Tag Archives: CA-11

Analysis of 2012 California U.S. House Races

Now that the primary dust is settled and I have some time, I can present my analysis of the California districts this year. With top-two, we have some more interesting races to watch. With the lack of a write-in option in the November elections, I came up with a new safer-than-safe rating, “Guaranteed”. The outcomes will not be different from the “Safe” races, but I like having them separated, because some of the “Guaranteed” races will be interesting to watch.

California’s 1st congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Northeastern corner of the state (Redding, Chico)

November ballot: Doug LaMalfa (R) vs. Jim Reed (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 58-31

Governor 2010: Whitman 53-37

President 2008: McCain 53-42

California’s 2nd congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: North Coast north of San Francisco (Eureka, Petaluma)

November ballot: Jared Huffman (D) vs. Dan Roberts (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 62-29

Governor 2010: Brown 64-30

President 2008: Obama 71-25

California’s 3rd congressional district: LEAN DEM

Geography: Solano County and Southern Sacramento Valley (Davis, Fairfield, Yuba City)

November ballot: John Garamendi (D-inc) vs. Kim Vann (R)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 46-45

Governor 2010: Brown 50-43

President 2008: Obama 55-42

Description: Garamendi underperformed the previous incumbent Ellen Tauscher in both the 2009 special and the 2010 general in the old district, which was more Democratic than this one. Colusa County Supervisor Vann is also a serious candidate, having more cash-on-hand than Garamendi ($169K – $132K), though Garamendi spent more than 3.5 times as much as Vann ($895K – $244K).

California’s 4th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Placer County, eastern Central Valley

November ballot: Tom McClintock (R-inc) vs. Jack Uppal (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 59-32

Governor 2010: Whitman 55-38

President 2008: McCain 54-43

California’s 5th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Napa Valley

November ballot: Mike Thompson (D-inc) vs. Randy Loftin (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 61-30

Governor 2010: Brown 63-31

President 2008: Obama 70-27

California’s 6th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Sacramento, West Sacramento

November ballot: Doris Matsui (D-inc) vs. Joseph McCray (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 59-32

Governor 2010: Brown 66-28

President 2008: Obama 68-29

California’s 7th congressional district: LEAN GOP

Geography: Eastern Sacramento suburbs (Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights)

November ballot: Dan Lungren (R-inc) vs. Ami Bera (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 49-42

Governor 2010: Brown 49-44

President 2008: Obama 51-46

Description: This will probably be the race to watch in California’s congressional delegation. Lungren won a hard-fought race the last two cycles, and in 2010 Democrats picked up a State Assembly seat in this area, one of the few Democratic pickups that year. The district became slightly more Democratic, going from Obama by 0.5% to Obama by 5%. However, Lungren beat Bera by 12 points in June, so he has a small advantage.

California’s 8th congressional district: GUARANTEED GOP

Geography: Sierras and most of San Bernardino County

November ballot: Paul Cook (R) vs. Gregg Imus (R)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 57-32

Governor 2010: Whitman 52-36

President 2008: McCain 55-42

California’s 9th congressional district: LEAN DEM

Geography: San Joaquin County (Stockton, Lodi) and eastern Contra Costa County (Antioch)

November ballot: Jerry McNerney (D-inc) vs. Ricky Gill (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 47-44

Governor 2010: Brown 51-42

President 2008: Obama 56-41

Description: Republicans landed a top recruit in Gill to face McNerney, who has had a history of tough races. This district became slightly more Democratic than the old one, voting for Boxer and Brown. Gill could use McNerney’s recent move to Stockton from Pleasanton in the Bay Area to his advantage, and has argued that McNerney has not been an effective San Joaquin County representative. This will be a race to watch, though due to this district being slightly more Democratic than the old CA-11, I give McNerney a small edge.

California’s 10th congressional district: LIKELY GOP

Geography: Stanislaus County and southwestern San Joaquin County

November ballot: Jeff Denham (R-inc) vs. Jose Hernandez (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 52-39

Governor 2010: Whitman 49-44

President 2008: Obama 50-47

Description: Denham’s weak performance in June was surprising, considering his history of big margins in similar districts, though that may be due to nonpartisan candidate Chad Condit (son of former conservative Democrat congressman Gary Condit).

California’s 11th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Contra Costa County (Richmond, Walnut Creek, Concord)

November ballot: George Miller (D-inc) vs. Virginia Fuller (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 60-34

Governor 2010: Brown 61-34

President 2008: Obama 69-28

California’s 12th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: San Francisco

November ballot: Nancy Pelosi (D-inc) vs. John Dennis (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 76-14

Governor 2010: Brown 78-16

President 2008: Obama 84-13

California’s 13th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Berkeley, Oakland

November ballot: Barbara Lee (D-inc) vs. Marilyn Singleton (NPP)

Senate 2010: Boxer 83-11

Governor 2010: Brown 84-11

President 2008: Obama 87-10

California’s 14th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: South San Francisco, Daly City, San Mateo, Redwood City

November ballot: Jackie Speier (D-inc) vs. Debbie Bacigalupi (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 66-27

Governor 2010: Brown 66-28

President 2008: Obama 73-24

California’s 15th congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Southern East Bay (Hayward, Livermore, San Ramon)

November ballot: Pete Stark (D-inc) vs. Eric Swalwell (D)

Senate 2010: Boxer 59-34

Governor 2010: Brown 59-35

President 2008: Obama 67-30

Description: For once, we have a race to watch in a safe district, with delegation dean Stark against fellow Democrat Swalwell. Stark has had a series of gaffes, and Swalwell gained the endorsements of the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area Newsgroup. Swalwell also hails from a part of the district that is new to Stark, the Tri-Valley area. Will term 20 be Stark’s last term?

California’s 16th congressional district: LIKELY DEM

Geography: Fresno, Madera, Merced

November ballot: Jim Costa (D-inc) vs. Brian Whelan (R)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 47-43

Governor 2010: Brown 50-42

President 2008: Obama 57-40

Description: Costa traded the Kern and Kings portions of his old district for Madera and Merced. He should be fine if he takes the race seriously, unlike last time.

California’s 17th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Silicon Valley (Fremont, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale)

November ballot: Mike Honda (D-inc) vs. Evelyn Li (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 63-29

Governor 2010: Brown 61-34

President 2008: Obama 69-28

California’s 18th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Silicon Valley (Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose)

November ballot: Anna Eshoo (D-inc) vs. David Chapman (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 61-32

Governor 2010: Brown 60-35

President 2008: Obama 70-27

California’s 19th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: San Jose

November ballot: Zoe Lofgren (D-inc) vs. Robert Murray (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 61-31

Governor 2010: Brown 60-25

President 2008: Obama 70-27

California’s 20th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Northern Central Coast (Monterey, Salinas, Santa Cruz)

November ballot: Sam Farr (D-inc) vs. Jeff Taylor (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 61-31

Governor 2010: Brown 63-31

President 2008: Obama 71-26

California’s 21st congressional district: LIKELY GOP

Geography: Southern Central Valley (Hanford, Bakersfield)

November ballot: John Hernandez (D) vs. David Valadao (R)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 50-40

Governor 2010: Brown 48-44

President 2008: Obama 52-46

Description: With the Democrats’ two best candidates, Michael Rubio and Dean Florez, not running and Valadao winning a majority of the vote in the first round, this district is very likely to go Republican.

California’s 22nd congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Fresno, Visalia

November ballot: Devin Nunes (R-inc) vs. Otto Lee (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 63-30

Governor 2010: Whitman 59-35

President 2008: McCain 55-42

California’s 23rd congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Kern County (Bakersfield)

November ballot: Kevin McCarthy (R-inc) vs. Terry Phillips (NPP)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 64-26

Governor 2010: Whitman 58-33

President 2008: McCain 61-36

California’s 24th congressional district: LEAN DEM

Geography: San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties

November ballot: Lois Capps (D-inc) vs. Abel Maldonado (R)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 46-45

Governor 2010: Brown 47-46

President 2008: Obama 56-41

Description: This was probably the toughest race for me to rate, between lean Dem and toss-up. Capps gets back her old district from the 90s that was marginal (including voting for Bob Dole in 1996) and that she won close races in. Capps is more entrenched now than she was in the 90s, but I don’t think she is used to serious campaigning after five non-competitive races. In addition, Maldonado represented this area in the state legislature, though he is not liked by the party base and could be hammered on taxes. I decided to give Capps a few more points due to being entrenched, though this race could become a toss-up again if there are any new developments.

California’s 25th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Palmdale, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley

November ballot: Buck McKeon (R-inc) vs. Lee Rogers (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 54-37

Governor 2010: Whitman 52-39

President 2008: Obama 49-48

California’s 26th congressional district: TOSS-UP

Geography: Ventura County (Oxnard, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks)

November ballot: Julia Brownley (D) vs. Tony Strickland (R)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 47-45

Governor 2010: Whitman 47-46

President 2008: Obama 56-41

Description: Democrats suffered a setback when County Supervisor Steve Bennett dropped out in February and recruited Assemblywoman Brownley. A Santa Monica-area rep would be an awkward fit for a Ventura County district, but Strickland has had many close races himself. It is unknown who the supporters of nonpartisan candidate Linda Parks will go to in November.

California’s 27th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Pasadena, Monterey Park, Alhambra

November ballot: Judy Chu (D-inc) vs. Jack Orswell (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 54-39

Governor 2010: Brown 55-39

President 2008: Obama 61-36

California’s 28th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Glendale, Burbank

November ballot: Adam Schiff (D-inc) vs. Phil Jennerjahn (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 63-30

Governor 2010: Brown 63-30

President 2008: Obama 70-26

California’s 29th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Eastern San Fernando Valley

November ballot: Tony Cardenas (D) vs. David Hernandez (NPP)

Senate 2010: Boxer 67-24

Governor 2010: Brown 68-24

President 2008: Obama 74-23

California’s 30th congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Western San Fernando Valley

November ballot: Howard Berman (D-inc) vs. Brad Sherman (D-inc)

Senate 2010: Boxer 57-35

Governor 2010: Brown 57-36

President 2008: Obama 66-31

Description: This is the same-party race to watch, a clash of the titans if you will. Berman has the Hollywood establishment, while Sherman has more local endorsements, as well as Bill Clinton. Sherman has also been more visible in the area, and got more votes than Berman in June. As far as Republican/conservative outreach goes, Berman has the support of former mayor Richard Riordan, DA Steve Cooley, and county supervisor Mike Antonovich, while CPA and former Board of Equalization (the state’s tax board) member Sherman voted against TARP in 2008.

California’s 31st congressional district: GUARANTEED GOP

Geography: Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Redlands

November ballot: Bob Dutton (R) vs. Gary Miller (R-inc)

Senate 2010: Boxer 46-44

Governor 2010: Brown 49-41

President 2008: Obama 56-41

Description: This is the only race where top-two cost a party a chance at a pickup. I hope this missed opportunity teaches Democrats a lesson to be more disciplined when it comes to candidates. As far as November goes, the combination of familiarity among locals and no scandals should give Dutton a comfortable edge.

California’s 32nd congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: San Gabriel Valley

November ballot: Grace Napolitano (D-inc) vs. David Miller (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 55-36

Governor 2010: Brown 57-35

President 2008: Obama 62-35

California’s 33rd congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: West Side L.A., Beach Cities, Palos Verdes

November ballot: Henry Waxman (D-inc) vs. Bill Bloomfield (NPP)

Senate 2010: Boxer 55-39

Governor 2010: Brown 54-40

President 2008: Obama 64-32

California’s 34th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Downtown L.A.

November ballot: Xavier Becerra (D-inc) vs. Steven Smith (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 75-16

Governor 2010: Brown 76-16

President 2008: Obama 77-19

California’s 35th congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Inland Empire (Pomona, Fontana, Ontario)

November ballot: Joe Baca (D-inc) vs. Gloria Negrete-McLeod (D)

Senate 2010: Boxer 56-34

Governor 2010: Brown 58-33

President 2008: Obama 64-32

Description: Another same-party race to watch, with McLeod challenging Baca from the left. McLeod has represented Pomona and Chino, which are not familiar to Baca, and held him under 50% despite establishment backing.

California’s 36th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Riverside County

November ballot: Mary Bono Mack (R-inc) vs. Raul Ruiz (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 51-42

Governor 2010: Whitman 50-43

President 2008: Obama 50-47

Description: Bono Mack had a closer-than-usual race in 2010 due to a third-party conservative. Now with a more Republican district she should be able to breathe easier.

