Ron Cohen

A week ago, Ron Cohen, a Republican congressional candidate in the 17th District’s June primary, was incensed by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf‘s move to alert residents of impending raids by federal ICE agents. He responded by filing a complaint with the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Oakland. On Wednesday, Cohen declared war on the State of California.

“I hereby declare my residence in Fremont, California, loyal to the United States of America. California Governor Jerry Brown stated today that President Trump is ‘going to war against the State of California,’” Cohen wrote, referring to comments made Wednesday by Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

“In any such war, my residence, resources, and allegiance will be to the United States government, and I stand ready to assist that government in any way required, including the use of arms, to make war against the State of California, when called upon.”

Cohen said in an interview that Brown’s comment was needless “hot rhetoric” intended to inflame the situation. “We don’t go to war, we go to court to handle these types of things,” he said.

He said Schaaf’s comments on Tuesday that asserted the Trump administration views undocumented immigrants as “villains” is only meant to “box-in” opponents like himself. “It’s a word game,” he said.

“We love legal immigrants,” said Cohen, while underscoring the word legal, but also said he understands many undocumented immigrants are “in a bad situation.”

While Cohen has found considerable fault with Schaaf and Governor Brown recently, he has not focused on his June primary opponent, Rep. Ro Khanna.

Cohen has a significant uphill climb in the race, but a second-place finish in the primary and a place in the November General Election is a good possibility. Although the number of challengers qualified to run in the 17th District is five, Cohen is the only Republican.

During the 2016 primary, Cohen garnered seven percent of the vote, a number that would have been higher if a Republican candidate had not entered the race late and effectively split the district’s GOP electorate. Almost 16 percent of the 17th District identify as Republican, a cumulative total that was nearly achieved during the 2016 June primary.