CA-09: John Den Dulk vs. Barbara Lee

“I’m not running to win,” said John Den Dulk, Republican nominee for Congress in California’s 9th District (Oakland) in what has to be one of the most honest statements ever made by an office-seeker. “I’m running to witness.”

A former Reagan Administration official and travel agent, Oakland resident Den Dulk has been involved in Republican politics since he was a teen-age Republican activist in Richard Nixon’s unsuccessful race for governor in 1962. His father lost the Republican nomination for Congress in the same district in 1972.

To be sure, being a Republican candidate meant a bit more in those days than it does today in a district where former Democratic Rep. (1970-88) Ron Dellums recently succeeded Jerry (“Gov. Moonbeam”) Brown as mayor of Oakland. But Den Dulk is undaunted and, while his chore of defeating Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee is extremely challenging, fellow conservatives are helping him. Former Atty. Gen. Ed Meese recently travelled to Alameda County to weigh in for him, and another Reagan Administration alumnus, Kathy McMichael, came out of retirement in Florida to relocate to Oakland to be his campaign manager.

Left-wing four-termer Lee (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 4%) is best known as the only member of Congress to vote against supporting President Bush’s plan to use military force to respond to 9/11. That speaks volumes about the longtime top aide and then successor to Dellums, with whom she traveled to Communist-run Grenada in 1982. They later wrote a report to the House Armed Services Committee in support of the airport that was being built on the island (which the Reagan Administration feared could be used by Soviet bombers). Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, himself an anti-American leftist, was assassinated in a Communist-led coup in 1983 that was then thwarted by a U.S. troop landing.

In 1991, the American Communist Party split into two factions and one of them called itself the Committee of Correspondence. Barbara Lee was elected to its National Coordinating Committee. Recalled Herb Romerstein, a former professional staffer for the House Intelligence Committee and a recognized authority on communism: “When I wrote an article for Human Events exposing the C of C and identifying Ms. Lee, she first denied the whole story, but then admitted it. C of C decided to no longer list some of their leaders.”

Whether it’s praising Fidel Castro or voting against a House resolution recognizing the “patriotism and courage” of U.S. troops in Kosovo, the lady from California’s 9th District can be counted on to do the left’s bidding.

And so the case for conservatives to support John Den Dulk’s seemingly quixotic candidacy against her couldn’t be clearer—or more principled.