California’s 37th congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Crenshaw, Culver City

November ballot: Karen Bass (D-inc)

Senate 2010: Boxer 79-14

Governor 2010: Brown 79-15

President 2008: Obama 84-13

California’s 38th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Norwalk, Lakewood, Whittier

November ballot: Linda Sánchez (D-inc) vs. Ben Campos (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 55-35

Governor 2010: Brown 57-35

President 2008: Obama 61-35

California’s 39th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Chino Hills

November ballot: Ed Royce (R-inc) vs. Jay Chen (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 55-37

Governor 2010: Whitman 54-38

President 2008: McCain 49-47

California’s 40th congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Downey, Bellflower, Bell Gardens

November ballot: Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-inc) vs. David John Sanchez (D)

Senate 2010: Boxer 72-18

Governor 2010: Brown 73-19

President 2008: Obama 77-19

California’s 41st congressional district: TOSS-UP

Geography: Riverside, Moreno Valley

November ballot: Mark Takano (D) vs. John Tavaglione (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 49-42

Governor 2010: Brown 52-40

President 2008: Obama 59-40

Description: This new Riverside seat will probably be the SoCal race to watch. On paper it should go Democratic, but Republicans have historically fared well in Riverside races. However, I haven’t been able to find any old Riverside districts as Democratic as this, so this district is uncharted territory for both parties.

California’s 42nd congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Corona, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore

November ballot: Ken Calvert (R-inc) vs. Michael Williamson (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 60-33

Governor 2010: Whitman 56-35

President 2008: McCain 54-43

California’s 43rd congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Inglewood, Hawthorne

November ballot: Maxine Waters (D-inc) vs. Bob Flores (D)

Senate 2010: Boxer 68-23

Governor 2010: Brown 69-24

President 2008: Obama 75-22

Description: Flores got a third of the vote in the primary, so this may be a race to watch to see if Waters’ ethics issues finally catch up to her.

California’s 44th congressional district: GUARANTEED DEM

Geography: Carson, Compton, Long Beach, San Pedro

November ballot: Janice Hahn (D-inc) vs. Laura Richardson (D-inc)

Senate 2010: Boxer 76-15

Governor 2010: Brown 77-15

President 2008: Obama 81-16

Description: The other incumbent-vs.-incumbent race has much less drama. Like in June, Hahn should easily get more votes than scandal-tainted Richardson.

California’s 45th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Central Orange County (Irvine, Tustin, Mission Viejo)

November ballot: John Campbell (R-inc) vs. Sukhee Kang (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 60-33

Governor 2010: Whitman 59-34

President 2008: McCain 51-46

California’s 46th congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: North Central Orange County (Anaheim, Santa Ana)

November ballot: Loretta Sanchez (D-inc) vs. Jerry Hayden (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 49-40

Governor 2010: Brown 50-40

President 2008: Obama 58-39

California’s 47th congressional district: LEAN DEM

Geography: Long Beach, Garden Grove

November ballot: Gary DeLong (R) vs. Alan Lowenthal (D)

Senate 2010: Boxer 50-42

Governor 2010: Brown 50-42

President 2008: Obama 58-39

Description: This should be a comfortable Democratic win, but Lowenthal’s until-recently lackluster fundraising and opposition to high-speed rail funds for the Central Valley has Democrats concerned. DeLong is also a serious contender, with strong backing from the NRCC.

California’s 48th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach

November ballot: Dana Rohrabacher (R-inc) vs. Ron Varasteh (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 58-35

Governor 2010: Whitman 58-35

President 2008: McCain 51-46

Californias’ 49th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Dana Point, San Clemente, Oceanside, Carlsbad

November ballot: Darrell Issa (R-inc) vs. Jerry Tetalman (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 56-36

Governor 2010: Whitman 55-37

President 2008: Obama 49-48

California’s 50th congressional district: SAFE GOP

Geography: Temecula, San Diego County (Escondido, Santee)

November ballot: Duncan D. Hunter (R-inc) vs. David B. Secor (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 63-28

Governor 2010: Whitman 61-31

President 2008: McCain 58-39

California’s 51st congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: Imperial County, San Diego (Chula Vista, Imperial Beach)

November ballot: Michael Crimmins (R) vs. Juan Vargas (D)

Senate 2010: Boxer 57-32

Governor 2010: Brown 58-31

President 2008: Obama 65-32

California’s 52nd congressional district: LEAN GOP

Geography: Coronado, Poway, San Diego

November ballot: Brian Bilbray (R-inc) vs. Scott Peters (D)

Senate 2010: Fiorina 50-42

Governor 2010: Whitman 50-43

President 2008: Obama 54-43

Description: This district is less Republican than the old CA-50, though Bilbray isn’t new to swingy districts having represented the old CA-49 in the 90s. Peters made it to the November ballot in spite of a nasty primary fight with the more liberal Saldana.

California’s 53rd congressional district: SAFE DEM

Geography: San Diego, Lemon Grove, El Cajon

November ballot: Susan Davis (D-inc) vs. Nick Popaditch (R)

Senate 2010: Boxer 51-40

Governor 2010: Brown 52-40

President 2008: Obama 60-36

Overall, here are my ratings for the congressional races.

Guaranteed DEM: 7

Safe DEM: 21

Likely DEM: 1

Lean DEM: 4

Toss-Up: 2

Lean GOP: 2

Likely GOP: 2

Safe GOP: 12

Guaranteed GOP: 2

If my ratings pan out, the best Democrats can do (holding all their Guaranteed, Safe, Likely, and Lean seats and winning both toss-ups) is 35-18 and the best Republicans can do is 33-20.

Districts I’m watching: CA-03, CA-07, CA-09, CA-15, CA-24, CA-26, CA-30, CA-35, CA-41, CA-43, CA-47, CA-52

Third Try Isn’t the Charm for David Harmer…But He Ain’t Quitting

David Harmer has run for Congress three times.  Twice here in California, and a third time over a decade ago in Utah.  He comes from a political heritage, as his father was appointed by Reagan to serve out a year as Lt. Governor.  But, despite the fact that he lost by 2,658 votes, that doesn’t mean that he’s going to give in quite yet. No sir-ree!

As we told you the other day, with all the votes counted — but not Secretary of State certified — Republican David Harmer is down 2,658 votes in his East Bay congressional race against incumbent Dem Jerry McNerney. But Dave told me Thurdsay he ain’t quitting…just yet.

When you lose a race by a 1 percent sliver, he said, you want to make sure you exhaust all your possibilities.

His race was so close, he was asked to participate in freshman orientation for new House members. He went. “I consider a lot of them (other freshman) friends now.”

Now, he needs a miracle to be sworn in with them.

“It just seems prudent to review the precinct-level data to make sure there are no anomalies there,” Harmer told me. He doesn’t expect the anomaly-hunting to last more than a couple of days. His staff is sifting through the data, which it couldn’t obtain until the vote count was certified by counties until earlier this week.(SF Gate)

You can certainly understand his reluctance, but coming from a political background, this is less than classy.  The nearly 2700 votes are not going to fall from the sky for Harmer.  After all, Steve Cooley conceded with a lower (percentage wise) margin.  It is hard to imagine Harmer getting another crack at this apple, after losing three times.  However, he certainly is persistent, and he might want another shot come the new districts in 2012.  Just don’t expect his track record to change.

Harmer Sues Over Vote Counting in CA-11

(Good post on Harmer’s BS claims – he’s trying to suppress the vote to steal an election he lost. – promoted by Robert Cruickshank)

In what I believe is the closest Congressional race in the country, Jerry McNerney held a 121 vote lead as of Wednesday morning.  Absentees counted in Alameda and Santa Clara counties have increased his margin to 568 as of this morning, but those counties were his strongest ones.  Now Harmer wants to challenge the signatures (and stop the counting of) of mail in ballots when the voter is not there to respond.  

Now Harmer has filed a lawsuit against the Contra Costa County election officials claiming the right to challenge the signatures on absentee ballots, even as those voters are not present to respond.  


Congressional District 11 GOP nominee David Harmer will seek a court order in Superior Court in Martinez this afternoon to stop the vote-by-mail signature verification process in Contra Costa County.

Harmer, who ran against incumbent Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney on Tuesday, says his team should be allowed to challenge the signatures on vote-by-mail ballots.

Contra Costa Election Clerk Steve Weir disagrees. He says the county’s written procedures and guidelines clearly state that observers may challenge the process of counting ballots but not individual signatures.

Challenges to a specific voter’s right to cast a ballot must be made through a pollworker at the polls or through a challenge of a voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot, Weir said.  This allows the voter to respond to a challenge of his or her right to cast a ballot.

“While Harmer has claimed irregularities, not one instance has been presented to us,” Weir said.

Harmer ran best with the early voting, but as election day votes were counted, McNerney slowly caught up.  Many (apparently including Harmer’s campaign) believe that late absentees will favor McNerney.  

In Contra Costa County, the ballots at issue are those that were mailed but not received by last Friday, those delivered to the polls on Tuesday, and provisional ballots.  I understand that there are well over 10,000 ballots.

I have heard nothing from San Jaoquin County where over have of the voters are, but I am suspicious that the far-right is out in force to stop a full and fair count.  Florida 2000 anyone?

There is a hearing today on a TRO.  

CA-Primaries: Races to Watch

With the California primaries only days away, I decided to make a list of races worth watching this coming Super Tuesday. Cross-posted at Swing State Project and Democracy for California.

U.S. Senate (R) – Fiorina seems to have consolidated the “outsider” vote, seeing as she is the only one of the three that has not held elected office and it seems that being an outsider will get one far in the Republican primary (though not so much in a California general election).

Governor (R) – Exactly as I predicted, this race has unfolded to be 2006 in reverse. Whoever wins the GOP primary here will be so radioactive that many Republican voters likely will cross over to vote for Jerry Brown, like many Democratic voters did for Arnold last time. If Jerry Brown pulls similar numbers among Republicans that Arnold did among Democrats, then Brown is likely gonna win big. And I’m unsure about how indies will go, so I just went with an estimate similar to the 2006 numbers.

DEM 42%-GOP 33%-OTHER 25%

Brown: 93%/22%/60% = 61%

GOP nominee: 7%/78%/40% = 39%

Lt. Governor (D) – This race will be very interesting: a classic NorCal/SoCal matchup, between Gavin Newsom and Janice Hahn.

Lt. Governor (R) – Newly-appointed incumbent Abel Maldonado will face a tough primary with more conservative State Senator Sam Aanestad. Given that moderates have fared pretty poorly in California elections of late, I give Aanestad the edge.

Sec. of State (R) – Any race with the Birther Queen just has to be a race to watch, more so for the comedy value, though I think most Republicans don’t buy her BS, so I see Dunn getting the nomination. No matter who wins, Debra Bowen is likely a cinch for a second term.

Attorney General (D) – Very crowded primary here, with 3 term-limited Assemblymen, Torrico, Nava, and Lieu; S.F. District Attorney Kamala Harris; Facebook attorney Chris Kelly; and disgraced ex-L.A. city attorney Delgadillo, though the race seems to have narrowed to just Harris and Kelly. From what I have heard of Kelly, I am rooting for Harris.

Controller (R) – Not much drama here, but I am hoping for Tony Strickland to win so he can lose to John Chiang even worse than in 2006. Unfortunately, he is not up for reelection to the State Senate until 2012, so if he wins the nomination but loses the general, he will still be in the senate (hopefully until 2012).

Insurance Commissioner (D) – Here we have two strong candidates in term-limited assemblymen Hector De La Torre and Dave Jones. I have no preference in this race, but since Jones has more money and establishment backing, I think he’ll win the nod.

CA-11 (R) – Will David Harmer, who lost by only 10% in the more Democratic CA-10 in the special election (albeit with lower turnout) be able to make it past the primary against Tony Amador and be more competitive in the general?

CA-19 (D) – I am pulling for Loraine Goodwin here. Any campaign based on health care reform is a big winner in Democratic primaries and in general elections in most parts of the state. Not sure what the HCR numbers are in this neck of the woods.

CA-19 (R) – I think I will root for Denham here, as he has won in more Democratic turf, so he is relatively saner. (And Denham is term-limited, so CA-19 run or no CA-19 run, we have a great shot at winning SD-12.) Pombo shouldn’t really be of much concern, as he has placed a distant third in the recent primary poll.

CA-26 (R) – My hometown district, where Dreier faces a primary challenge from businessman Mark Butler. While I consider Dreier to be the heavy favorite, this primary challenge could further drain his campaign coffers. If he wins the primary, Dreier has the advantage of incumbency and a year more favorable to his party (though anti-Obama sentiment is much weaker in California than elsewhere). A disadvantage Dreier has is depleted campaign coffers, from spending like crazy to win only 52% against Warner in 2008 and possibly from this primary challenge.

CA-33 (D) – Former Assembly speaker Karen Bass is likely the heavy favorite, and I hope she wins.

CA-36 (D) – Harman/Winograd redux, only with more fireworks this time around.

CA-42 (R) – Even though Gary Miller’s voting record is unabashedly conservative, he is still getting teabagged by three other Republicans. Count on yet another incumbent scoring a subpar primary performance.

CA-45 (R) – Mary Bono Mack has drawn teabag primary opposition from Clayton Thibodeau for her vote for cap-and-trade. She also voted against repealing DADT in spite of her district having the highest concentration of gays of any Republican-held district, possibly out of fear of getting teabagged. If Thibodeau upsets Bono Mack, this Obama-voting R+3 district could be put into play.

