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Now that the dust has settled on election 2012 it is time to look forward to 2014. Some would say that we are just about maxed out in the California delegation but that is not quite the case.

Below the fold for details.......

Courtesy of new boundaries that aren't an incumbent protection racket Team Blue picked up a very nice 4 districts on election night; as you can see here.

This leaves us with an all time high of 38 out of 53 districts in our column. Very nice.

But what about the other 15? It goes without saying of course that we should run candidates in all of them but how many could we actually win in 2014?

Lets start with the Ruby Red districts (ie. the Districts where we really don't have a shot and where demographics won't really help).

CA-01
This Inland Northern Californian district is unlikely to turn blue. It really was drawn to elect a Republican.
We had a reasonably strong candidate in Jim Reed who, yet again (he ran in 2010), got beaten comfortably.

Consider these stats:
2012 House Result: LaMalfa (R) 57.3%, Reed (D) 42.7% - Reed lost all 12 Counties in the District.
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 42.73%, D - 30.82%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 42.32%, D - 30.52%
2012 Prez - Too soon to tell but likely to be less than 40%

Given that GOP registration statewide has dropped below 30% this is one of the safer GOP districts. Mind you, in 2014 LaMalfa will only be a freshman.

CA-04
Another inland Californian District that was drawn to elect a Republican.

2012 House Result: McClintock (R) 61%, Uppal (D) 39%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 45.95%, D - 29.76%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 45.48%, D - 29.18%
2012 Prez - Again too early to tell but less than 40%

To be fair there are more Uppal/Obama voters and more registered Dems than Repubs in 2 of the 10 counties here. The problem is that they are 2 of the 3 smallest counties.

CA-08
The third of the Inland, please elect me a Republican, Districts and arguably the safest of the three (I think it is less safe than both the 1st and the 4th).

2012 House Result: Cook (R) 57.4%, Imus (R) 42.6%  
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 42.15%, D - 32.69%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 41.28%, D - 32.48%
2012 Prez - Obama - 41.66%, Romney - 55.63%

Your eyes don't deceive you - both candidates who emerged from the open Primary were Republicans. The highest placed Democrat ran 4th! Despite that the Voter Reg numbers are trending Blue, slightly.

But nonetheless nothing to see here move on.

CA-22
One of those Districts that I was curious to see the results for on election night. The result did not thrill me.
2012 House Result: Nunes (R) 62.3%, Lee (D) 37.7%  
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 45.19%, D - 34.85%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 45.32%, D - 33.36%
2012 Prez - Dunno but judging by the Voter Reg stats it will be less than 45%. Obama and Lee did not carry either of the counties in this District.

Lee was a good, enthusiastic campaigner who wasn't too shabby on the fundraising front. And he got smashed. Badly.

This District won't be going blue any time soon.

CA-23
2012 House Result: McCarthy (R) 73.2%, Phillips (I) 26.8%  
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 47.48%, D - 29.84%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 46.52%, D - 29.73%
2012 Prez - Obama - 36.13%, Romney - 61.51%. In a state that Obama won 59/38 these are truly ugly numbers.

Not having a Demcratic House candidate on the ballot says it all really.
This district has the highest percentage of registered Republicans of all 53 Californian Districts.
Not going to be on any target lists any time soon.

CA-42
2012 House Result: Calvert (R) 60.6%, Williamson (D) 39.4%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 45.42%, D - 30.04%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 45.11%, D - 29.73%
2012 Prez - Obama - 41.38%, Romney - 56.53%

With such a low Obama vote and with Voter reg stats almost as bad as the 23rd this So Cal district is staying red.

CA-45
2012 House Result: Campbell (R) 58.5%, Kang (D) 41.5%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 44.90%, D - 28.02%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 45.11%, D - 29.76%
2012 Prez - Obama - 43.02%, Romney - 54.78%.

Sukhee Kang ran hard and fell well short. A more than creditable effort although he did run a couple of points behind Obama. This district is slowly bluing but still has a 15+ point GOP registration advantage. The stats are just too overwhelming for me to think that this So Cal district will flip any time soon.

CA-48
2012 House Result: Rohrabacher (R) 61%, Varasteh (D) 39%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 44.79%, D - 28.45%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 43.88%, D - 28.38%
2012 Prez - Obama - 43.01%, Romney - 54.69%

The stats speak for themselves really. Not much is going to be happening here in yet another Ruby Red So Cal district any time soon alas.

CA-49
2012 House Result: Issa (R) 58.2%, Tetalman (D) 41.8%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 42.77%, D - 28.68%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 41.49%, D - 28.79%
2012 Prez - Obama - 45.66%, Romney - 52.25%

I almost didn't put this district in this category. What decided me is that Dem Voter Reg only increased by .10% since the Voter Reg Report on January 3 2012. one tenth of one percent in 10 months is not much movement and I would need to see some significant demographic change, ie. more registered Democrats, to be convinced that this is anything more than a lost cause for the next couple of cycles at least, as is the case with the cluster of So Cal districts that this is part of. The 13 point GOP Voter Reg advantage is also a rather tall order.

