Editor’s Note: Our coverage of Regina Bateson is part of Running Women, a project following 15 compelling women candidates for U.S. political offices in 2018. Read the latest on her campaign below.

Regina Bateson, California candidate for CongressRegina Bateson is a Democrat running for an open U.S. House seat in California’s red-leaning 4th Congressional District, which includes the wealthy Lake Tahoe area and Yosemite National Park. Since 1993, this seat has been occupied by Republican men, and has only ever been held by a woman once — almost 100 years ago.

Bateson, a political newcomer who aims to unseat long-time incumbent Rep. Tom McClintock, has a hill to climb. The district has consistently voted Republican in national elections for decades, and incumbents have a distinct advantage in U.S. elections.

Yet Bateson has been assertive in her opposition to McClintock, a staunch conservative who denies the science behind climate change and supported conservative efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act — two issues that are central to her campaign. Bateson, who enjoys outdoor activities like snowshoeing, hiking and camping, told the Sacramento Bee in July that McClintock “does not reflect the values” nor “act in the best interests” of the district.

Bateson will face McClintock and another strong woman Democrat, Jessica Morse, in the state’s primary. California has a top-two primary system, which places all candidates on the same ballot and sends the two highest vote-getters to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. That means, to survive until November, Bateson would have to best all but one candidate. Her Democratic opponents are Morse and Roza Calderon. Republican challenger Steven Castellanoin late January told a local newspaper that he is dropping out of the race.

Bateson is the race’s second highest Democratic fundraiser, based on official reports as of March 31, with $592,000 in campaign contributions, below Morse’s $912,600 and McClintock’s $962,900. About $37,500 of Bateson’s total contributions have come through campaign crowdfunding site Crowdpac, an alternative small-dollar fundraising source that has attracted many women candidates. 

Related: Crowdpac’s Funding Engine is Powering Women Candidates

Despite the obstacles, Bateson has a small army of more than 700 volunteers working on her effort to unseat McClintock, and she could attract national attention and money now that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added the 4th District to its target list to flip in 2018.

She also has impressive experience in international relations and national security to run on. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she became a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State and learned a great deal about terrorist travel and border security. She also served as vice-consul at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, and speaks Spanish fluently. In fact, if elected, Bateson would be the only consular officer ever elected to Congress.

Bateson has local roots — her family has lived in Roseville since 1984. She attended public school there, and was named valedictorian of her high school graduating class. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, then both a master’s and a doctorate from Yale University.

Currently, Bateson is an assistant professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has received several awards for her achievements in mentoring and academic research. Bateson recently moved back to Roseville with her husband and their three young children.

The Latest on the Campaign

June 6, 2018:
Bateson Loses Bid for Congress

Democrat Regina Bateson’s hard fought campaign to oust a Republican incumbent congressman came to an end on Tuesday. She took third place in the 4th Congressional District primary, losing a spot in the general election to another Democratic woman, Jessica Morse.

California has an unusual “jungle” primary system that sends the top two vote-getters to the general election, regardless of party. Morse will face Rep. Tom McClintock, who received 52.1 percent of the vote. He will be difficult to beat in November, although the district recently shifted from safely Republican to likely Republican, according to many national election watchers. The somewhat more competitive environment is due in part to the heated race between Bateson and Morse, who won 13 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Two main factors contributed to Morse’s success in the primary on Tuesday, according to analysts. In a huge victory, the Democratic Party endorsed Morse, as did many prominent Democrats, such as Congresswoman Julia Brownley and former state Sen. Fran Pavley. Morse also raised more money than Bateson — and more than McClintock, for that matter — allowing her to spend heavily on television ads.

On Facebook, Bateson thanked supporters, told them they should be “proud and optimistic,” and encouraged them to get behind Morse’s campaign.

“We were essentially a bunch of normal people who decided to step up and get involved — yet we repeatedly out-fundraised Tom McClintock, and we ultimately got a higher share of the vote than many other Congressional candidates across the state who had the backing of powerful allies,” she said. “I hope our campaign will inspire other normal people to run for office and to volunteer for campaigns, paving the way for a new kind of politics in our country.”

Read our Full Primary Roundup: On Super Tuesday, Many Women Candidates Won Their Primaries. But Parity Remains Distant

June 5, 2018:
Bateson Casts Her Vote in California Primary, Family in Tow

June 4, 2018:
In a California ‘Jungle Primary,’ Regina Bateson and 2 Other Women Fight to Unseat a GOP Man

In Tuesday’s primary election, political newcomer Regina Bateson, a Democrat, faces an uphill battle in a crowded field. Read the full story.

February 1, 2018:
Bateson Outraises Incumbent Republican in Fourth Quarter
Regina Bateson Congress candidate
Regina Bateson meets voters in December 2017 (Credit: Regina Bateson Facebook page)

By Mariana Castro

Regina Bateson’s campaign for a California congressional seat said Wednesday that it raised $260,000 during the fourth quarter of 2017 that ended December 31, surpassing the candidate’s Republican opponent, incumbent Congressman Tom McClintock, who raised $216,000.

“Voters are clearly fed up with Representative Tom McClintock, and I am proud that our grassroots donors are showing that,” said Bateson, whose campaign contributions for the period came entirely from about 2,100 individual contributors.

Bateson’s top Democratic opponent, Jessica Morse, outraised both Bateson and McClintock. Morse, a national security strategist, took in $290,000 in donations, also mostly from individuals. The rush of small donations into both women’s campaigns suggests that a Democratic groundswell is building against McClintock.

On Wednesday, Republican Steven Castellano, a latecomer to the race, told local newspaper The Union Democrat that he is dropping out.