CA-47 (R) – Will Tan and Van split the Vietnamese vote, allowing Kathy Smith to sneak through?

CA-50 (D) – I like Busby, but I think her time has passed, if she couldn’t beat Bilbray in the far more Democratic-favored 2006. Attorney Tracy Emblem seems to have most of the grassroots support.

AD-05 (R) – In this open, evenly-divided suburban Sacramento seat, the Tea Party has gotten into another Republican primary, backing Craig DeLuz against party-backed Prop 8 backer Andy Pugno. I am rooting for DeLuz to win the primary so in one election we defeat a Prop H8er and increase our chances of winning this district too.

AD-30 (D) – The Parra/Florez feud continues, with Nicole’s dad Pete Parra facing off against Dean’s mom Fran Florez, who lost to Danny Gilmore, who didn’t like being an Assemblyman and that’s why he’s not running, which I at first found surprising.

AD-36 (D) – Linda Jones, who ran here in 2008, faces primary opposition from real estate broker Maggie Campbell and police officer Shawntrice Watkins. This time I am rooting for Watkins, because this Antelope Valley-centric district is very law-and-order, being the home of the Runners (Sharon and George, of “Jessica’s Law” fame), and incumbent Steve Knight also having been a police officer before being elected to the Assembly. Watkins could cut into Knight’s law-and-order advantage. Plus Watkins’ endorsement from Equality California can’t hurt either.

AD-68 (D) and (R) – I am really looking forward to an all-Vietnamese matchup here. Will be interesting to gauge the Vietnamese vote if it’s Phu Nguyen (D) vs. Long Pham (R).

And what is a California election without some ballot measures? Five are on the ballot this time.

Prop 13: Tax break to property owners for making seismic retrofits. I like seeing tax breaks used as incentives for good causes. Vote YES!

Prop 14: Top two votegetters in the primary would go on to the general election, limiting voter choices. Vote NO!

Prop 15: Repeals ban on public financing and raises fees on lobbyists to fund a public financing system for SecState election beginning in 2014. Vote YES!

Prop 16: PG&E power grab that requires a 2/3 vote to create public power districts or allow local governments to purchase their own renewable power. Vote NO!

Prop 17: Weakens consumer protections and allow car insurance companies to charge much more for late payments. Vote NO!

Redistricting California 2010, v2.0: Let Only 6 Republicans Be Safe

Taking into account some suggestions and comments, I made some changes to my previous attempt at redistricting California. I conceded an additional 2 seats to the GOP, which concomitantly makes a number of other seats more strongly Democratic. The additional 2 safe GOP seats are CA-4 and CA-48. Here’s what version 2 looks like, overall:

Statewide Map, Version 2

For comparison, here is Version 1:

Statewide Map, Version 1

Because redistricting diaries often seem to devolve into discussions of the morality of gerrymandering, I will state my thoughts up front in order to try and prevent discussion from thus devolving.

1) In an ideal world, my ideal scenario would be that all Congressional districts in all States would be redistricted by non-partisan commission, so that all districts were fair and no political party was disadvantaged on the national level.

2) We don’t live in an ideal world. If Democrats roll over and play dead during redistricting after the 2010 census, that will do nothing to stop Republicans from gerrymandering every last seat out of states they control, like Georgia, Texas, and Florida. That will result in a national Congressional map unfairly favorable towards Republicans.

3) So Democrats should draw politically favorable maps in states we control. Congressional Redistricting is a blood sport, and unilateral disarmament is not a viable solution. Taking the high road is the Michael Dukakis way, and it is the wrong way.

4) If Democrats draw strong enough maps in states like California that really hurt the GOP, then maybe the GOP will eventually cry uncle.

5) After that, maybe the GOP would agree to adopt a fair national solution in which all states, whether GOP controlled or Dem controlled, drew fair and competitive maps via commission or some other neutral mechanism. That might not happen, but electoral reform of that sort is certainly more likely if we fight back than if we let the GOP roll us.

Now, on to the substance:

Political Impact

The bottom line is that under this map or something similar, California’s Congressional delegation would have many more Democrats and many fewer Republicans. Overall there are now 42 seats classified as Safely Democratic, 4 Lean Democratic. Under this map California would likely send delegation with 46-49 Democrats and 6-9 Republicans to Congress. Currently, California’s Congressional delegation is 33D – 19R, so that is a substantial improvement.

If a handful of GOP incumbents are able to hold on in districts that voted in the mid-50s for Obama, it is possible the number of Democrats could be a bit lower than 46. But even in a very large GOP wave election, the number of Democratic seats would be unlikely to fall much below 42-46, because the vast majority of seats are at least D+10 or very close to it, which is more than high enough to withstand a 1994 or 2006 sized wave election.

Version 1 Change Version 2
Dem 39 +3 42
Lean Dem 5 -1 4
Swing 5 -2 3
GOP 4 +2 6

Below, I analyze the districts that change from my previous version.

Northern California

In Northern California, CA-4 is conceded to the GOP. In exchange CA-3 becomes more strongly Democratic and CA-10 much less gerrymandered. Indirectly, this also filters all the way down to San Bernadino County to help make CA-29 and CA-45 a bit more Democratic.

Northern California, Version 2 map

Districts Altered:


CA-2

Incumbent: ?Wally Herger? (R), ?Tom McClintock? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+11
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 39% Obama, R+14
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 40% Obama, R+13.
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 72% White
District 1.0 Demographics: 78% White
District 2.0 Demographics: 77% White

CA-2 shifts a bit northwards from version 1, getting rid of El Dorado and Amador Counties to move into Nevada County and take in more of the Sacramento suburbs in Placer County. This might make the district about 1 point more Democratic.


CA-3

Incumbent: Dan Lungren (R)
Previous District PVI: R+6
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 57% Obama, D+4
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 61% Obama, D+8
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 65% White
District 1.0 Demographics: 56% White
District version 2.0 Demographics: 45% White

CA-3 is reworked thoroughly from the previous version. In my previous version, GOP incumbent Dan Lungren was in trouble. In this new version, he is pretty much doomed if he runs in this district. Only 250,000 people in this district remain in Sacramento County, mostly in competitive northern suburbs, with a mix of Obama and McCain precincts. On top of those people, all of Solano County (except for a thin sparsely populated strip of CA-10) and West Sacramento are tacked on, turning a lean Democratic district into a solidly Democratic district.


CA-4

Incumbent: ?Dan Lungren? (R), ?George Radanovich? (R), ?Tom McLintock? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+10
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 53% Obama, D+0
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 41% Obama, R+12
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 79% White
District 1.0 Demographics: 57% White
District 2.0 Demographics: 78% White

The flip side of making CA-3 more Democratic is making CA-4 more Republican. The new CA-4 is a suburban swing district no more. It is now a solidly GOP district, combining suburban parts of Placer County with the Sierra Nevadas (minus Lake Tahoe) and strongly GOP north Fresno. 1/10 of the district is also made up of some particularly strong GOP precincts in Sacramento County, most of which are already in the current CA-4. GOP incumbents Dan Lungren, George Radanovich, and Tom McClintock would all have a reason to run here, making for a potential 3-way GOP primary, as substantial amounts of territory each has previously represented is included in this district.


CA-7

Incumbent: George Miller (D)
Previous District PVI: D+19
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 65% Obama, D+12
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 39% White, 27% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 50% White, 31% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 50% White, 28% Latino

CA-7 gives up Antioch in order to pick up Berkeley. In order to keep Richmond contiguous with Oakland while also enabling CA-7 to add Berkeley, there is a thin coastal strip of CA-9 running through Berkeley as well. George Miller should have no difficulties in Berkeley, and when Miller retires, another strong Democrat should do fine in this district as well. Disproportionately few votes in this district are actually cast in San Joaquin county due to the high Latino population there. So the potential problem of someone from Berkeley winning a Democratic primary but then losing a general election (which applied to my previous version of CA-10) ought to be reduced in this modified version of CA-7.




CA-10

Incumbent: John Garamendi (D)
Previous District PVI: D+11
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 64% Obama, D+11
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 56% White
New District Demographics: 46% White

CA-10 is not the monster that the previous district was. The entire Sierra Nevadas section of the district is gone in version 2, and that population is instead picked up in Sacramento County (which now makes up about 4/7 of the district). The Sacramento section looks on its face like it would be Republican because there are large swaths of rural areas in the south-east of the county. But actually most of the population is in relatively Democratic suburban areas (like Elk Grove), and CA-10’s section of Sacramento County voted similarly to the county as a whole. Berkeley is also traded to CA-7 in exchange for Antioch. That makes CA-10 a little less Democratic than it would be, but only by a few points because Antioch is pretty strongly Democratic as well (65% for Obama). This also has negates the chance that someone from Berkeley with limited appeal in the Sacramento suburbs will be a future Democratic nominee in CA-10.

Southern California

An additional district in Southern California is conceded to the GOP (CA-48), in exchange for strengthening a couple of relatively weak Swing/Lean Democratic districts, and reducing gerrymandering in Orange County.

Southern California, Version 2 map

South-East LA & Orange County, Version 2 map

Districts Altered




CA-22

Incumbent: ?Kevin McCarthy? (R), ?Devin Nunes? (R), ?George Radanovich? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+16
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 32% Obama, R+21
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 32% Obama, R+21
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 57% White, 49% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 62% White, 24% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 62% White, 26% Latino

Because CA-4 does not pick up the lake Tahoe area from CA-10, it has to make up population by pushing down on CA-22 into Fresno. This means that CA-22 also has some more population (114,000) to make up. It does so by crossing into San Bernadino County and relieving Adam Schiff of the most heavily Republican precincts around Barstow and Hesperia. So while the political makeup of CA-22 does not really change, it helps make CA-29 more Democratic, and indirectly helps to make CA-41 and CA-45 more Democratic.


CA-29

Incumbent: Adam Schiff (D)
Previous District PVI: D+14
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 61% Obama, D+8
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 42% White, 26% Asian, 26% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 46% White, 7% Asian, 33% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 45% White, 8% Asian, 34% Latino

As mentioned above, CA-29 sheds some heavily GOP areas to the 22nd district. To equalize the population, CA-29 adds Upland, which has some Democratic precincts to go with its Republican ones, and GOP Yucca Valley and Twenty Nine Palms. Though these areas are still generally GOP, they are a bit less Republican than the areas he loses. I also noticed that there were two prisons with combined populations of about 25,000 people in the middle of the desert/hills of rural San Bernadino county. I was sure to add those to CA-29, serving to increases the relative proportion of the vote cast in the heavily Democratic LA County part of the 29th. So Adam Schiff’s district becomes a bit more Democratic by picking up some relatively less GOP precincts and by adding some prisoners. I thought about putting Lake Tahoe in the 29th district, but didn’t in the end.




CA-40

Incumbent: ?Ed Royce? (R), ?John Campbell? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+8
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 52% Obama, R+1
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 57% Obama, D+4
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 42% White, 18% Asian, 34% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 43% White, 15% Asian, 35% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 46% White, 16% Asian, 32% Latino

CA-40 is now entirely within Orange County, and, like the rest of the districts in Orange County (except CA-47) is remodeled from version 1.0. This is probably just about the most Democratic district that can be made in Orange County without taking substantively from CA-47. It combines progressive and Democratic leaning Laguna beach with Costa Mesa, Irvine, and some Obama voting areas (with lots of apartments, which presumably explains their Democratic trend) around Laguna Woods/Aliso Viejo. This part of the district is 57% white, and makes up half of the district. The rest of the district (35% white) pecks around the fringes of CA-47, picking up Democratic leaning precincts in parts of Tustin, Anaheim, Fullerton, and Placentia. Effective mobilization of young and minority voters would be key to any potential pickup of this district for Democrats. Another note is that if the Asian American voters I picked up turn out to be disproportionately Vietnamese, that would also make this district marginally more Republican.




CA-41

Incumbent: Jerry Lewis (R)
Previous District PVI: R+10
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 53% Obama, D+0
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 58% Obama, D+5
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 55% White, 6% Black, 33% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 40% White, 11% Black, 39% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 33% White, 11% Black, 45% Latino

CA-41 becomes substantially more Republican and less white than the previous version. It gives up its more rural areas of San Bernadino County (and its prisons) and is pulled westward towards Los Angeles. As the white population declines and the Latino population increases, both Black and Latino voters become a substantially greater proportion of the electorate. Only 50,000 people in the district now live in non-urbanized areas now (in the mountains just to the East of San Bernadino). I would guess this district voted about 58% for Obama, though it is possible that it is even more Democratic than that. The city of San Bernadino, for example, voted 66% for Obama.




CA-43

Incumbent: Joe Baca (Blue Dog D)
Previous District PVI: D+13
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 17% White, 65% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 23% White, 62% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 22% White, 63% Latino

From version 1, CA-43 shifts further to the West, adding Chino and Montclair. The Latino majority actually slightly increases in the process. Joe Baca would have no trouble running here, and he would probably have little difficulty in CA-41 either if he preferred to run there.




