Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sanchezes Survive

There have been eight California reps who hadn't made a decision where to run. I assumed Linda Sanchez was a goner, as there were Democratic incumbents in all the districts that were carved out of her current district. Maybe she'd carpet bag to San Bernardino or Riverside? That seemed questionable. It turns out she can stay where she is. Grace Napolitano did an about-face. A few weeks ago she announced her intention to run in CA-38, as she lives in the district. She's decided to run in CA-32, leaving CA-38 for Sanchez. Almost none of Napolitano's current district is in CA-32 and she could be seen as a carpetbagger. She isn't moving that far and I'm not sure that a rep from only a few miles away will be considered a carpet bagger in the Hispanic community. Hispanics tend to be more mobile than Anglos. So they might not identify a person as a "local politician," but as a "Hispanic leader."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Other Shoe

I've been perplexed what David Dreier and Jerry Lewis were waiting for. I speculated that since the senate map challenge didn't include anything on congress, I assumed that ship had sailed. Were they really going to try to get 500,000 additional signatures and spend more money. The answer is yes. First, they need to collect the 500,000 signatures in three months. Then they have to hope that the Supreme Court will set aside the current districts until after a referendum. Then they have to hope the court draws better districts. None of these things are guaranteed. They can go for it, but if it fails they'll have to run in these districts. They don't lose anything by preparing for that in the interim.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New York, New York

I was looking through the Presidential voting numbers by congressional district and decided to index them against the national numbers to see how different the district was from the national average. For example, in NY-2 George W. Bush got 41% of the vote in 2000 and 46% in 2004. John McCain got 43% in 2008. When we adjust the percentages to the candidates’ national average we get that the district was D+9 in 2000, D+5 in 2004, and D+3 in 2008.

I noticed that Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, and Oregon districts were trending to the Democrats across the board. In Colorado the average district went from R+4 to D+2. Every district moved at least three points more Democratic. None of those were surprises.

What was a surprise was the states that are moving Republican. I expected to find Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia on the list. I was very surprised Massachusetts moved so far to the right. MA-1 and MA-8 pretty much stayed the same. The other 8 districts, however, moved on average from D+13 to D+7. Since I included only 2000 and 2008, there was no John Kerry effect. Massachusetts isn’t moving to the GOP any time soon, of course, but this would explain how Scott Brown could win an election. A D+13 state would be out of the question, but if it was still moving right, a D+5 or D+6 state can be won by a Republican. This suggests Brown was no fluke and that there may be congressional opportunities later in the decade depending on how the state is redistricted.

The other state that surprised me was New York. On the surface it doesn’t look like a big deal. The state moved 2.3 points more Republican between 2000 and 2004 and another 1.1 points between 2004 and 2008. Some of the districts, however, moved heavily to Republicans. The 8 districts that moved an average of 8.7 points more Republican had one thing in common, they were white majority districts in the New York metro area. In fact, there was only one white majority district that didn’t move at least 5.3 points more Republican. While NY-14 didn’t move more Republican, the other Manhattan district, NY-8 went from D+30 to D+21. That doesn’t put the district in danger of flipping to the GOP, but NY-1, NY-2, NY-4, and NY-9 all moved Republican enough that a Republican nominee might win them. If not in 2012, then in 2016.

What this tells me is that there’s a chance that the White majority areas in Long Island, Brooklyn, and Queens may be moving enough Republican that GOP congressional challengers could win these districts within the next decade. The one hurdle they’ll have to overcome is that redistricting could push these districts out of reach. Republicans need to make sure that these districts aren’t gerrymandered and left similarly. Republicans will have a good chance in the ones that keep moving to the GOP. We don’t know which ones will, so they should go for an equal shot in all of them. They don’t need to worry about creating safe seats for King or Grimm. The areas is moving far enough to the right that almost any redistricting will create districts each can win.

The stories circulating out there are that Republicans will settle for a 21-6 map, because that would “fairly” take out one Republican and one Democrat. I don’t understand how settling for 22% of the districts in a state where even John McCain got 37% of the vote is fair. Right now 9 districts have a positive McCain PVI and another 4 are moving that way. There are another 3 that may get there this decade.

If a map that isn’t gerrymandered in favor of the Democrats enables Republicans to be competitive in 13 districts, or even just 9, settling for 6 seats is shooting themselves in the foot. New York represents the greatest opportunity for Republican pick-ups in the next decade. Unless the Republicans settle for a map that makes 21 Democratic seats safe.

