Your guide to California’s Congressional District 26 race: Rep. Julia Brownley vs. Matt Jacobs

Pictures of two people.
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), left, and her GOP rival, Matt Jacobs are vying to represent California’s 26th Congressional District.
(Associated Press/Cliff Owen)

The race in California’s 26th Congressional District, mostly based in Ventura County but with a sliver of Los Angeles County, features veteran Democratic lawmaker Julia Brownley facing off with former federal prosecutor Matt Jacobs.

Brownley has held various elected offices since 1994 and has served in Congress for the last decade. Her district favors Democrats but became a little less friendly after the decennial redrawing of congressional maps lopped off the blue city of Ventura while adding the conservative-leaning Simi Valley. The Cook Political Report, which has tracked House and Senate races for decades, on Tuesday changed the district’s rating from “solid Democratic” to “lean Democratic.”

Agriculture and veterans’ services are among the key issues in the district.


Who are the candidates?

Brownley, who has served in local, state and federal office for nearly three decades, has represented much of this district in Congress since 2013. She touts her ability to work across the aisle on issues such as veterans’ services and infrastructure, as well as the federal funds she has brought home to fund projects such as the deepening of a cargo berth in Port Hueneme that she says could ease supply-chain blockages.

Brownley supports the Biden administration’s legislative agenda, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and an assault weapons ban.

Jacobs, the grandson of a World War II veteran and Holocaust survivors, was raised in Thousand Oaks and became a federal prosecutor who investigated and prosecuted terrorists, sex traffickers and drug dealers.

Jacobs argues that Brownley is too beholden to Biden, and says that he would support common-sense policies to reduce regulations, taxes and the federal deficit.


Where is District 26?

Largely based in Ventura County with a sliver of Los Angeles County, the 26th Congressional District includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Moorpark, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks.


Where Brownley and Jacobs stand on abortion

Brownley called the Supreme Court decision that overturned federal protection for abortion access “the culmination of a decades-long plan from extremists within the Republican Party to dismantle access to comprehensive reproductive health care.”

She has voted to codify abortion rights in federal law and points out that Jacobs is endorsed by elected officials and organizations that support abortion bans, including some that offer no exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

Jacobs said he supports the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade because he believes it aligns with the Constitution and that the matter should be decided by the states. He said he would not vote for a federal abortion ban and that he supports allowing abortion in the case of rape, incest or the health of the mother.

Jacobs repeatedly declined to disclose his position on overall abortion rights, noting that access to the medical procedure is not threatened in California.


Where Brownley and Jacobs stand on inflation

Brownley said she sympathizes with the struggle many Americans are facing economically, and she pointed to recent Democratic legislative successes that could ease the burden, including an annual out-of-pocket spending cap of $2,000 on prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries as well as a $35 monthly cap for insulin for those on Medicare.


If Democrats retain control of Congress, Brownley said, they would fight for policies such as paid family leave and extending the enhanced child tax credit that expired at the end of 2021.

Jacobs said he believes inflation is caused by unsustainable spending. He said he supports legislation such as neighboring GOP Rep. Mike Garcia’s Inflation Prevention Act, which would bar new spending deemed likely to increase inflation, at least until the national inflation rate dropped below 4.5%,

He also said he would seek to increase domestic energy production. When asked whether he would support new offshore drilling off California’s coast, he said he favored an “all-of-the-above” approach.

“Our abundant domestic supply is cheaper. It’s cleaner. Importantly, it would result in more blue-collar jobs right here in the community,” Jacobs said.


How and where to vote

Ballots have been mailed to all 22 million registered voters in the state. Californians can return ballots by mail, drop them at collection boxes or turn them in at voting centers. They can also cast ballots early at voting centers or wait until Nov. 8 to vote at their neighborhood polling places.


Find out how to register, check voter status and vote here:

Here’s how to vote in the California midterm election, how to register, what to do if you didn’t get mail ballot or if you made a mistake on your ballot.


Follow more election coverage

California voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to vote for U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, the state Board of Equalization, judges, members of Congress and the state Legislature. Local races in Los Angeles include mayor and county sheriff. There are also seven ballot propositions on the table.