CA-44

Incumbent: ?Ken Calvert?, ?Mary Bono? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+6
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 41% Obama, R+12
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 41% Obama, R+12
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 44% White, 42% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 60% White, 25% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 62% White, 26% Latino

Version 2 of CA-44 is no different politically than version 1.0 (though possibly it is more like R+11 now). But geographically, it shifts further into Riverside County, adding much of Mary Bono’s GOP base areas, and even picks up a small section of San Bernadino County. This district would likely result in an interesting primary between Mary Bono (who is probably seen as too moderate to go unchallenged in a GOP primary) and Ken Calvert (who is reportedly being investigated by the FBI). Perhaps (I am only half kidding here) Doug Hoffman would run here as well, providing a true Conservative alternative…




CA-45

Incumbent: Mary Bono (R)
Previous District PVI: R+3
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 55% Obama, D+2
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 61% Obama, D+8
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 42% White, 45% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 35% White, 51% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 34% White, 52% Latino

CA-45 becomes more Democratic than in version 1 by exchanging white GOP areas for Lake Tahoe. I would have liked to expand the Latino majority in this district, but was not really possible without reducing the Hispanic percentage in other Latino majority districts like CA-42 and CA-51. It was also tough to find somewhere suitable to put Lake Tahoe – I didn’t want to waste a lot of Democratic votes, but there were not many non-majority minority and non-Republican districts in Southern California that could easily extend northwards through Inyo and Mono Counties. The Inyo/Mono/Alpine/Lake Tahoe portion of the district voted 64% for Obama, while the rest (which is 57% Latino) voted about 60% for Obama. Mary Bono would be more likely to try her luck in a GOP primary in CA-44 than to fight a losing battle here.




CA-37

Incumbent: Laura Richardson (D)
Previous District PVI: D+26
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 64% Obama, D+11
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 67% Obama, D+14
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 13% White, 22% Black, 13% Asian, 48% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 31% White, 18% Black, 11% Asian, 36% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 31% White, 19% Black, 11% Asian, 38% Latino

For version 2 of CA-37, I managed to knock the black population up a notch to 19%, by running through a different section of Long Beach. 37% of the district (Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach) is in Orange County and voted for McCain 54-46. But that Orange County section is overwhelmed by the LA County portion, which includes Compton (96% for Obama), areas of LA nearby, and part of Long Beach. The overall Obama percentage goes up to 67%, partly because it actually gets more Democratic, but also because I think I originally slightly underestimated how Democratic this district was. The vote around Compton is really overwhelming – though it might be less so with Obama not on the ballot, this seat still should be very safe.




CA-46

Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher (R)
Previous District PVI: R+3
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 60% Obama, D+7
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 61% Obama, D+8
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 59% White, 18% Asian, 18% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 50% White, 10% Asian, 29% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 37% White, 22% Asian, 30% Latino

Only 30% of CA-46 is in Orange County now, but it does get substantially more Democratic (relative to version 1) because the areas of Orange County that are retained (chiefly the area around Westminster) are relatively Republican, while some of the areas of Orange County in version 1.0 (particularly Costa Mesa and Laguna Woods) voted for Obama. Those Democratic Orange County areas are donated to CA-40. Some of the areas in LA County that are added to CA-46 are only relatively weakly Democratic as well, and there are even a few McCain precincts in the LA county part of the district. It would be easy to make this district more Democratic by switching around some precincts with the neighboring 37th and 39th districts, but I didn’t do so in order to keep the minority populations well up in those VRA districts. This district makes much more sense geographically than the elongated snake in version 1.




CA-48

Incumbent: ?John Campbell? (R) ?Ed Royce? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+6
District 1.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 52% Obama, R+1
District 2.0 estimated Obama/McCain: 42% Obama, R+11
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 61% White, 17% Asian, 18% Latino
District 1.0 Demographics: 44% White, 19% Asian, 29% Latino
District 2.0 Demographics: 71% White, 11% Asian, 13% Latino

In Version 2.0, CA-48 is conceded to the GOP, becoming a thoroughly Republican district entirely contained within Orange County. It is just about the most heavily GOP district that could be created entirely within Orange County. In the northwest, the district starts in GOP north Fullerton. It takes in all of heavily GOP, high turnout Yorba Linda. More of the same as it heads through heavily GOP areas of Tustin and  Anaheim. It heads east to pick up more GOP areas surrounding the 40th district, including Mission Viejo, Santa Margarita, and Laguna Niguel. It then turns back to the North-West, through a thin coastal strip of Laguna Beach (hopefully not picking up too many Democrats), and ends by adding Newport Beach. By taking in so many GOP voters, it is possible to make the remaining Orange County districts both more Democratic and more compact. It also allows the 44th District to move into Riverside and San Bernadino counties, making other seats in the inland empire more Democratic.

I also made some minor alterations in the distribution of the Latino districts in LA in order to make the Latino percentages high in each, but that doesn’t alter their political status (safely Democratic).

Redistricting California 2010: Let Only 4 Republicans Be Safe

I decided to try my hand at redistricting California’s Congressional districts for 2010-2012, using Dave’s Redistricting App. After playing around with it a bit, here’s what the map I came up with looks like overall:

Here’s the 2008 Obama/McCain vote in California, on the precinct level:

Read on for a detailed analysis and breakdown:

California redistricting after the 2010 census presents a great opportunity for Democrats. In 2000, a bipartisan incumbent protection map was drawn, which very effectively protected all incumbents – both Democrats and Republicans. In fact, since that map was drawn, only 1 seat has changed hands. That was CA-11, lost by Richard Pombo to Jerry McNerney in 2006. With time, as California has continued to become more strongly Democratic, the Congressional map has effectively turned into a GOP gerrymander.

My goal was to make as many seats as possible that voted about 63% for Obama, while making as many of the rest of the remaining seats as possible at least competitive and winnable for Democrats, and conceding as few seats as possible to the GOP. My vote estimates are not exact (I did not add up all the precincts), but should generally be accurate, and any errors should be small enough to not really effect the overall partisan status of each district. My vote percentages take into account only Democratic and Republican votes, disregarding 3rd party votes which do not alter the outcome – so 63% for Obama necessarily means 37% for McCain as well. However, if CA 3rd party voters cast votes for major party candidates in Congressional races, on net it should probably help Democrats – a majority of 3rd Party votes in California were cast for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney. I also assumed that California will keep 53 districts, though it is possible that California will lose one (or who knows, even gain, if the census count is high).

In theory, it would be possible to redistrict California so that every Congressional district voted for Obama. But that would require either a bit more gerrymandering than I was willing to contemplate (like running a district from downtown San Francisco to Shasta County), or would require weakening some Democratic seats to the point that they might actually become winnable for Republicans. So instead I settled on trying to create the maximum number of seats with a PVI at or near about D+10. If a Democratic incumbent in a seat which is about D+10 loses their seat to a Republican, they probably deserve to lose it – corruption, scandal, $100,000 in the freezer, and we are probably better off without them. But even if the GOP did manage to momentarily pick up a D+10 district, Democrats would have an excellent chance of picking it back up in the next cycle. Other than scandal, it would take a truly formidable national GOP wave, greater than that of 1994 or 2006, to lose more than a handful of D+10 seats. And in that case, the GOP would control Congress regardless of what happens in California.

I also made a statewide precinct map showing the Obama/McCain vote in 2008 on the precinct level. It is not entirely complete, because no votes were cast in some irredeemably rural “precincts” and some precincts have changed. But for the most part it should get the job done in the areas where we have to worry about looking below the county level. I could have never done Southern California in particular without this. There are 8 shades of blue and red, equally incremented by 6.25 points each, so that for example, the lightest blue means that Obama won the precinct with 50-56.25% of the vote, while the darkest blue precincts voted 93.75-100% for Obama. There’s also a bigger version of the same map if you want to a more zoomed in view (big image, you were warned).

In addition, here’s the 2008 Obama/McCain vote with the size of each precinct adjusted in proportion to the actual number of votes cast in the precinct, rather than its geographical size. With the caveat that this slightly understates Republican strength because the few counties missing in the previous map voted for McCain, this is in one sense a more true depiction of the the Presidential vote in California. It also really brings home what a great proportion of the vote was cast in the LA and Bay areas. There are really not that many substantial clusters of red precincts that cannot be overwhelmed with surrounding blue areas. While in the geographic precinct map, it looks like McCain won some substantial areas, the reality is that he won in very few places – McCain only won in the most sparsely populated areas of the state and in select CA suburbs and exurbs. (Click here for a zoomed in version of the same map).

I’d also recommend anyone interested in California redistricting read Silver Spring’s earlier work on redistricting California, (which gave me some of the ideas that went into this map), which drew a map with 44 Democratic, 7 GOP, and 2 swing seats while increasing Latino and Asian American opportunity districts and generally respecting community/political boundaries. But I wanted to see if I could push the map further, conceding fewer GOP seats and further increasing Hispanic and Asian American representation, without endangering any existing Democratic incumbents.

The future political shape of California

California voted 61% for Obama to 37% for McCain. Disregarding 3rd party votes, Obama got 62% to McCain’s 38%. Obama also managed to narrowly win 8 of 19 GOP held districts which had been gerrymandered to be safe GOP, proving by example that there are potential progressive gains to be made in California.

Because California is unlikely to become much more Republican over the next 10 years, the likelihood that an aggressive redistricting plan will backfire, like the 2000 GOP gerrymander of Pennsylvania, is minimal. The chief reason for this is that California is a Majority Minority state in which the white population will to continue to decline as a share of the population. Yet white voters made up 63% of the electorate in California in 2008 even though they only make up 42% of the population. Simply put, as time passes, the electorate in California will continue to become less white, and more racially representative of the population as a whole. So there are really only two ways that the GOP can gain any ground (or avoid losing it) in California – they must either suddenly start getting support from minority voters, or they must start receiving levels of white support that they only now really get in parts of the South and a few other places. Given the GOP trend on issues like the confirmation of Sonia Sotamayor, it seems unlikely that the GOP can possibly pick up any meaningful sort of ground among minoritiesby 2020, assuming that the GOP does not suddenly transform into a very different party.

According to exit polls, the 2008 vote in California broke down by race as follows. White and black voters exceeded their share of the population, while the percentage of the electorate that was Asian American or Hispanic was only half the percentage of the population that was Asian American or Hispanic.



















































Actual 2008 Vote
% of Electorate Obama McCain Effective Obama Support
White 63.0% 52.0% 46.0% 53.1%
African American 10.0% 94.0% 5.0% 94.9%
Latino 18.0% 74.0% 23.0% 76.3%
Asian 6.0% 64.0% 35.0% 64.6%
Other 3.0% 55.0% 41.0% 57.3%
Total 62.3%

Now, what would the 2008 vote in California have looked like if the electorate had the same racial breakdown as the population as a whole? Assuming that each racial group gave the same % to Obama, he would have done 3 points better (7 on net). And that even includes cutting the African American percentage of the electorate by nearly HALF. This is what the future of the California electorate looks like, and it looks hopeless for Republicans.




















































What if the 2008 Electorate looked like the population?
% of Population Obama McCain Effective Obama Support
White 42.0% 52.0% 46.0% 53.1%
African American 5.9% 94.0% 5.0% 94.9%
Latino 36.6% 74.0% 23.0% 76.3%
Asian 12.2% 64.0% 35.0% 64.6%
Other 3.3% 55.0% 41.0% 57.3%
Total 65.6%

So what if the GOP were able to get a massive swing of white voters? With the 2008 electorate, McCain would have had to win white voters 2 to 1 to have pulled even in California (much less win it). In fact, he lost white voters 52-46. With the future electorate, things are naturally even bleaker for the GOP. In fact, with an electorate that looked like California’s population (the future electorate that CA is trending towards), Obama could have lost white voters 53-45 and still done better than he actually did in 2008.




















































What if the 2008 Electorate looked like the population?
% of Population Obama McCain Effective Obama Support
White 42.0% 45.0% 53.0% 45.9%
African American 5.9% 94.0% 5.0% 94.9%
Latino 36.6% 74.0% 23.0% 76.3%
Asian 12.2% 64.0% 35.0% 64.6%
Other 3.3% 55.0% 41.0% 57.3%
Total 62.6%

It would obviously take much more for Republicans to even come close to winning Statewide elections. In fact, for McCain to have won California without making gains with minorities and with the 2008 electorate, he would have needed to win white voters 66-32. If the electorate had broken down by race the same way as the population, he would have had to win white voters 83-15. And that only just barely gets a narrow GOP win.