CA-50
2012 House Result: Hunter (R) 67.7%, Secor (D) 32.3%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 47.40%, D - 25.97%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 46.25%, D - 25.97%
2012 Prez - Obama - 37.56%, Romney - 60.41%

The district with the second highest percentage of registered Republicans in the whole state is not going Blue any time soon. Looks like a lot of the most red parts of San Diego and Riverside counties are in this district. Another So Cal district where not much is going on.

They are a bunch of ugly districts are the Ruby Red ones. That is not to say that a super star or raging populist Democratic candidate can't make any of these districts competitive. It is to say that a generic D candidate can't and won't make these districts competitive in 2014. Retirements and scandal can also obviously change the dynamics overnight.

The next couple of Districts aren't at the competitive stage yet but are moving that way. Call them the Longshots:

CA-25
2012 House Result: McKeon (R) 54.8%, Rogers (D) 45.2%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 40.72%, D - 35.33%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 39.42%, D - 35.41%
2012 Prez - Obama - 47.85%, Romney - 49.66%

This district provided one of the shocks of election night as McKeon was expected to cruise and ended up failing to break 55%. Romney also failed to break 50% here too. Dropping 1.3% in voter reg in 10 months goes some way toward explaining why McKeon will be in trouble in 2016 or 2018 at the latest. This district is made up of parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties and the Los Angeles part is bluing particularly rapidly. Watch this District over the next few cycles particularly if McKeon retires.

CA-39
2012 House Result: Royce (R) 57.8%, Chen (D) 42.2%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 40.46%, D - 32.34%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 39.23%, D - 32.34%
2012 Prez - Obama - 47.09%, Romney - 50.75%

Jay Chen had a real good run at this and fell well short but the trends do not portend well for Ed Royce; another GOP incumbent who may retire soon. The difference here is Orange County and if that continues to Blue this district will be competitive sooner rather than later.

The Longshot Districts WILL be competitive the only question is when........

Now for the fun Districts. These last few should be at the top of the target lists for Team Blue for 2014:

CA-10
2012 House Result: Denham (R) 52.7%, Hernandez (D) 47.3%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 38.29%, D - 40.89%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 38.66%, D - 39.70%
2012 Prez - Obama - 50.64%, Romney - 47.03%

Obama carried the District - check
Voter Reg advantage to Team Blue - check
Credible candidate in the mix - check (Hernandez is considering running again)

This District has all the makings of a competitive race in 2014. A cautionary note though. Denham ran more than 5% in front of Romney and has always attracted cross over support.
Hispanics make up almost 25% of the District so if they turn out as they did in 2012 then anything is possible. Whilst most expect that Hispanic turnout will drop in 2014. In California this is less likely to happen than elsewhere particularly if the GOP nominate a racist for Governor, as seems at least possible.

CA-21
2012 House Result: Valadao (R) 58.1%, Hernandez (D) 41.9%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 34.35%, D - 45.40%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 32.65%, D - 47.31%
2012 Prez - Still being calculated but I think Obama carried it by a couple of points.

Epic recruitment fail for the DCCC in 2012. Hernandez never looked like making this competitive despite an almost 15 point registration advantage and where Hispanics make up almost half of the electorate. If a Hispanic Democrat steps up, preferably State Senator Michael Rubio (which is unlikely as he withdrew in 2012 to look after his newly born daughter who has downs syndrome), then this district will be a barn burner.

CA-31
2012 House Result: Miller (R) 55.2%, Dutton (R) 44.8%
Voter Reg as 3/01/12: R - 35.91%, D - 40.98%
Voter Reg as 22/10/12: R - 34.73%, D - 40.93%
2012 Prez - Obama - 57.24%, Romney - 40.64%

Miller will have the dubious honour of being the Republican in the most Democratic district in the country. Why is it so? Californias' open primary system means that the top two candidates, irrespective of party, move from the Primary to the General. And whilst the DCCC were successfully avoiding two Republicans finishing first and second in CA-26 they took their eye off the ball here. Having 4 Democrats on the ballot splitting the vote didn't help either. The result? Two Republicans on the ballot in the General election and no Democrat.

It is inconceivable that this mistake will be repeated in 2014 and almost any Democrat will beat Miller in this 57% Obama district with a 16% Democratic Voter registration advantage.

The DCCC have already approached unsuccessful 2012 Democratic candidate Pete Aguilar to run again. Pete is also the Mayor of the city of Redlands which falls within the District. Expect him to run again and win.

So in summary expect California to stay on the radar of the DNC and the DCCC in 2014 with a trio of competitive races in GOP held districts (and heaps on our side too). More to the point expect other GOP held districts in California to become competitive in 2016 and beyond.

* My thanks go to the crew at DKE, particularly JeffMD for their tireless work in calculating Obama/Romney results by District.*

Originally posted to BENAWU on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 03:57 AM PST.

Also republished by California politics.

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