Jessica Morse is Clear Winner in CA-04 Debate

McClintock struggles to defend record on healthcare, local issues


Sunday, September 23rd, 2018
Makaiah Mohler, (530) 913-3242,
Anthony Kusich, (916) 288-2228,

MARIPOSA, Calif. – This afternoon, challenger and first-time candidate Jessica Morse and Congressman Tom McClintock faced off in their first debate for the 4th Congressional District seat. In the debate, Morse stressed her local roots as a fifth-generation Northern Californian and her commitment to fighting for the issues important to the community that raised her. As expected, career politician McClintock struggled to explain his vote to eliminate coverage for people with pre-existing conditions – a position that would negatively affect nearly 300,000 of his constituents. Further, McClintock couldn't defend his vote against a budget bill that would’ve provided the district with funding to prevent forest fires.

A key exchange occurred during a question on McClintock's decision to withdraw support for a visitors’ center in Mariposa County to help alleviate congestion at Yosemite National Park:

  • MORSE: When Congressman McClintock decided to pick winners and losers on this project, he decided Mariposa should lose.

  • McCLINTOCK: I will not support it.

Later in the debate, McClintock again struggled to defend his vote for the controversial tax bill that gave tax breaks to corporations and special interests at the expense of families in our community:

  • MORSE: That tax bill will cost us $1.8 trillion over a decade. That is a tax on your grandkids. And there was cuts to Medicare and Social Security. And what does that get us? There are millions of seniors who depend on Social Security to get by.

  • McCLINTOCK: She is correct, the debt continues to rise. 

Numerous times, McClintock called the tax bill the "largest tax cuts of the past century," while neglecting the fact thatmostof the cuts will go to corporations, special interests, and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of middle-class families in the 4th district.

Today's debate took place at Mariposa County High School, and is currently the only confirmed debate between the two candidates.

McClintock is facing his toughest re-election test since his first race in 2008. He trailed Morse in fundraising by a more than two-to-one margin in the most recent finance quarter, taking in only $223,000 to Morse's $543,000. Additionally, every major political prognosticator has moved the race out of the "Safe Republican" category, including Inside Elections, the Cook Political Report, UVA's Crystal Ball, and CNN. In fact, McClintock's 51% showing in June was the lowest total he's ever received in a 4th district primary. Morse was also recently added to the DCCC's Red to Blue program, which highlights the most competitive Congressional races across the country.