Going to California: a look at the CA House races.

Below is the general consensus of the competitive races in California’s House delegation. Said races are – to put it mildly – the result of one of the most comprehensive shakeups in state-level redistricting that we’ve seen in a while. Combined with a new jungle primary rule (basically: the top two vote getters in the primary advance to the general, regardless of party affiliation), the end result is, frankly, a headache and a half for people to forecast. Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook have done their usual thorough job, but trying to get one’s head around the new maps is not easy.

CD Republican Democrat CoH 2Q PVI Cook
CA-03 Kim Vann John Garamendi GOP GOP D+1 Li D
CA-07 Dan Lungren Ami Bera Dem Dem R+3 Toss-Up
CA-09 Ricky Gill Jerry McNerney Dem GOP D+2 Lean D
CA-10 Jeff Denham Jose Hernandez GOP GOP R+5 Lean R
CA-16 Brian Whelan Jim Costa Dem GOP D+2 Li D
CA-21 David Valadao John Hernandez GOP GOP R+3 Li R
CA-24 Abel Maldonado Lois Capps Dem Dem D+3 Lean D
CA-26 Tony Strickland Julia Brownley GOP GOP D+3 Toss-Up
CA-36 Mary Bono Mack Raul Ruiz GOP GOP R+3 Li R
CA-41 John Tavaglione Mark Takano GOP GOP D+3 Lean D
CA-47 Gary DeLong Alan Lowenthal GOP GOP D+5 Li D
CA-52 Brian Bilbray Scott Peters GOP GOP D+1 Toss-Up

Incumbents are in bold: bear in mind that this is incumbent to Congress, and usually not incumbent to the district). Also bear in mind that this list does not note the Democrats who will be facing other Democrats in the general election, the Republican who will be facing other another Republican in the general election, and – in the memorable case of CA-31 – the Republican who will be facing another Republican in a district that was supposed to be a Democratic one. Because I wasn’t joking when I said that this is a headache and a half.

So, what do we know?

Well… California Democrats haven’t really been having a great second quarter. Of the twelve races up there, the Democrats were outraised by their Republican opponents in ten of them (and have less cash on hand in eight of them). Given that only one of four Democratic incumbents had better fundraising quarters than their opponents, this seems fairly significant.


More to the point… I think that the Congressional delegation is going to end up being anything from +1 D to +2 R after 2012. More Democrats got stuck fighting each other in redrawn districts than did Republicans; the incumbents that retired largely handed off their districts to successors; and the CA-31 oopsie for the Democrats guarantees at least one Republican pickup. Looking at the chart above; trading an incumbent or two isn’t out the question, and I think that the toss-up races are just that; true toss-ups. It would in fact not surprise me to discover that for all the trouble that California went to ‘reform’ its primary system, the end result will be… not much in particular.

Which suggests that the original system wasn’t actually all that inferior to begin with.

Moe Lane (crosspost)


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