district will be our suburbs here,” Bateson said. “It will be Roseville, which is the single biggest city in our district, by far. It will be Rocklin … It will be Lincoln. Even Loomis, Granite Bay, also El Dorado Hills. We have a lot of the population of our district located right here.”
One of three Democratic challengers, along with Jessica Morse and Roza Calderon, in this race for several months, Bateson knows what she’s up against.
Five-term Republican incumbent Tom McClintock hasn’t had a serious Democratic challenger in a decade, with all of them combining over the previous four elections to raise $210,720.
The tide could be shifting, though.
Morse announced Jan. 10 that she raised $294,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, and Bateson said she raised $260,000 in that time. The U.S. Federal Elections Commission is expected to post a more detailed breakdown this month.
Bateson sees three keys to beating McClintock: strong local roots and community connection; strong grassroots support; and resources to get the message out.
“We’re the only campaign that brings all three of those things to the table,” Bateson said.
A 35-year-old former U.S. State Department employee and tenure track professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bateson took a leave from that school and moved back to her native Roseville last summer with her husband and three young children to run.
She had never run for office. Then Donald Trump was elected president.
“I get a lot of questions from people saying, ‘You’re the mom of three young kids, including a set of identical twins. How can you possibly be running?’” Bateson said. “My answer is always, ‘How could I not?’”
One of Bateson’s former teachers at Granite Bay High School, Karl Grubaugh, emailed her last April encouraging her to run. A few days later, she attended a McClintock town hall at Del Oro High School in Loomis.
“I had never seen someone treat their own constituents so callously,” Bateson said. “I just thought there’s so many good, decent people in our district that deserve better. We need to give people a real alternative to him.”
So what can Bateson bring to the table that McClintock can’t?
“I’m completely 100 percent loyal to the community that raised me, and I’m committed to be a real voice for us in Washington, D.C. and to fight for the practical needs of people here,” Bateson said.
She continued, “We need good-paying jobs. We need a world-class public education system. We need smart investments in infrastructure for our region. And we need affordable healthcare. We should be making life better for people here in our district, not making it worse, which is what McClintock is doing right now.”
There are differences between her and Morse, too. Bateson said she favors fixing the Affordable Care Act, while Morse favors federal single-payer health insurance. Bateson said she has also taken a clearer position than Morse on climate change, pledging to join the Climate Solutions Caucus.
Local support for Bateson has emerged from sources like former Roseville mayor Gina Garbolino, Roseville Joint Union High School District Superintendent Ron Severson and Placer Women Democrats.
Bigger tests lie ahead, with the California Democratic Party’s pre-endorsement conference Jan. 28. A candidate needs 70 percent support there or 60 percent at the party’s official state conference in February to nab an endorsement ahead of the June primary. There’s a chance the party won’t endorse anyone in this race.
Regardless, Bateson will likely be in the thick of it for months to come.