Coming close to winning statewide elections is precisely what it would take for the GOP to start putting more than a handful of the D+10 seats in any danger at all. There’s just flat out no way that they can do that in California without appealing to a meaningful number of progressive voters in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles. And frankly, if the GOP starts appealing in places like Los Angeles and the Bay Area, then they will have rejected most of what they currently stand for and progressive Democrats will have already won (or failed spectacularly to the point of creating a GOP wave far exceeding 1994 or 2006). It would be foolishly Rovian to claim that is impossible, but it is a very high bar to hurdle, especially because the national GOP is so deeply averse to even the facade of quasi-moderation of exhibited by Republicans like Schwarzenegger, Crist, and Snowe.

Political Impact

The political impact of this map would be to increase the number of Democrats in Congress from California. Barring major scandal, California should have an approximately 40-13 Democratic delegation (including all 33 current Democratic incumbents). That’s likely to be at least 44-9. And in a best case scenario, in which all the swing seats turn blue, California even has a chance to send an overwhelming 49-4 Democratic delegation to Washington. Moreover, most of the new Democrats elected would likely be reasonably progressive Democrats.

The drawing of a Congressional map along these lines would also have the effect of neutering the net national partisan impact of Republican gerrymanders in states like Florida and Texas. While my personal preference would be to have all districts drawn by a non-partisan commission, it is no good if only Democrats do that in states where Democrats will control redistricting, while the GOP goes on a gerrymandering binge in states expected to gain seats like Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Utah. But with an aggressive redrawing of the lines California, Democrats can in one fell swoop come close to making sure that redistricting will not be a net negative on the national level. By carefully drawing the seats so that newly Democratic districts have strong progressive bases in areas like Los Angeles and the Bay Area, we can also increase the likelihood that better Democrats will be elected from those districts.



















District Political Status
Dem 39
Lean Dem 5
Swing 5
GOP 4

Safe Democratic seats

I classify 39 seats as reasonably safe Democratic seats. All of these districts voted 60%+ for Obama (D+7), and 28 of them voted 63%+ for Obama (D+10).

Lean Democratic seats

There are 5 Lean Democratic seats (3, 20, 42, 45, 50). The 20th is already in Democratic hands (and could probably be made safer pretty easily), and there would be a very good chance of picking up the other 4 seats in 2012, especially if Obama again does well in California. These seats all voted 55-58% for Obama and are likely to become more Democratic – 3 of them are new majority Latino seats, and the others have substantial minority populations whose turnout should gradually rise).

Swing Seats

These are seats that voted from 51% to 53% for Obama (4, 40, 41, 44, 48, 49). 40, 41, and 48 all have white populations that make up less than 50% of the district’s population, and should continue to become more Democratic as minority turnout increases. There is no guarantee that Democrats will necessarily be able to pick up all (or any) of these seats, but strong candidates ought to be able to run competitive races and win in these districts.

GOP Seats

Finally, there are 4 safe GOP seats. These all voted about 32-41% for Obama and are designed to be completely unwinnable for Democrats. These districts all serve to suck in the maximum number of Republicans possible, making surrounding districts more Democratic.

In retrospect, if I were to redraw the map, I might consider conceding one more safe GOP seat in the Orange County/Riverside/San Bernadino area. If the most heavily GOP areas remaining were combined into one more district, it would be pretty easy to make a number of swing/lean Dem seats a bit more Democratic.

The Voting Rights Act

I endeavored to follow the requirements of the Voting Rights Act in full, and tried to even go a bit beyond its strict requirements. From the districts drawn in 2000, I managed to substantially increase minority voting strength for both Latinos and Asian Americans, while maintaining effective black control or at least substantial influence over 4 districts. :











































































VRA Status of New Districts
District Type # of Districts % of Districts % of Population
Majority White 19 35.8% 42.3%
Plurality White 11 20.8% 42.3%
Total White 30 56.6% 42.3%
Majority Latino 15 28.3% 36.6%
Plurality Latino 1 1.9% 36.6%
Total Latino 16 30.2% 36.6%
Plurality Asian 3 5.7% 12.5%
Effective Black 4 7.5% 6.7%

Increase Latino voting strength

5 new Majority Latino seats are added. They are the the 18th, 21st, 25th, 42nd, and 45th. CA-32 also changes to an Asian plurality district, which is offset by the change of CA-26 to a Latino majority district. Factors such as how complete the census count of Latinos is and how concentrated Latino population growth actually is will have a big effect on the actual location and shapes of these districts, but in reality it ought to be possible to add a number of new Latino majority districts.

Increase Asian American voting strength

The 12th, 15th, and 32nd districts become Asian American plurality districts. Although Asians are not a homogeneous group politically or ethnically, and although Californians have sometimes elected Asian Americans in districts without a particularly large Asian community (like Doris Matsui in Sacramento), Asian voters will now have more of a guarantee that they can elect candidates of their choice.

Maintain African American voting strength

I tried to maintain African American voting strength as much as I could, but trends are working against the maintanance of the existing 4 districts which are effectively controlled by African American voters (CA-9, CA-33, CA-35, CA-37). Particularly in the 3 LA districts, Latino population growth is gradually overwhelming the African American population, particularly in CA-35. Additionally, population growth has not kept up with the state average in these districts, meaning that they will need to expand – and there are really no more concentrations of black voters nearby that can be added to the 3 districts. On the basis of population, one could probably justify merging the African American areas of the 3 existing districts into two districts with higher African American populations, but I did not do this in order to try and protect all incumbents. If a merger of these districts does not happen in 2010, the voters may well make it happen anyway, making a merger in 2020 a near certainty. But despite these difficulties, I managed to actually slightly increase the black population % in CA-9 and CA-33. In CA-35 and 37, the African American percentage drops, but the main threat to effective black control of these districts (Latino voters) are decreased as a share of the population. By making these districts more white and more Republican, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson are probably actually safer, because the main threat to their incumbancy is a primary challenge from a Latino Democrat. While one could arge that this disenfranchises Latinos, there is really no other way to maintain black VRA districts that I can see, and the Latinos removed from CA-35 and CA-37 help make it possible to create other Latino majority districts in the LA area.

Breakdown of the Districts

Finally, let’s look at the new districts themselves, in aggregate and individually. Because I de-packed many overly Democratic districts, the average and median district becomes more Republican, while a greater number of districts become Democratic.




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































District Summary
District New Dist Est. Obama% Old Dist Obama % Change in Obama % Designation VRA Status Region
1 63 67 -4 Dem Majority White Northern California
2 39 44 -5 GOP Majority White Northern California
3 57 50 7 Lean Dem Majority White Northern California
4 53 45 8 Swing Majority White Northern California
5 62 71 -9 Dem Plurality White Northern California
6 72 78 -6 Dem Majority White Northern California
7 63 73 -10 Dem Majority White Bay Area
8 81 87 -6 Dem Majority White Bay Area
9 83 90 -7 Dem Effective Black Bay Area
10 63 66 -3 Dem Majority White Bay Area
11 61 55 6 Dem Plurality White Bay Area
12 79 76 3 Dem Plurality Asian Bay Area
13 64 76 -12 Dem Plurality White Bay Area
14 73 75 -2 Dem Majority White Bay Area
15 69 70 -1 Dem Plurality Asian Bay Area
16 66 71 -5 Dem Plurality Latino Bay Area
17 65 74 -9 Dem Majority White Central California
18 60 60 0 Dem Majority Latino Central California
19 63 47 16 Dem Plurality White Bay Area
20 56 61 -5 Lean Dem Majority Latino Central California
21 67 43 24 Dem Majority Latino Central California
22 32 39 -7 GOP Majority White Central California
23 62 67 -5 Dem Majority White Central California
24 63 51 12 Dem Majority White Greater LA
25 65 51 14 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
26 62 52 10 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
27 62 68 -6 Dem Plurality White Greater LA
28 76 78 -2 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
29 61 69 -8 Dem Plurality White Greater LA
30 64 72 -8 Dem Majority White Greater LA
31 73 82 -9 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
32 63 70 -7 Dem Plurality Asian Greater LA
33 94 88 6 Dem Effective Black Greater LA
34 65 76 -11 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
35 76 86 -10 Dem Effective Black Greater LA
36 64 66 -2 Dem Plurality White Greater LA
37 64 81 -17 Dem Effective Black Greater LA
38 63 73 -10 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
39 62 67 -5 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
40 52 48 4 Swing Plurality White Greater LA
41 53 45 8 Swing Plurality White Greater LA
42 58 46 12 Lean Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
43 63 69 -6 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
44 41 50 -9 GOP Majority White Greater LA
45 55 52 3 Lean Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
46 60 49 11 Dem Majority White Greater LA
47 60 61 -1 Dem Majority Latino Greater LA
48 52 50 2 Swing Plurality White Greater LA
49 51 46 5 Swing Majority White San Diego
50 57 52 5 Lean Dem Majority White San Diego
51 62 64 -2 Dem Majority Latino San Diego
52 38 46 -8 GOP Majority White San Diego
53 63 70 -7 Dem Plurality White San Diego
Average 62.17 63.37 -1
Median 63.00 66.88 -4

Northern California

I defined the Northern California region as pretty much everything from Sacramento northwards. It includes 6 districts. 4 Should be Democratic, while CA-2 is Republican and CA-4 is a swing district. This is the whitest part of the State, and therefore probably the part of the State where there is the greatest potential for the GOP to make gains (even if it seems improbable at best that they will make much headway in liberal areas like Sonoma County). For that reason I decided not get too overly aggressive here. It would be possible to avoid conceding a GOP district in the far North-East, but unless you did something like draw a tentacle from Nancy Pelosi’s district up into rural GOP areas, it would be very hard to then also avoid creating a strong or leaning GOP district in the Sierra Nevada’s East and South-East of Sacramento. So I didn’t even try. Instead, I took advantage of the opportunity to move Nancy Pelosi’s district north without endangering the 1st or 6th districts, giving her Marin County across the Golden Gate bridge, which, as we will see, makes it possible to squeeze a great deal out of the Eastern side of the San Francisco Bay.

Northern California





Sacramento Area





San Francisco Bay Area

Every single seat based in the San Francisco Bay area is safely Democratic. A number of these districts also extend outwards to the east, in order to avoid wasting too many votes in ultra-Demacratic districts. But many districts remain entirely within the Bay area, and if one were willing to draw pinwheels flowing out from San Francisco and the San Mateo Peninsula to places like Bakersfield, Fresno, and Barstow, you could pretty easily squeeze out another one or two utterly safe Democratic districts.

Northern Bay Area





Southern Bay Area





Central California

Given the GOP lean of much of this region, having only 1 GOP district is not bad. Latino voting strength is greatly increased in this area. Although it might not be at all certain that all of the Latino districts will immediately have an effective Latino voting majority, they will with time. This is the most obviously gerrymandered part of the state, but that is necessary in order to increase Latino voting strength and to increase Democratic strength in less heavily Latino areas. The actual lines in this area will be greatly affected by the actual distribution of Latino population growth within counties.

Central Coast





Central Valley





LA Area

I am using a broad definition of the LA area, including areas beyond the city of Los Angeles proper, including Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino, and Ventura counties. In this area, and especially in LA County, some of the districts are better thought of as general ideas than specific exact proposals. I am fairly certain that someone who knows the area better than I do could draw the urban lines a bit more sensibly while maintaining or increasing all the political benefits and fully complying with the Voting Rights Act (a major cause of strange district shapes). Additionally, the 2008 Population Estimates are only available on the County level – so the actual population will be distributed somewhat differently than in the lines I drew. The exact lines should not be taken too literally, but it should be possible to draw roughly similar districts with the same basic demographic and political results. I may have mistakenly drawn some Democratic incumbents’ houses out of their district, but in reality that would probably be easy to avoid, if it matters. The greater LA area also has the greatest concentration of minorities in California.

That is the chief reason why I was more willing to draw some districts that were only lean Democratic or swing seats – because of their high but still relatively low turnout Latino and Asian American populations, many districts are safe bets to become more Democratic as that turnout increases. So even if these seats do not all flip Democratic in 2012, there is a great chance that they will flip some time between 2014 and 2020. Still, you can make a good argument for either conceding another seat to the GOP (or sending another district or 2 deep into the heart of LA), and if I were redrawing the map I would probably concede a third safe GOP seat in the Orange/Riverside/Burnadino area in order to make the surrounding districts more Democratic. But the overall point is that there is no reason for any district in LA County to be Republican, and from LA County, a number of districts can be safely extended outwards to make even more Democratic seats. It also ought to be possible to create more Latino majority seats and an Asian American plurality seat.

Southern California





Northern LA area





Southern LA area





Eastern LA area





San Diego

Last but not least, the San Diego area. Democrats currently hold only 2 of 5 seats in this area, while Obama won 54-44. With the exception of CA-51, the minority population in San Diego is relatively small. But even without relying on votes from Los Angeles, it should be possible to make 3 fairly strong Democratic districts, one heavily GOP district, and a swing district out of this area.





Breakdown of the Districts

And now to all 53 of the individual districts, one by one.

























