Mitchell White: McClintock’s sole Republican challenger
Editor’s note: This is the latest story in a series highlighting candidates for California’s 4th Congressional District. Three Democratic candidates were profiled in recent weeks.
While the race among Democratic candidates has seemed wide open in recent months for California’s 4th Congressional District, five-term Republican incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock has faced seemingly little opposition within his own party.
Though rumors have swirled about the possibility of a GOP challenger to McClintock, the U.S. Federal Elections Commission website shows just one party opponent.
Meet Mitchell White, a 26-year-old Roseville resident who recently became the first Republican aside from McClintock to make his candidacy in this district race official with the FEC.
“I’m fairly new to getting people contacting me,” White said. “But I’ve been focusing on this for the past year.”
Republican challengers to McClintock aren’t a new thing. California’s electoral system advances the two candidates who get the most votes in the June primary, which led to McClintock squaring off against fellow Republican Art Moore in the November 2014 general election.
McClintock beat Moore easily, 60 percent to 40.
“Don’t run against other Republicans,” Placer County Republican Party central committee member Bonnie McAdams told The New York Times in April 2014. “Go get the other guys. They’re enemies, not the Republicans.”
White, who said he quit an auditing job at Ernst & Young in December to focus on his campaign, knows what he’s up against with McClintock.
“He does have a good base of support because people … don’t really know who Tom McClintock is,” White said. “They don’t know the fact that he’s one of the big supporters of marijuana and he’s the one pushing that agenda. He did not always vote to repeal Obamacare. I think people ought to know that.”
There are some similarities between McClintock and White. McClintock is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, voting with him 87.5-percent of the time according to the political website fivethirtyeight.com. White supports Trump as well, having voted for him in the 2016 presidential election.
“I wish he didn’t say as much as he did always,” White said. “But in terms of looking at his policies, I tend to agree with him and line up with him. So that’s why I voted for him.”
A 2010 graduate of Granite Bay High School who finished a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Sac State in 2014, White sees differences between himself and McClintock.
“He likes to label himself as a principled conservative but he’s really not,” White said. “I think I’m the only true conservative in this race.”
White’s main reason for running, he said, revolves around health care reform. While at Ernst & Young, he specialized in health care and learned from industry contacts of a concept known as contractual allowance — essentially, health insurers getting volume-based discounts from hospitals.
These discounts, White said, allow some patients to pay rates disproportionately higher than other patients.
“If you just got rid of that and said, ‘No discounts,’ it would make health care so much better because what would happen is, the prices would have to drop,” said White, who favors preserving Medicare, Medi-Cal and Medicaid but otherwise wants as much of a free-market system as possible.
White said he submitted a proposal to McClintock and got no response beyond a form letter. So now, McClintock has a Republican opponent.
White could face long odds of unseating McClintock or besting Democratic challengers Jessica Morse, Regina Bateson or Roza Calderon.
Though the latest FEC campaign finance reports hadn’t come out as of press time, one site shows White having raised just $302. A Facebook page White set up for his campaign had 64 likes as of this writing.
But White said his health care proposal, which he calls the Mitchell Bill, could be enough for him to win.
“It’s really the only plan out there to repeal and replace Obamacare and that’s what Republicans really want,” White said.