Maxine Waters Got a Wake-Up Call from a Young GOP Challenger

A young, severely underfunded Republican put in an impressive showing versus a 12-term Democrat in what has been considered a solidly blue part of the L.A. area.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) keeps a tight grip on the 43rd District, which includes Inglewood, Westmont, Westchester, LAX, and follows the Harbor Freeway south to encompass Hawthorne, Gardena, West Carson, part of Torrance and Lomita.

In 2008, one of the most well-known black Republican activists in L.A., activist for the homeless Ted Hayes, ran against Waters, getting 13 percent of the vote.

Former LAPD officer and anti-gang activist Carl McGill ran against Waters as a Republican in 2000, yet cleared just over 10 percent of the vote.

On Tuesday, John Wood Jr. got 29.6 percent of the vote against Waters.

Waters' vote total was 53,433 compared to the more than 98,000 votes she got in 2010.

National Review Online noted that the 27-year-old "digital-marketing sales rep, jazz trumpeter, and occasional rapper is facing a 111-to-1 spending disadvantage" and a "4-to-1 disadvantage in party registration."

Wood knows the district and its challenges. He was born in Inglewood (like me); his wife was born in Watts. NRO noted that he's "media-untrained" yet through the campaign has become "notably more polished...aggressively hitting churches and community groups around the district."

Wood is the grandson of late Dot Records founder Randy Wood and the son of jazz pianist John Wood, Sr., and R&B vocalist Deonda Theus.

His economic plan called for tax reform, welfare reform, entitlement reform and immigration reform. "With the national unemployment rate standing at 7.7% (that’s 12 million Americans unemployed), 9.5 % in California and 10.6% in Los Angeles with even greater joblessness in the Latino and particularly the African-American community (almost 20% last year in Los Angeles) we are seeing the great lakes of economic opportunity in this country drying up before our eyes. With a national debt climbing beyond 16.8 trillion dollars, a national deficit of over 1 trillion dollars,  and GDP growth last year a modest 2.2%, we are ensuring that these waters will never again be filled."

Perhaps in two years he'll have a bigger war chest of donations and party funding to take on Waters.