CA-1

Incumbent: Mike Thompson (Blue Dog D) v. Wally Herger (R)
Previous District PVI: D+13
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 60% Obama, D+7
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 63% White
New District Demographics: 66% White

CA-1 pairs Napa Blue dog Mike Thompson with Butte County (which narrowly voted for Obama) Republican Wally Herger. The district basically consists of Napa, Yolo, Colusa, Sutter, ande Butte counties, along with the section of Sonoma County previously in CA-1. Those areas combined voted 60% for Obama, and that is the basic partisan orientation of this district. If that’s not Democratic enough, it could easily be made stronger by trading some Sonoma area territory with CA-6. Some relatively unpopulated parts of Yolo and Sutter Counties are cut out to provide a path for CA-4 to connect Yolo and Placer counties, and the city of Marysville in Yuba County is thrown in to equalize the population.

In the event that Herger decided to actually run in this district, he would almost certainly lose. Half of the districts population lives in Napa, Yolo, and Sonoma counties, and would vote heavily for Thomson. In the other half of the district, Herger might win, but would have a lot of trouble winning by enough to offset the heavily Democratic Napa/Yolo/Sonoma margin. It is also easier to imagine Thomson appealing to voters in Butte County than it is to imagine Herger appealing to San Francisco Bay area liberals.

But more than likely this is a moot point, because Herger would almost certainly take one look at CA-1 and opt to run in CA-2 instead, which includes a lot of his rural GOP base areas.

























CA-2

Incumbent: ?Wally Herger? (R), ?Tom McClintock? (R)
Previous District PVI: R+11
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 39% Obama, R+14
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 72% White
New District Demographics: 78% White

CA-2 serves to pack as many rural Northern California Republicans as possible into one district. It is the whitest district in California, and is very strongly Republican. CA-2 includes compact rural counties in Northern California, and snakes down through Placer, El Dorado, and Amador counties to pick up rural/exurban GOP areas, leaving closer in Sacramento suburbs in Placer County to CA-4, and leaving the more Democratic Lake Tahoe area to CA-10.

As discussed with CA-1, Wally Herger would probably run in this district, even though he lives in the new CA-1. Tom McClintock would also probably want prefer to run in this district than in a swing district, even though he lives in the new CA-5. In the event of a primary between Herger and McClintock, Herger would probably prevail because slightly more of the new CA-2 comes from Herger’s old district than from the old CA-4, and Herger has longer standing actual ties to the area than McClintock.

























CA-3

Incumbent: Dan Lungren (R)
Previous District PVI: R+6
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 57% Obama, D+4
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 65% White
New District Demographics: 56% White

CA-3 is now entirely within Sacramento County, and is substantially more Democratic than the old CA-3, which voted narrowly for Obama. There is a delicate balancing act here between hurting Lungren and keeping Matsui secure. It would be possible to make CA-3 even more Democratic, but not without dragging CA-5 under roughly D+10, which I wanted to avoid. It is not a complete certainty that Lungren would lose in this district, but it is a certainly that he would face very competitive elections every 2 years until he does.

























CA-4

Incumbent: None
Previous District PVI: R+10
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 53% Obama, D+0
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 79% White
New District Demographics: 57% White

The new CA-4 is a bona fide suburban swing district, combining 99% of Democratic Solano County (4/7 of the district) with GOP leaning Sacramento Suburban part of Placer county, and sparsely populated areas in between to connect them. There is no real incumbent in this district, but Charlie Brown would be well positioned to win here. This district is much less Republican than the old version, which he only barely lost in 2008. If not, a Democrat from Solano County would have a good chance of winning here. The only potential hitch is the fast pace of growth in Placer County. If that tends to increase GOP margins, this district will become more Republican with time. On the other hand, if the Sacramento suburbs liberalize as they grow, this district will stay roughly even or move slightly more Democratic. It would be pretty easy to make this district more Democratic by extending it further into the Bay Area, but I kept it more compact and suburban based.

























CA-5

Incumbent: Doris Matsui (D)
Previous District PVI: D+15
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 62% Obama, D+9
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 39% White
New District Demographics: 46% White

CA-5 becomes more Republican, but not Republican enough to put Doris Matsui in any realistic danger. It now crosses over (barely) into Yolo County to pick up West Sacramento, but otherwise is based very much in Sacramento proper.

























CA-6

Incumbent: Lynn Woolsey (D)
Previous District PVI: D+23
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 72% Obama, D+19
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 70% White
New District Demographics: 71% White

CA-6 ditches highly progressive Marin County to pick up less-progressive-but-still-progressive areas further North along the coast. Lynn Woolsey still has absolutely nothing to worry about, and could easily take on some more GOP turf or donate some heavily Democratic areas to CA-1. Alternatively, CA-2 could be sucked into CA-6/Marin and become a swing or Democratic district rather than being conceded to the GOP, but that would make it much more difficult to make CA-4 a swing district, and much more difficult to turn CA-10 into a Democratic district with a strong base in the Sierra Nevadas, and would also necessitate some more county splitting.

























CA-7

Incumbent: George Miller (D)
Previous District PVI: D+19
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 39% White, 27% Latino
New District Demographics: 50% White, 31% Latino

CA-7 moves out of Solano County, and into San Joaquin where it picks up Lodi, Tracy, and Manteca (most of the county other than Stockton). The district also cedes areas around Richmond to CA-10 and CA-9, resulting in a more Republican District. My intention was to bring it down to about D+10, but it could be a couple points off in either direction. If it is too Republican, it would be very easy to fix that and make this district more Democratic. CA-7 isn’t D+19 any more, but it does not really need to be. Long time incumbent George Miller, who has been in Congress since 1974, will not be in any danger of suddenly now losing his seat simply becase it becomes a bit less Democratic.

























CA-8

Incumbent: Nancy Pelosi (D)
Previous District PVI: D+35
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 81% Obama, D+28
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 45% White, 30% Asian
New District Demographics: 61% White, 18% Asian

Nancy Pelosi’s CA-8 plays a very important but subtle role in this overall map. By crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and taking in Marin County, her district becomes slightly less Democratic. But that’s not the main point. By taking in Marin County, it allows CA-6 to push northwards, and just as importantly, it sucks CA-12 into San Francisco (making it Asian plurality in the process), and sucks all the districts to the South-East of it towards San Francisco. This dominoes through the districts and ultimately provides the impetus to pull more Republican districts in the Central Valley further in towards areas like Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Alameda.

























CA-9

Incumbent: Barbara Lee (D)
Previous District PVI: D+37
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 83% Obama, D+30
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 36% White, 20% Black, 17% Asian, 23% Latino
New District Demographics: 37% White, 22% Black, 16% Asian, 21% Latino

The percentage of African Americans in Barbara Lee’s new 9th District is not just maintained, but actually increased, even while the district becomes a little bit less Democratic. I did this by trading ultra-liberal but predominantly white areas of her district (principally Berkeley) for predominantly white liberal areas in Contra Costa County, along with Richmond, which has a fairly high black population. So the district now consists of Oakland, Richmond, and areas of Contra Costa county like Orinda, Walnut Creek, and Pleasantville.

























CA-10

Incumbent: ?John Garamendi? (D)
Previous District PVI: D+11
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 63% Obama, D+10
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 56% White
New District Demographics: 60% White

This new version of CA-10 is rather different from the previous CA-10, and is drawn under the assumption that John Garamendi wins the CA-10 special election. This district is probably the most bizarrely shaped of all the districts I drew, but it makes sense, at least from the perspective of drawing a distrcit that would be good for Garamendi. Republican George Radanovich also lives here (in Mariposa), but he wouldn’t have much chance if he ran in this district.

Nearly 4/7 of the population of CA-10 live in Contra Costa or Alameda Counties, and those areas are all very heavily Democratic (Berkeley – where Garamendi went to college, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Pinole). From there, it snakes through sparsely populated parts of Solano, Amador, and Sacramento counties, picking up Garamendi’s home along the way. Then it enters the Sierra Nevada mountain range through Calaveras county, where Garamendi was born and has a ranch. It picks up Republican leaning areas near Yosemite National Park (Garamendi was Deputy Secretary of the Interior), and picks up a mixture of Rural Republicans and more liberal Lake Tahoe/ski areas up and down the Nevada border, stretching from Inyo County in the south to Nevada County in the north. I have to say, I was sorely tempted to cross into Fresno and Tulare counties to pick up Sequoia and King’s Canyon National park, and into San Bernadino to take in all of Death Valley, but I restrained myself.

Alpine, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, and Toulumne counties collectively voted McCain 52% to Obama 48%. If you assume that liberal areas around Lake Tahoe (parts of Placer and El Dorado counties) roughly cancel out extraneous GOP areas, and that the Contra Costa/Alameda county parts of the district voted about 75% for Obama, then you end up with a district that voted about 63% for Obama, litte changed from the current partisan stance of CA-10. And there we have it – a district that takes care of some hard to deal with GOP areas in the Sierras, avoids wasting Democratic votes along the Nevada border on a GOP district, that opens up space in eastern Contra Costa County for CA-7 to dilute GOP votes in San Joaquin county, and that John Garamendi should be able to effectively represent despite the district’s bizarre geographic shape, given his background. Whew!

As a more compact alternative to this, instead of reaching all the way to Berkeley, the district could combine the Sierras with a different and nearer Democratic area, such as the city of San Joaquin. But then this district would not include Garamendi’s home, would be only weakly Democratic rather than safe, would be less progressive, and would really be more like a reconfigured 19th than the 10th.

























CA-11

Incumbent: Jerry McNerney (D)
Previous District PVI: R+1
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 61% Obama, D+8
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 51% White, 26% Latino
New District Demographics: 45% White, 27% Latino

CA-11 is altered significantly to make it more Democratic. It now takes in all of the city of Stockton, in exchange for which it gives up some relatively conservative areas to CA-7. It also expands a bit more in Alameda County, taking on Livermore as well as a bit of territory from Pete Stark and Barbara Lee. The end result is a much safer district for McNerney. I guesstimate that it voted roughly 61% for Obama, but that could be off by a few percentage points. If it is too Republican, that is easy to fix.

























CA-12

Incumbent: Jackie Speier (D)
Previous District PVI: D+23
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 79% Obama, D+26
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 45% White, 31% Asian
New District Demographics: 35% White, 38% Asian

CA-12 moves further into San Francisco to accomadate Pelosi’s shift into Marin County. In the process, it turns into a district with a slight Asian American plurality.

























CA-13

Incumbent: Pete Stark (D)
Previous District PVI: D+22
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 64% Obama, D+11
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 29% White, 35% Asian, 23% Latino
New District Demographics: 37% White, 26% Asian, 28% Latino

CA-13 is still primarily based in Alameda County, where 2/3 of the district is located, retaining Pete Stark’s home town of Fremont, along with Union City, Newark, and most of Hayward. It then crosses through unpopulated mountains to the east and reappears on the outskirts of Modesto, where it basically picks up the parts of Stanislaus County that were formerly in the 19th district. The end result is a district which is still strongly Democratic, but not packed as full of progressive Alameda County voters as before.

























CA-14

Incumbent: Anna Eshoo (D)
Previous District PVI: D+21
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 73% Obama, D+20
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 53% White, 21% Asian, 19% Latino
New District Demographics: 52% White, 22% Asian, 20% Latino

Like CA-12 before it, CA-14 is sucked towards San Francisco because of CA-8’s trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. In San Mateo County, it adds San Carlos, Foster City, and San Mateo. Saratoga in Santa Cruz County along with CA-14’s old section of Santa Cruz County are removed. This has no real political impact, and CA-14 remains a veritable Democratic fortress.

























CA-15

Incumbent: Mike Honda (D)
Previous District PVI: D+15
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 69% Obama, D+16
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 39% White, 36% Asian
New District Demographics: 35% White, 39% Asian

Moving parts of CA-9 and CA-13 out of Alameda County has left some people there that need to go somewhere. They go into Mike Honda’s 15th district, which is now up to 39% Asian American. No real partisan effect, except CA-15 may get a bit more Democratic.

























CA-16

Incumbent: Zoe Lofgren (D)
Previous District PVI: D+16
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 66% Obama, D+13
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 28% White, 26% Asian, 40% Latino
New District Demographics: 29% White, 19% Asian, 45% Latino

60% of CA-16 remains within Santa Clara County. To get to the rest of the district, it crosses the mountains and ends up in Stanislaus County, where it takes in the city of Modesto. strengthening the Latino plurality in the process. This only makes the district 3 or 4 points more Republican, and Zoe Lofgren has nothing to worry about.

























CA-17

Incumbent: Sam Farr (D)
Previous District PVI: D+19
New District estimated Obama/McCain: 65% Obama, D+12
Current District 2008 (Est.) Demographics: 41% White, 48% Latino
New District Demographics: 60% White, 19% Latino

Sam Farr’s district becomes much whiter than before, principally because it gives up predominantly Latino areas inland (Salinas, Hollister, Watsonville) to the 21st district in order to help give that district a strong Latino majority. In exchange, Farr adds the rest of Santa Cruz county (except for Watsonville), parts of Santa Clara county (Saratoga, Campbell, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno), as well as some conservative inland areas in San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. But 78% of the population lives in Monterrey, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties, all of which are strongly Democratic, so Farr’s district remains strongly Democaratic even while becoming much whiter. As a rough estimate, this district probably voted about 65% for Obama.

