Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: California Voting



Hello Everyone:

It is a lovely early spring Wednesday afternoon which means time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  Today The Forum wants to explore a developing situation in the 2018 Midterm Elections, could California flip the United States House of Representatives?  California, that predictably bluest of the blue states has found itself in the position of possibly swinging the majority in The House from Republican to Democrat.  As things stand at the moment, the Democrats need 24 seats to reclaim control (latimes.com; Dec. 31, 2017; date accessed Apr. 4, 2018).  What this means for the hopes of a #bluetsunami in November is that the path to that magic number runs through Blogger's home state and that Democratic candidates really need to win a handful of Republican districts if they hope to make the House blue again.  (latimes.com; Mar. 26, 2018; date accessed Apr. 4, 2018).  Who is running and what are their chances?  Shall we take a look?

As of right now, the Democratic push to retake control of the House rests on the results of a handful of races, 24 to be precise. The current make up of the House is 193 seats controlled by the Democrats to the Republicans 238, with four vacancies (pressgallery.house.gov Mar. 16, 2018; Apr. 4, 2018).  Winning those races would give the Democrats a hairline thin majority of one: 218-217.  How does California figure into this?

Taking a look at the California congressional races, Democrats would have to flip a number of districts in order to take over the House.  Cook's Political Report has broken down the House race into three general categories: "Solid Seats, Likely/Lean Seats," and "Toss-Up or Worse Seats" (cookspolitical.com Apr. 2, 2018; Apr. 4, 2018).  Likely means the seats are not considered competitive, at the moment, but have the potential to come into play.  Lean indicates the races are competitive but one party as the advantage.  Toss-Up signifies the race is anyone's guess (Ibid).  The categories are further broken down according to party.  Let us focus on the California races.

In the "Lean Democratic" subheading there are two seats open: CA-39 held by Representative Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and CA-49 held by Representative Darrell Issa (R-Vista).  Both gentlemen announced their retirements from Congress which means their seats are open.  Cook's rates the Rep. Royce's seat as even, it could go red or blue.  In the race to fill Rep. Issa's seat, Cook's gives the Republicans a one point edge (Ibid).  Both of these ratings are a clear indication of the changing political landscapes of their districts.

Twenty-one Republicans fall into the "Toss-Up" categories; three of which are from California.  The first race in the this category is CA-10 held by Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock). His race is rated as even as is the contest in CA-25 held by Representative Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) (Ibid).  The race to pay attention to is the contest in CA-48 to unseat Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).  although Cook's gives him a four point advantage (Ibid), Rep. Rohrbacher is a confirmed supporter of The President; leading Blogger believes that this race will be more competitive than Cook's predicts. 

Three California Republicans fall into the "Likely/Lean" categories: Representatives Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Nigel) CA-45, Tom McClintock (R-El Grove) CA-4, and David Valadao (R-Hanford) CA-21.  Cook's gives Rep. Walters a three point advantage but remains competitive.  Rep. McClintock's re-election campaign, so far, looks certain; Cook's gives him a ten point advantage.  However, things do not look so good from Rep. Valado.  Cook's gives the Democrats a five point advantage. (Ibid)

Rep. Valadao's race is particularly noteworthy because the 21st Congressional district went to former Secretary Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.  Rep. Valadao is being challenged by Emilio Huerta, the son of United Farmworkers legend Delores Huerta, in a rematch of their 2016 duel.  This should give Mr. Huerta an advantage in a district the trends Democrat (latimes.com; May 31, 2017; Apr. 4, 2018) and is over 70 percent Latino (Ibid).  Interestingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been somewhat hesitant to engage in this race because the powers that be in Washington felt strong-armed (Ibid; Feb. 20, 2018) into supporting Mr. Huerta by his influential mother. Ms. Huerta has denied any talk of other candidates challenging her son (Ibid).

The California Democratic primary is the first Tuesday in June and if you have not registered to vote, do it now.  Be that as it may, Mr. Huerta has emerged as the sole unchallenged candidate (Ibid Jan. 30, 2018) in contrast to the half a dozen candidates looking to unseat Rep. Valadao.  Delores Huerta's endorsement is absolutely crucial for any Latino Democrat with hopes of winning in California's Central Valley.  The race in the 21st district has not attracted any sort of national media attention or out-of-state donor, yet but could be the one race that decides if the House stays red or turns blue.

If the Democrats fail to flip this seat and fall one vote short of a majority, many in the DCCC will surely cast blame on Ms. Huerta and "maternal instincts for meddling in a race might have been won with a different candidate on the ballot" (cnbc.com; Feb. 28, 2018; Apr. 4, 2018). However, the real blame will be shouldered by he DCCC for "failing to embrace Huerta, and giving him the resource he needed to win a very winnable seat."