As Brian hit earlier today, these are tough times for the California Yacht Party. There are competitive races in the state Legislature, in particular the Assembly, in over 30% of the seats currently held by Republicans. Democratic allies are obviously feeling excited about these races as well, as the independent expenditures have jumped. Here’s my list of the top races in order of likelihood of a flip:
1) AD-80. Manuel Perez (D) is poised for victory in this Palm Springs-area seat. The polls have shown double-digit leads. LIKELY DEM.
2) AD-78. Marty Block (D), the recipient of a lot of that largesse from the IE’s, is not in an easy race with Republican John McCann (not McCain) by any stretch. The ads have been tough on both sides and the California Dental Association is unusually interested in knocking off Block. But it’s a Democratic year and the top of the ticket should help him. LEAN DEM.
3) AD-15. The big news here is that Ed Chavez, the Republican mayor of Stockton, endorsed Joan Buchanan for this seat. Chavez is a moderate and a former Democrat, but an endorsement like this in one of the bigger cities in the district is helpful. Buchanan looks strong. LEAN DEM.
4) AD-10. Calitics Match candidate Alyson Huber has her very first ad on the air, attacking her opponent Jack Sieglock for being a “career politician.” It’s funny, too (although I think everyone has to stop with the I’m a Mac/I’m a PC parodies). The response from the Sieglock camp has been to call Huber a carpetbagger, but considering she’s lived in the area and went to college there before transferring to Cornell, that hit doesn’t make a lot of sense. Unions are spending big up here. I think this one goes late into Election Night. TOSS UP.
5) AD-26. Jack O’Connell just endorsed John Eisenhut, and the state Democratic Party obviously has some numbers it likes – they just poured $300,000 into the race. There’s going to be a major flooding of the district with cash in the final week, and Eisenhut has a 5:1 cash-on-hand advantage. I really think this one is close, with Bill Berryhill slightly favored. SLIGHT LEAN REPUBLICAN.
6) AD-36. It really would be incredible to pull off this race. A Democrat has not represented Palmdale in this seat since 1974. But Linda Jones has a real chance to pull this off. Republican Steve Knight is an LAPD officer and he’s still favored, but I’m hoping against hope. This is the tipping point race. LEAN REPUBLICAN.
7) AD-37. Ferial Masry’s third try to unseat Audra Strickland (R) is getting a lot of residual help in this race from the hotly contested Senate contest in SD-19 between Tony Strickland. I don’t see a lot of people voting for one Strickland and not the other, so it’s even more helpful in this case. Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star thinks the race is tightening – he’s seen Strickland release several mailers and the Democratic Party play a bit on Masry’s behalf. Alberto Torrico and Karen Bass have been in the district. This is a sleeper. LEAN REPUBLICAN.
8) AD-02. The only reason this is up there is because the guy the Republicans put up may not live in the district.
A claim that Republican Assembly candidate Jim Nielsen doesn’t live in the district in which he’s running has apparently led the secretary of state’s office to refer the case for prosecution.
Complainant Barry Clausen of Redding received a letter from the state office, dated Tuesday. The one-page notice says it has concluded its investigation against Nielsen and referred the case for prosecution to the state attorney general’s office.
Going to the AG’s office is pretty far down the road. Paul Singh might just back into this race. LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
9) AD-59. Anthony Adams is actually an incumbent, making this a more difficult battle. But Bill Postmus’ explosion in San Bernardino county has soured the reputation of Republicans in the district, and Donald Williamson, the San Bernardino County assessor, has a decent profile. This is certainly on the far outside edge of being competitive. LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
10) AD-66. There’s still the idea that Grey Frandsen can steal this seat for the Democrats, and while it’s unlikely against incumbent Kevin Jeffries, The local Inland Empire paper has kept an eye on this race. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. LIKELY REPUBLICAN.
AD-63 and AD-65 have potential as well, but this time I think they’re SAFE.
1) SD-19. This is just an epic battle with loads of cash on both sides, mainly because it’s the only seat worth playing in for the State Senate. The Ventura County Star endorsed Hannah-Beth Jackson over Tony Strickland, and she used some humor to mock Strickland’s endless attack mailers. It’s going to be a long night waiting for this one in Ventura and Santa Barbara County. TOSS-UP.