Apparently this diary is too long for Calitics’ html checking to accept… ­čÖé Read the rest at Swing State Project, which has laxer html screening.

That’s all, folks!

If you liked this diary, do me a favor and contact your Representative and Senators and tell them to support strong Health Care Reform. A strong public option, no trigger, no opt-in, no opt-out. Strong subsidies to make the mandate affordable, open the exchange to everyone, and for crying out loud there’s no reason we should have to wait all the way until 2013 to have it go into effect!

What’s going on in CA 11

I wonder what is going on in CA-11 (my own district).  After surprising the world and beating Richard Pombo in 2006, and then consolidating his position in the district in 2008, Jerry McNerney now finds himself with no less than 7 opponents (according to Vorderbrueggen)  for the 2010 election.

Does a declining party really think that they can win this one back, or is it just the fact that they are still in shock over Pombo’s loss… and our gain?

I would guess that McNerney would love to see a Republican cat fight chewing up contributions while he meets quarterly fund-raising goals with regularity.

Letter to Jerry McNerney

I sent the following to Jerry McNerney tonight:

Jerry,

I have supported you for a long time, writing newspaper columns calling for voting Pombo out and you in both in 2004 and 2006.  Now, I need to tell you what has to happen for you to continue getting my support.

To begin with, you know and I know that climate change changes everything.  There is nothing more important than dealing with this.

If you want to cut health care costs, you must deal with climate change before tropical diseases like malaria invade the US and valley fever become even more wide spread.  The latter only killed 200 last year.

If you want to fix the economy, you must deal with climate change as the costs of trying to mitigate its effects later will devastate our country’s economy.  The entire Obama economic plan depends on returning to an era of growth the help pay off the debts that we are incurring now.  The effects of climate change may be that such growth never occurs just at the time that we need to be building Netherlands style dikes to protect half of your district from flooding.

Neither Waxman – Markey nor Kerry – Boxer will really achieve their alleged goals.  Those who cheated on mortgage back equities will cheat on trading pollution credits.  Neither bill really takes on coal.  They still talk of the mythological clean coal.  Duke Energy has pulled out of the Clean Coal Coalition and Jim Rogers, it’s CEO, says this about carbon capture and sequestration:

> He argued that it’s unlikely that the United States will be able to develop and bring to scale carbon-capture-and-storage – often called “clean coal” technology. “I think there’s no way we can scale in this country,” he said. “It’s more likely that China will develop and bring CCS to scale. I’d like to be China for a day so we can get CCS done. They’re more likely to get it scaled and deployed than we are. We’re going to be buying their technology.” (Source: Washington Independent)

I expect to hear you telling the truth about where we are headed and to see you working for much stronger legislation than we currently see.  The alternative is to work for someone else who will promise to get this job done, no matter what party they are from.

Wes Rolley  

2010 Congressional Races Roundup – June 30, 2009

We’re setting a course for the center of the sun in the state budget process right now, but today is also the last day of the second quarter, an important day for Congressional candidates, who must file fundraising reports based on close of business today.  So this is as good a time as any to take a look at the Congressional races and where we stand at this point.  I have not yet done similar roundups for 2010 statewide offices or legislative races, but plan to do so in the near future.  If you find any of these challenges attractive, I urge you to pass a few bucks along to the candidate of your choice.  This quarter will help or hurt the candidacies in terms of their perception of viability.

A word on the notations.  PVI refers to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index.  I’ve also included the Presidential performance from last year and the particular Congressional performance, where applicable.  That information is available for the whole nation at this link.  Open Congress also has a good Wiki on all the seats involved.

flip it…

SENATE:

CA-Sen.  Incumbent: Barbara Boxer.  Challengers: Chuck DeVore, Carly Fiorina.  Barbara Boxer, who’s having a virtual fundraiser tonight with Carl Pope of the Sierra Club in San Francisco, has actually not been seriously threatened in any of her re-election efforts, a fact that escapes those who assume her liberal bona fides somehow make her perpetually vulnerable.  Boxer has raised the possibility of disgraced HP CEO Carly Fiorina running, and using her ample personal fortune to amass a campaign war chest.  If that happens at all, look for Fiorina to announce in the next few weeks, after the end of the Q2 fundraising cycle.  And even if she does run, I don’t think it’s at all certain that she wins the primary and gets to the general election.  Her spotty voting record provides fodder for opponents, as does her terrible record at HP.  And Chuck DeVore, while certifiable, has the ear of the conservative Yacht Party base in California and can be expected to do well against any primary foe.  I would not be at all surprised to see DeVore oppose Boxer.  RedState claims that Cornyn has gone to begging Steve Poizner to drop out of the Governor’s race and join the Senate race, which if true further shows the lack of faith in Fiorina’s abilities among Republicans.  Either way, I don’t think Boxer is in much trouble.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

SPECIAL ELECTIONS

1. CA-10. Challengers: John Garamendi, Mark DeSaulnier, Joan Buchanan, Anthony Woods, Adriel Hampton.  PVI: D+10.  The timing of the special election should be announced in a matter of days, but all the candidates are already running, holding forums and raising money.  Garamendi’s endorsement from the SEIU State Council continues the pattern of DeSaulnier locking up the local labor vote, while Garamendi gets the national organizations.  The question is who will offer boots on the ground.  Meanwhile, Anthony Woods has caught the attention of progressive and LGBT bloggers due to his personal biography, as well as national news, which can only help add to his profile.  Then there’s Joan Buchanan, the only major female candidate in the race, who could benefit from that.  We’re just at the beginning of this quick sprint, but it should get very interesting.

DEMOCRATIC-HELD SEATS

1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney. PVI: R+1. 2008 General: Obama 54-44. 2008 Congress: McNerney 55-45.  I’m almost ready to give this to McNerney outright.  He’s fallen off of NRCC target lists in their radio and Web ad campaigns.  He received the support of local Republicans in San Joaquin County.  He’s amassed a pretty decent war chest.  And Warren Rupf, the sheriff of Contra Costa County who may have given something of a challenge to McNerney, announced that he would not run.  Right now, the leading candidates include a vintner and two other folks with no political experience.  McNerney didn’t have any political experience before winning, either, but these just don’t sound like serious challengers.  McNerney is well-positioned, and one assumes that after 2010 his district will be gerrymandered to help him solidify this seat.

2. CA-36. Incumbent: Jane Harman. PVI: D+12. Primary Challenger: Marcy Winograd.  2008 General: Obama 64-34. 2008 Congress: Harman 69-31.  Marcy Winograd is starting early and running a real campaign, with visibility in the district.  She has run print ads in local publications, and has already put up TV ads touting her stance on single-payer health care, which are running during Olbermann and Maddow in the LA area.  So there’s no question she is offering a real progressive alternative in this district.  Harman’s AIPAC/warrantless wiretapping scandal has waned, and she has stayed on the right side of activists with her energy and health care stances.  So there’s a ways to go to see if Winograd can reach a critical mass in the district.

REPUBLICAN-HELD SEATS

1. CA-44. Incumbent: Ken Calvert. Challenger: Bill Hedrick. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: Obama 49.5-48.6. 2008 Congress: Calvert 51-49. Bill Hedrick remains the best opportunity for flipping a seat in California this year.  He came within a few percentage points last time around, and the national Democratic Party – as well as the pundit class – has taken notice.  Hedrick is doing fundraisers and writing articles to raise awareness, while Calvert’s signature accomplishment in this Congress is getting the Ronald Reagan statue in the Capitol Rotunda.  I do wish Hedrick would denounce this shameful ad put out by the D-Trip, trying to hit Calvert on hypocrisy for not “supporting the troops” with his vote against Afghanistan and Iraq funding.  I’m fairly certain, from talking to Hedrick, that he would have opposed that bill as well.  And we should never equate funding “the troops” with funding a war.  I think it’s disgraceful.  

2. CA-03. Incumbent: Dan Lungren. Challengers: Gary Davis, Amerish Bera, Bill Slaton.  PVI: R+6. 2008 General: Obama 49.3-48.8. 2008 Congress: Lungren 49-44.  This is the other race listed by Stu Rothenberg as “Leans Republican,” one of only three Republican-held seats to be so honored.  Clearly, national Democrats are excited about this race.  As The Hill notes, the Democratic challengers run the gamut of major issue areas:

The three candidates cover some of the country’s most pressing issues – healthcare, education and energy.

Physician Ami Bera, who has shaped healthcare policy, filed for the race in April. Former Elk Grove Mayor and current City Councilman Gary Davis, who also works for an education nonprofit, announced in May that he would run. And last week, utility company executive Bill Slaton announced he is also getting in the race.

The biggest foe Dan Lungren has, however, is demographics.  The district just gets more and more blue with each passing day.  I don’t know if Davis, Bera or Slaton will necessarily be the right candidate to capitalize on it, but if Lungren keeps spending tax dollars to erect religious slogans in the Capitol Visitors Center instead of paying attention to the race, he could get stung.  Lungren is also being targeted by that B.S. DCCC ad about “supporting the troops.”

3. CA-45. Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack. Challenger: Steve Pougnet.  PVI: R+3. 2008 General: Obama 51-47. 2008 Congress: Bono Mack 58-42.  Back in May, Democrats added Mary Bono Mack to their target lists, perhaps because of the entry of Steve Pougnet, the Mayor of Palm Springs, into the race.  This past week, Bono Mack showed that she may be feeling the pressure by voting for the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill.  Teabaggers and conservatives are targeting the 8 Republicans who voted with the Democratic majority on that bill, including Bono Mack, which could give her a rough primary.  That can only benefit Pougnet, who should have national support from LGBT groups as well.  Bono Mack will be a tough out – she’s won many a race in that district – but the ACES vote reflects how difficult it may be for her to thread the needle.

4. CA-50. Incumbent: Brian Bilbray. PVI: R+3. Challengers: Tracy Emblem, Francine Busby.  2008 General: Obama 51-47. 2008 Congress: Bilbray 50-45.  Brian Bilbray is one of three California Republicans (Dan Lungren and Ken Calvert are the others) on the NRCC’s list of vulnerable incumbents.  So clearly this district is getting some attention.  After this past weekend’s puzzling raid of a Francine Busby fundraiser, it should get some more.  Today, the house party host spoke out about the tactics of the police.  There’s no reason to tie Bilbray to this episode, but clearly this could spark some determination among local Democrats and get Busby’s name distributed nationwide.  Meanwhile, there’s another candidate in the primary, Tracy Emblem, who is committed to self-funding and spending up to $500,000 to win the primary.  Emblem recently touted her support for HR 676 and will appear at a Health Care Reform Community Forum in San Diego with John Conyers on July 11 (despite positioning herself as a moderate).  Solana Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts, a conservaDem who supported Bilbray in the past, also might jump in next month.

5. CA-48. Incumbent: John Campbell. Challenger: Beth Krom. PVI: R+8. 2008 General: Obama 49.3-48.6. 2008 Congress: Campbell 56-41.  This always looked to be the sleeper race of 2010, with Campbell spinning off into crazytown (he just co-sponsored the birther bill) while the district moderates in tone.  And Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom looked to be a great, energetic challenger.  Unfortunately, tragedy struck the Krom family when Beth’s son Noah died after falling from a cliff earlier this month.  Krom has vowed to stay in the race, but obviously this is a blow.  We at Calitics wish her all the best.

6. CA-26. Incumbent: David Dreier. Challenger: Russ Warner.  PVI: R+3.  2008 General: Obama 51-47. 2008 Congress: Dreier 53-40.  Not a whole lot going on in this race right now; we’ll see how the fundraising numbers shake out.  Russ Warner was so behind in money due to David Dreier’s giant war chest in 2008 that he had a hard time competing.  He drained enough of that war chest to make a better go at it this time around.  But Dreier is a 30-year institution in the district and is unlikely to go quietly.  The DCCC is paying attention to this seat, as they are all seats held by Republicans where Barack Obama won, but at some point that will narrow.

7. CA-24. Incumbent: Elton Gallegly. Challengers: several. PVI: R+4. 2008 General: Obama 51-48.  2008 Congress: Gallegly 58-42.  The big news out of this race is that the DCCC is actively recruiting Jim Dantona to run for this seat.  Before this time, all the usual suspects – 2008 candidate Marta Jorgensen, 2006 candidate Jill Martinez, Mary Pallant, Tim Allison – were in the running, and it was unclear who could break out of the pack.  Dantona has an interesting resume.  He worked for longtime legislative Dem David Roberti, and lost a county supervisor race in rock-ribbed conservative Simi Valley by only a handful of votes.  He has a big personality and could fare well if properly funded.  He does tend toward the middle of the road ideologically.  This could be a push to get Gallegly to retire, which he’s wanted to do for years.

