STATEMENT FROM JAY CHEN ON THE RACE FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 39
We have a unique opportunity to flip Congressional District 39 and restore accountability to Washington D.C. I believe my experience, values, and roots in the district make me the best candidate to represent this community. That is why I waged an uphill battle in 2012 to flip this seat, and it is why I entered the 2018 race.
I am humbled that so many have supported my candidacy, including delegates of the Democratic Party, Indivisible CA39, Progressive 39th, and leaders such as Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congressman Mark Takano, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, Assemblyman Ian Calderon, and so many others.
But the reality is that with the top-two open primary system in California and a crowded field, the path for a Democratic victory is a narrow one. As of now 9 Democratic candidates and 7 Republican candidates have filed for a primary in which Republican turnout may remain higher than Democratic turnout. The probability of two Republicans advancing in November, and Democrats squandering a historic opportunity, is real.
We cannot let this chance slip by. The stakes are far too high, not just for our country, but also for a world that once looked to the United States as a beacon of hope and democracy. Instead, we are seeing a movement towards authoritarianism across the globe that is not just being condoned, but mimicked by the President of the United States. The Republican-controlled Congress has done nothing to stop this degradation, which is why we must flip Congress, and we cannot flip Congress unless Democrats win this seat.
The greatest contribution I can make right now is to help consolidate the field, by stepping away from it. We cannot afford to let this seat slip away, and we must all put the greater good over personal ambition.
This was not an easy decision to make. Polling and endorsements show that I am the strongest Democrat for the open primary. We have opened our office, hired staff, and made significant investments in this race. Many have upended their lives and made major contributions to see this campaign succeed. But after close consultation with mentors, friends, family and staff, we believe this difficult decision is the right decision, for us, for our district, and for the Democratic majority we need to guide our country.
While I will not be on the ballot, I will stay involved. I look forward to using my platform as a community college trustee to continue the fight to make higher education more affordable, and student loans less crushing. I’ll continue to advocate for better care of our returning warriors so they can better transition to civilian life. As the recent shooting in Yountville has demonstrated, we must do more to assist our veterans with PTSD, and we must do more protect our community from gun violence. Finally, I look forward to continuing my work as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserves where I can serve alongside Sailors who have taken the same oath candidates take, to protect and defend our Constitution.
Locally, we must fight hard for Democratic representation in District 39. We must oppose the recall on State Senator Josh Newman. Most importantly, we must support good local candidates for critical local seats and strengthen our pipeline of experienced and qualified Democratic public servants, so that progressive voices can guide our government.
I want to thank my wife Karen, all of my supporters, and my team: Eugene, Robbie, Fiona, Emily, Derek and Shan. Should our efforts to flip the 39th fall short this time, I will reengage for 2020. In the meantime we all have important work to do.