Is it 2010 already? No, but in order to defeat an incumbent, challengers have to start early.  California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore wants to get an early jump on the Senate race in which Barbara Boxer will seek election, and his first web ad ties her to Harry Reid and a boondoggle in the news of late:

The visitors center gives a good demonstration of what’s wrong with Washington.  They spent over $600 million on a self-laudatory monument, which came in late at more than twice its proposed cost.  What was its main benefit?  According to Harry Reid, he doesn’t have to smell the tourists any more.  It’s the most expensive Right Guard ever produced.

Will this be the issue that unseats Boxer?  Doubtful, but it’s not a bad place to start in a state facing a budget crisis thanks to chronic overspending after decades of Democratic control.  DeVore, the current Republican Whip in the Assembly, had a front-row seat for that the last six years, but thanks to term limits, he can’t run again in the lower chamber.  Rather than do what most of his colleagues do — run for the state Senate after three terms in the House — DeVore has a more ambitious plan.

He’s an interesting candidate.  According to the Wikipedia entry for DeVore, he supports nuclear power for green energy production, introducing four bills to get more plants built, all of which Democrats blocked in committee.  DeVore also proposed slant drilling to get to oil in the western OCS so that the rigs could get built on land instead of offshore.  He’s opposed tax increases, including those from Arnold Schwarzenegger, and pushed for spending cuts.  DeVore gets an A+ from the NRA and a big fat zero from Planned Parenthood, both of which can be expected to generate a lot of ads for and against DeVore.

Can DeVore beat Boxer?  He’ll have to overcome her name recognition and the coastal support on which she can almost certainly rely.  Republicans might prefer someone with more celebrity — Kelsey Grammer has been mentioned — but by 2010, that may not be such an issue.  Boxer has been on the fringe of the Democratic caucus for years and even Californians may rethink the status of Democrats by the time the midterms come, thanks to their state crisis.  DeVore has a track record of conservatism where it counts, even if it doesn’t succeed.