8. CA-46. Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: McCain 50-48. 2008 Congress: Rohrabacher 53-43.  Rohrabacher has decided to take a high profile among those neocons calling President Obama weak for his lack of belligerent statements on the situation in Iran, at one point calling Obama a “cream puff.”   Rohrabacher’s district remains on national Democratic target lists, but thus far nobody has come forward to offer a challenge.  We’ll see.

9. CA-04. Incumbent: Tom McClintock. PVI: R+10. 2008 General: McCain 54-44. 2008 Congress: McClintock 50.3-49.7.  Charlie Brown remains mum about his intentions in this seat, and as long as he does, it remains low on the list of potential pickups.  If Brown goes all in for a rematch, it shoots up the list.  McClintock remains the anti-government conservative he always was, and in Placer County, that may work, but he is so extreme that a well-chosen candidate like Brown who already has the name recognition could give him the same kind of stiff challenge as in 2008.

10. CA-25. Incumbent: Buck McKeon. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: Obama 49-48.  2008 Congress: McKeon 58-42.  No news yet on a challenger for this district, which Obama took in 2008.  When one emerges, we can assess the chances in this seat.

2010 CA House Races Roundup – April 2009

In 2007-08, I wrote a monthly series of House race roundups here in California, taking a look at the races with the highest potential to change members of Congress.  This cycle, there are promises from the national Democrats that they will pay attention to a number of seats in California held by Republicans, and with the statewide races at the top of the ticket looking favorable for Democrats, and Republican registration collapsing throughout the state, in theory we should see some more movement.  But many of these elements were true the past two cycles, amounting to little.  Because it’s a statewide officer election year, I will also do a statewide races roundup at a later time.  But for now, let’s take a look at the seats most likely to flip in 2010, starting with seats currently held by Democrats, few of which are in play.  In addition to those “threatened” by Republicans, I’m including two seats where I’ve heard rumblings about primary challenges to incumbents.

A word on the notations.  PVI refers to the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index.  I’ve also included the Presidential performance from last year and the particular Congressional performance, where applicable.  That information is available for the whole nation at this link.

flip it…

DEMOCRATIC-HELD SEATS

1. CA-11. Incumbent: Jerry McNerney. PVI: R+1. 2008 General: Obama 54-44. 2008 Congress: McNerney 55-45.  I keep seeing this seat on Republican target lists, and the NRCC has dropped robocalls in this district, but I really think the Republicans would be wasting their money.  Jerry McNerney actually slightly outperformed Barack Obama in the district in beating the hapless Dean Andal.  Andal won’t bother with a challenge this time around, and while former Assemblyman Guy Houston has been mentioned as a candidate, I think McNerney has solidified his position and raised enough money to scare off any challengers.  SAFE DEM.

2. CA-36. Incumbent: Jane Harman. PVI: D+12. 2008 General: Obama 64-34. 2008 Congress: Harman 69-31.  The recent Jane Harman scandals, documented here at Calitics, are really not the only reason she is seen as ripe for a primary challenge: there is an impression in the district that she may retire, with local electeds licking their chops.  But if she does run, she will have challengers.  Marcy Winograd, who got 38% of the vote in a 2006 primary with Harman, has announced an exploratory committee.  And Crooks and Liars blogger John Amato, advancing a story in The Hill, has emerged to say he’s considering a run.  I talked to John last night and he appears to be serious.  Harman has more money than God, and if she truly wants to stay in Congress she won’t mind spending it, so this is a long shot.  But national progressive groups think that CA-36 can do better than “the best Republican in the Democratic Party.”  The question is whether local activists will agree; I’m not sure they’re quite there yet.  SAFE DEM; LIKELY SAFE HARMAN.

3. CA-37. Incumbent: Laura Richardson. PVI: D+26. 2008 General: Obama 80-19. 2008 Congress: Richardson 75-25.  If progressives really want to find a bad, vulnerable incumbent, they could look directly to the east of Jane Harman’s district.  Laura Richardson is a bad lawmaker, who voted for the FISA Amendments Act and other conservative pieces of legislation.  What’s more, she’s an embarrassment to the district, having defaulted on eight houses since 2004 and, reportedly, having used her position in Congress to rescind the sale of her foreclosed home and return it to her.  Her monetary acumen extends to her campaign finances.  Unlike most incumbents, Richardson is currently $300,000 in debt in her campaign account.  This seat is ripe for a young, fresh progressive who has a cleaner record and a better commitment to the district’s needs.  Nobody has yet emerged, but they should.  SAFE DEM; LIKELY SAFE RICHARDSON.

REPUBLICAN-HELD SEATS

1. CA-44. Incumbent: Ken Calvert. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: Obama 49.5-48.6. 2008 Congress: Calvert 51-49.  Bill Hedrick shocked the political world by almost beating corrupt Rep. Ken Calvert in a race that fell off of everyone’s radar screen.  Hedrick just announced that he’s running again to finish the job, and I had a chance to chat with him at the CDP Convention in Sacramento.  He said that “something is occurring in the Inland Empire” – a combination of the bad economy, demographic shifts and a general distaste for Republicans – that bodes well for his campaign.  Hedrick actually won by 5% in the Riverside County portion of the district, which is where more voters reside; but he lost the southern Orange County portion by a healthy margin.  The registration figures in the OC part of the district is 90%; in Riverside, it’s 50%.  Clearly there is potential to increase registration in Riverside and overwhelm Calvert with numbers.  Hedrick is a solid antiwar progressive, who supports a modern Pecora Commission to investigate the financial crisis, real refinancing options for people facing foreclosure, robust stimulus to get the economy moving again, and an end to American occupations abroad (he has two sons and two daughters-in-law who, between them, have 10 tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan).  Clearly he’s going to run on Calvert’s support of TARP, which should be interesting.  The fear is that Hedrick won’t have the funds to compete.  He raised only $150,000 total last cycle, and with this race now on the radar screen, he’ll need to do better.  But Hedrick appears to have a plan for expanding the donor base and using his army of volunteers to make up the gap and beat Ken Calvert in 2010.  LEAN REP.

2. CA-03. Incumbent: Dan Lungren. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: Obama 49.3-48.8. 2008 Congress: Lungren 49-44.  This is a ripe opportunity in search of a Democratic candidate.  In 2008 Bill Durston held Dan Lungren under 50% in a campaign that only got the attention it deserved at the last minute.  Demographically speaking, more and more people in the district have registered Democratic in recent years, and if Durston was running again, he would be a top challenger.  Unfortunately, Durston is unlikely to run owing to medical issues.  Actvisits have tried to entice John Garamendi into abandoning his CA-10 bid and run in this district, where he’s actually one of the largest landowners.  But that also appears unlikely.  It should be noted that there is an announced candidate here, Dr. Amerish Bera.  But the hot rumor at the Convention was that Phil Angelides would enter the race, making it a matchup of former statewide gubernatorial candidates.  I later heard that rumor was probably bunk.  But this should happen!  Angelides, who has become an evangelist on energy and climate issues, has a huge donor list he could activate, a progressive policy profile, and actually matured as a candidate (not that you would know it from the media) in 2006.  He would bring name ID to this race like nobody else.  It’s time to draft Phil.  LEAN REP.

3. CA-50. Incumbent: Brian Bilbray. PVI: R+3. 2008 General: Obama 51-47. 2008 Congress: Bilbray 50-45.  As you can see, Obama took this district by a decent margin, and Bilbray barely hit 50%.  Francine Busby, who ran in 2004 and 2006 and then took a cycle off, has returned to run for Congress, and she had a bit of visibility at the Convention.  Busby has OK name ID, but this district has always seemed to me to have a ceiling for the Democratic candidate around 45%.  I’m happy to be wrong, of course, and hopefully Busby has learned from her past races and is able to break through.  Of course, Bilbray is sure to resurrect the “You don’t need papers for voting” comment that hurt her in a special election in 2006 (which was twisted by the right, incidentally).  LIKELY REP.

4. CA-26. Incumbent: David Dreier. PVI: R+3.  2008 General: Obama 51-47. 2008 Congress: Dreier 53-40.  The profile of CA-50 and CA-26 are similar.  And in both, a Democratic challenger will take a third run at the incumbent.  Russ Warner announced at the Red to Blue dinner that he will run again and build on his efforts against David Dreier in 2008.  In a conversation with Warner, he told me about meeting David Dreier a few weeks ago for the first time.  Dreier asked him, “Are you running against me again?”  Warner replied, “You ran against me, David.”  Dreier said, “But you lost.”  Warner: “Oh yeah?  You’re the one who spent $3 million dollars.  Who lost?”  Indeed, Warner did succeed in draining Dreier’s war chest.  Unlike last cycle, Dreier comes into the race with only $700,000 cash on hand.  Obviously these seats require two or three-cycle efforts, so it’s good to see Warner back.  And with national help, who knows?  LIKELY REP.

5. CA-48. Incumbent: John Campbell. PVI: R+8. 2008 General: Obama 49.3-48.6. 2008 Congress: Campbell 56-41.  John Campbell, who by the way loves him some Atlas Shrugged, is kind of a nonentity in Congress, and apparently doesn’t show himself much at home either.  Steve Young has done yeoman work building the party in this area in recent years.  And now, Beth Krom, an Irvine City Councilwoman, will run to win this seat.  Krom is battle-tested – she’s had 5 races over the last decade – and she has capably performed in the largest city in the district.  Krom actually outraised John Campbell in the first quarter of 2009, and she looks to build on that success.  We had a nice interaction with Krom at the CDP Convention, and she led off with a classic line: “This district has the largest cluster of diverse cultures in Orange County, it’s 30% Asian and East Indian, and John Campbell has never spoken to somebody who doesn’t look like him.”  She talked about her affordable housing strategies in Irvine, and the green strategies that have won national acclaim.  Folks in Orange County told me she’s the best candidate they’ve had to go up against a Republican incumbent in years.  Watch this race.  LIKELY REP.

6. CA-45. Incumbent: Mary Bono Mack. PVI: R+3. 2008 General: Obama 51-47. 2008 Congress: Bono Mack 58-42.  I thought Julie Bornstein really underperformed in this district in 2008, but Mary Bono Mack is kind of a slippery character.  She always adds enough votes to her resume to give the appearance of moderation (sometimes by voting for right-wing motions to recommit and then voting for the final bill so it looks like she’s a supporter), and given that she’s married to a Floridian and lives in Washington, she rarely comes back to the district.  This time around, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, a gay father of two, has announced a run, and he will focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs.”  This area shares the profile of a lot of California, with high unemployment and lots of foreclosures.  Pougnet’s challenge will be to actually get Bono Mack on the record.  LIKELY REP.

7. CA-46. Incumbent: Dana Rohrabacher. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: McCain 50-48. 2008 Congress: Rohrabacher 53-43.  Dana Rohrabacher remains crazy, but he managed to survive a major challenge from Debbie Cook in 2008.  Cook has shown no indication that she will run again, and because this seat is not one of the eight “Obama Republican” races that national Democrats have targeted, it is unlikely they will offer much in recruitment if Cook looks elsewhere.  Still, if Cook does change her mind, this race would move back onto the radar screen.  SAFE REP.

8. CA-04. Incumbent: Tom McClintock. PVI: R+10. 2008 General: McCain 54-44. 2008 Congress: McClintock 50.3-49.7.  Obviously the chances in this race rise or fall on the entry of Charlie Brown into the race.  Brown was in attendance at the CDP Convention, and he publicly mulled a run at an event with Gavin Newsom in Placer County recently.  So he hasn’t closed his mind to the option.  Meanwhile, McClintock has been as obstructionist and nutty as you’d expect.  I particularly enjoyed his Baghdad Bob claim that California didn’t have a water shortage.  Locally, sources tell me that McClintock is not well-liked by his fellow Republican electeds, who aren’t getting their phone calls returned.  But it all hinges on Brown.  SAFE REP.

9. CA-24. Incumbent: Elton Gallegly. PVI: R+4. 2008 General: Obama 51-48.  2008 Congress: Gallegly 58-42. This seat has been trending to the Democrats for some time, but the right candidate to challenge Elton Gallegly has yet to emerge.  Last year Marta Jorgensen raised very little in her race and still took 42%.  Gallegly is always a threat to retire – he actually did it in 2006 before being coaxed back – so that option remains as well.  Small businessman Shawn Stern has announced so far.  SAFE REP.

10. CA-25. Incumbent: Buck McKeon. PVI: R+6. 2008 General: Obama 49-48.  2008 Congress: McKeon 58-42. Much like CA-24, this expansive district his been trending Democratic.  In fact, no seat has a closer registration gap that’s currently held by a Republican.  But the Democratic Party infrastructure just seems to be lacking out here.  Jackie Conaway raised I think $10,000 total for her entire race last year.  She still managed 42% of the vote against Buck McKeon.  There is certainly a profile of a Democratic candidate that could attract serious votes out here.  But that person does not yet exist.  Meanwhile, McKeon thinks Barack Obama broke into his house, or something.  SAFE REP.