Geographically, all but the coastal region of Santa Barbara County (as well as Ventura County) is represented by Elton Gallegly, a conservative Republican whose indifference to constituent service and accountability is the stuff of political legend. Yet he holds a hammerlock on the district, thanks to gerrymandering that made his seat as solidly Republican as Capps’s is Democratic. Every two years, the Democratic Party fields a sacrificial candidate to oppose Gallegly with all the predictable results.
Democrat Tim Allison poses a serious, credible alternative, as opposed to many of the candidates to run against Gallegly in the past. Allison first came to Santa Barbara as a political field organizer in the late 1980s to get Walter Capps — Lois Capps’s late husband — elected to Congress. Allison, who now sells real estate to make ends meet, has been a consistent player in local Democratic circles, infusing the machine with level-headed liberalism and operational efficiency.