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9 California races that could decide the battle for the House in 2024

By 37ci3 Feb22,2024

LOS ANGELES – This fall, California is expected to deliver 54 electoral votes to Joe Biden and elect a new Democratic senator. But the state is also home to a number of hotly contested House races that could spark a battle for control of the chamber and make or break the president’s agenda over the next two years.

Five California Republican districts are estimated to represent President Joe Biden’s 2020 wins Daily Kos Elections, making them Democratic targets. Democrats likely need to win just four seats nationwide to take the House.

From the northern reaches of the Central Valley to the plush coastal estates of Orange County, California is home to competitive districts that are tightly divided between parties and up for grabs. While it’s blue along the populous coastline, the vast interior and rural areas toward the Arizona and Nevada borders are more conservative.

“When dysfunctional and out-of-touch Republicans ensure the chaos and extremism of their party in Congress and high turnout around the corner, the road to 218 will go through California,” said Democratic campaign spokesman Dan Gottlieb.

GOP campaign spokesman Ben Petersen said, “California House Republicans fit their districts like a glove, lead on local priorities and run the toughest, smartest campaigns. GOP candidates are on full steam ahead in building majorities.”

Under California’s open primary rules on March 5, the top two finishers in each race will advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

CA-13: Narrow Republican win sets up rematch

Freshman Republican Rep. John Duarte won this San Joaquin Valley district by just 564 votes in 2022, making it one of the closest midterm races. This time, Democratic State Assemblyman Adam Gray is eyeing a rematch, and his party is hoping to turn it around, seeing it as a prime election opportunity.

The GOP strategist said Duarte is still new and has room to raise his profile before his first re-election bid. If the 2022 margins are any indication, this race will be the tip of the spear in terms of whether Republicans will be able to hold on to ground or Democrats will claw back some of it in a high-turnout presidential election year.

CA-22: Can a Republican vote to impeach Trump survive?

David Valadao is one of two Republicans still serving in Congress who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, following the Capitol riot. Former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys, a Republican, is challenging her again in the 2022 primary after an unsuccessful bid in this Central Valley district. GOP outsiders, including the Congressional Leadership Foundation, have run ads targeting Mathys and Valadao.

Democratic groups have launched ads supporting former Assemblyman Rudy Salas, who lost to Valadao by 3 points in 2022 and is running against Democratic state Sen. Melissa Hurtado.

CA-27: Republican Rep. Garcia is running for a third term

In this district north of Los Angeles, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia won by more than 6 percentage points in 2022 over Democrat Christy Smith. This time, two Democrats — former Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides and perennial California congressional candidate Steve Hill — are running against Garcia. Whitesides reported making $771,000 in the final quarter of 2022, compared to $562,000 for Garcia. However, a decent chunk of Whitesides came from a $260,000 loan the candidate gave to his campaign.

CA-40: A close SoCal seat to watch

Biden narrowly carried this Southern California district by 2 points in 2020, but GOP Rep. Young Kim won a second term two years later by 14 points. Kim has kept a low profile on Capitol Hill, polling reliably with GOP leaders, avoiding the messy battles between center-right and far-right Republicans.

On the Democratic side, Tustin Unified School District Board of Education President Allyson Muñiz Damikolas is competing against Joe Kerr, a former fire captain and union president, to take on Kim, who is running for first-term in 2020.

CA-41: A possible rematch with Rollins for the GOP seat

Republican Rep. Ken Calvert is set for a possible rematch in 2022 against Democrat Will Rollins, who lost to Calvert by less than five points. Calvert has served for three decades, but the addition of Palm Springs has made the district an attractive prospect for Democrats. .

Rollins, a former federal prosecutor involved in counterterrorism and counterintelligence work, started his first television commercials Calvert entered the race last week, claiming he was “one of the most corrupt members of Congress.” Calvert fought back with a narrator who called Rollins “the worst prosecutor ever.” in their television commercialsArguing that Rollins’ release would “incentivize violent criminals to commit more crimes” and bring a “pro-crime agenda” to Congress.

CA-45: Steel struts for another tough fight

Republican Rep. Michelle Steele a According to a Daily Kos analysis, the district would win Biden by 6 percentage points in 2020. She is the only Republican running in the primary, but she faces four Democrats, including Garden Grove City Councilwoman Kim Nguyen-Penaloza. Confirmed by the Los Angeles Times. The district covers part of Orange County and has a large Vietnamese population, including Little Saigon within its borders.

CA-47: Cathy Porter’s seat is up for grabs

Stretching from Huntington and Newport Beaches to Irvine, it is the only outdoor location among the most competitive California races. He is being vacated by Democratic Representative Kathy Porter, who is running for Senate.

In 2022, Republican Scott Baugh lost to Porter by less than 4 points, or less than 10,000 votes, despite being heavily outspent. He’s giving it another shot this year, but the GOP is shutting down the vote.

Meanwhile, state Sen. David Min, a Democrat, and attorney and activist Joanna Weiss are vying for the other seat in the runoff. The Democratic race started early intervention Min from the pro-Israel AIPAC group. This district has been a bellwether for national trends; If Republicans win, they could be in a good position to retain their House majority.

CA-49: Coastal Race

Biden carried the district by 11 points in 2020, but Democratic Rep. Mike Levin won a third term in 2022 by just 5 percentage points.

A number of Republicans are vying to challenge Levin in this coastal district north of San Diego, including two self-funded candidates: media executive Margarita Wilkinson and car salesman Matt Gunderson. Other GOP candidates include Marine veteran Kate Monroe and auto executive Sheryl Adams, who has been endorsed by neighboring GOP Rep. Darrell Issa.

CA-09: A unique GOP candidate

Democratic Rep. Josh Harder was first elected in the 2018 blue wave and most recently won by nearly 10 points in this re-election district in 2022. Now he faces an unusual GOP candidate who is seen by national party operatives as a potential ticket to swing the district: Kevin Lincoln, the half-black, half-Mexican mayor of Stockton (pop. 320,000) who served in the Marine Corps. Lincoln’s campaign got off to a rough start last year then he stumbled on the TV because of his question He stopped mid-sentence before completing his answer on whether he would vote for a GOP defense bill with abortion restrictions. Could this candidate defy gravity against a Democratic incumbent in an area friendly to Biden? Republicans are trying to draw national attention to the race.

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