President Donald Trump weighed in on local politics, endorsing the Republican candidate in a hotly contested North County race that has garnered national attention.
District 49, which encompasses Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and a small part of Orange County, is represented by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa who announced his retirement in January.
On Twitter Sunday evening, the president tweeted, “@DianeHarkey is an extraordinary woman of great accomplishment & potential. She is running as a very popular Republican for the Congressional seat of my friend Darrell Issa –with his complete support. Diane is strong on crime, loves our Military & Vets –has my total Endorsement.”
A smattering of Republicans and Democrats entered June’s so-called “jungle primary,” in which both parties run together and the top two candidates of whatever party advance to the November election.
Harkey, a Republican and current member of the California Board of Equalization, came in first with 25 percent of the vote. Democrat Mike Levin, who is also an environmental attorney, came in second with 17 percent of the vote.
Levin responded to the president’s tweet just minutes later, writing, “No surprise that @RealDonaldTrump, an expert in failed real estate scams, would endorse my opponent @DianeHarkey, whose campaigns have been funded by a Ponzi Scheme.”
Diane Harkey’s campaign office put out a statement in response to Levin’s: “It comes as no surprise that a candidate who supports higher gas taxes and amnesty for illegal aliens would resort to false personal attacks,” David Gilliard, a Harkey campaign consultant said.
The election is on Nov. 6.