A Look at the 2020 Election: California, Nevada, and Utah

AP Photo/Noah Berger

Three states are on the agenda today starting with…


The Democrats currently hold a whopping 45-8 advantage in the House delegation.  That means there should be targets out there in a state where Trump has no chance of winning.  So where are these districts?

We can start in the Tenth District where Ted Howze for the GOP takes on Democrat incumbent Josh Harder.  Cook rates this district even and Harder did not exactly impress in 2018 winning by less than 10,000 votes.  Higher voter turnout in a presidential year could be a determining factor.

Another, better possibility is the Fresno-based 21st where the first term Democrat incumbent faces the man he beat in 2018, David Valadeo, by less than 1,000 votes in a favorable year for the Dims.  Valadeo previously won three elections by double digits.  A final target is the Fullerton-based 39th District where GOP candidate Young Kim is back for a shot at Gil Cisneros who won an open race in 2018 by less than 8,000 votes.

Before getting too excited, there are somewhat vulnerable GOP seats starting with the open 8th District due to the retirement of Paul Cook, the Republican incumbent.  Devin Nunes is not a surefire thing in the 22nd, but methinks both seats will be retained.

Mike Garcia, who won a special election in the 25th has to prove his mettle after winning a relatively low turnout event after Democrat Katie Hill who won in 2018 decided to have a thruple and resigned.  And the currently vacant 50th must be defended after Republican Duncan Hunter resigned after pleading guilty to misuse of campaign funds.  But with Darrell Issa the candidate for the GOP, given name recognition and fundraising ability, I do not think this district is too much of a worry.

What does this mean?  I am predicting a pick up of three seats for the GOP out of California.

California is always good for a plethora of referendums and 2020 is no different.  While the lemmings will vote for every bond and tax increase, there is also the question whether the state should re-adopt affirmative action guidelines.  Parolees could be granted the right to vote thus swelling the ranks of the Democrats, while they may also allow 17-year-olds the right to vote in special and primary elections if they will be 18 by the next general election.  Gee…what could go wrong here?  And if you are arrested, California wants to make cash bail a thing of the past.  Finally, they want to make app-based drivers (Lyft, Uber) classified as independent contractors and then apply their labor laws to them thus driving another business out of the state.  California- where good ideas go to die.


In Utah, current GOP lieutenant-governor Spencer Cox should cruise to victory.  There is an open Congressional seat- the First District- where Rob Bishop (GOP) is retiring, but this district is reliably red so Blake Moore should prevail.

In the 4th, Democrat incumbent, who surprised Mia Love in 2018, will face Burgess Owens for the GOP who survived a somewhat crowded primary.  Given the GOP slant of this district and McAdam’s threadbare victory in 2018 (winning by less than 700 votes), things should revert to normalcy in this district and the Republicans will reclaim it this year.

A word of note: Utah is not exactly a hotbed of Trumpmania.  Trump’s 45% of the vote total in 2016 to win the state was the lowest since Bush in 1992.  There was a similarity between 1992 and 2016: third party candidates depressed the GOP vote- McMullin in 2016 and Perot in 1992.  Still, Trump will prevail here since the option is Biden only.  Another caveat: this is also the state that gave us Senator Mitt Romney.  Hopefully, some buyer’s remorse is kicking in right about now.

Referendum questions of interest: Utah may have to go over their state constitution with a fine-toothed comb and remove all gendered nouns and pronouns and replace them with gender-neutral ones.  Incidentally, Utah is finally getting around to banning “slavery and involuntary servitude” in their state constitution (if voters agree).


The final state today is Nevada where there is no Senate or gubernatorial race.  The Congressional delegation will still favor the Democrats 3-1 when the votes are finalized.

In recent years, what was once a red state, then a swing state has been trending blue.  I think it has something to do with the Californization of the state as Nevada is slowly turning into the Golden State to the East.  However, consider the fact that Trump lost Nevada in 2016 by about 27,000 votes.  This time around, the Trump team is putting a greater effort into Nevada.  During the primary season, Trump threw more money into advertising in Nevada than that gaggle of Democrats running combined (excluding Steyer).

The strategy to build upon that relatively narrow 2016 loss is pretty straightforward.  First, they have to mobilize that 16% of the electorate over the age of 65 and tend to be conservative.  Second, he has to make some inroads with the powerful culinary union in Las Vegas.  Third, present a positive message about the economy.  Covid-19 may have upset things, but viruses are not forever.  The housing industry was/is booming in Nevada, a good economic sign.  Fourth, hammer away at the radicalism of the party headed by Biden and remind voters it is at odds with their western sensibilities.  Finally, remind those retirees and California transplants why they moved to Nevada in the first place.  Do they envision an overtaxed and over-regulated hell hole like California?  Then remind them that is what a Biden presidency would wreak upon America and Nevada.

This writer believes Trump has it in him to get these messages across to enough voters in Nevada.  He came within 27,000 votes in 2016 running on his name.  With the right message in 2020 in Nevada, he can overcome that deficit.  Now for the fearless prediction:  Trump will take this state.

Running Totals

Obviously, California played a large role here, but all things considered, it is not a tragedy.  Biden opens up a large lead 209-126 as he passes the 200 electoral vote count.  But fret not because there are more friendly states for Trump coming up.  Thanks again to California, the Democrats lead in the House 149-113 and in the Senate 36-34.


The Mountain states

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