What is Dreier counting on?

I'm going to take a wait-and-see attitude. Anybody who has come to the conclusion that these are the final lines that people will run in in June of next year may have another think coming.

Set aside that the L.A. Times put in "think" instead of "thing." I count 16 California congressmen who have yet to announce their intentions. We can set aside Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Jackie Speier, Sam Farr, Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Susan Davis, and Maxine Waters. There's no indication any of them are retiring and none of them has a challenger either in their party or the opposition. They may have announced and there is just nothing on the web confirming it or may not feel the need to announce.

It's the other eight representatives that are up in the air. David Dreier appears to have the same attitude Jerry Lewis has that these aren't going to be the final lines. No one has made moves to challenge these lines, however, not even MALDEF, who sues pretty much everywhere. So I have no idea what mechanism they think will change the lines, let alone that new lines will be more favorable to them. You can put your head in the sand, but to what end? Declaring where you intend to run under these lines doesn't preclude changes.

The other six reps, Joe Baca, Dennis Cardoza, Linda Sanchez, Buck McKeon, Elton Gallegly, and Dan Lungren, either have two districts to choose from or may be weighing retirement. Gallegly may be waiting on McKeon's decision and will run in the safe CA-25 if McKeon doesn't. Linda Sanchez's current district is in the new 38, 40, and 44. Grace Napolitano is running in CA-38, Louise Royball-Allard is running in CA-40, while both Laura Richardson and Janice Hahn are running in CA-44. I have no idea what she'll do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kuykendall in the 47th

Former Republican congressman Steve Kuykendall is running for congress again, a decade after his House stint. Steve was one of the first people I met when I accidentally got involved with politics and he was helpful at the beginning of filming "Where's The Party?" In fact, he was the first person we interviewed. Needless to say, I'm in his corner.

As I wrote earlier, L.A. County has some of the worst lines for Republicans. There's only one Republican leaning seat, as the Republican leaning South Bay-Torrance-Peninsula have been broken up into two districts. This seat should heavily favor a Democrat. There's no incumbent, however, and Steve Cooley did win the district. So it's certainly not impossible.

I expected Craig Huey to run here, but I'm happy to see Steve give it a go.

California State Senate Analysis

I've been through the map and I don't see too much that's really out there. The 39th has a very odd shape but adding Escondido to it helps the GOP. The 12th, 14th, and 19th look more Democratic than I think they should be, but they're not so awful.

The biggest black mark I see is that Republicans will win at least 7 seats in 2014. Yet there are only 6 Republican senators in even numbered seats. Had the commission switched one of those seats, preferably the 28th, to 2012 the GOP would have one more seat after the 2012 election. Instead they'll have to wait two years. That one seat may make the difference in giving Democrats a 2/3 majority.
A possible negative for Democrats is that three senators who aren't up in 2012, Vargas, McLeod, and Calderon, are all running for congress. Calderon looks like a long shot, but the others could be favorites. If two of them win, a 27-13 Democratic advantage will be 25-13, not enough to raise taxes. That'd only delay things, however, since these are all safe Democratic districts. Once they have special elections the Democrats would get their 2/3 back.

Here's what to expect in 2012
3 - Wolk; Safe Democratic
7 - Desaulnier; Safe Democratic
9 - Hancock; Safe Democratic
11 - Leno; Safe Democratic
13 - Open; Safe Democratic
15 - Open; Safe Democratic
17 - Open; Safe Democratic
25 - Liu; Safe Democratic
33 - Open; Safe Democratic
35 - Wright; Safe Democratic

Add these 10 to the 14 Democrats already have and they have 24 seats locked up.

1 - Open; Safe Republican
21 - Runner; Safe Republican
23 - Emmerson; Safe Republican
29 - Huff; Safe Republican
37 - Walters; Safe Republican

Add these 5 to the 6 Republicans already have and they have 11 seats locked up.

In order to deny Democrats their 2/3 majority Republicans need to win three of the remaining seats.

5 - San Joaquin County - Toss-up
Republicans have a deep bench here, with businessman Chadwick Thompson, former assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, and assemblywoman Kristin Olsen all looking like possible candidates. Democratic assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani is termed out, and will be the likely Democratic nominee.

Tom Berryhill has been talked about for this seat, as he lives in the district. He already has a senate district, the 8th, and is in office through 2014. I suppose that if you can retain your senate district while running for congress, you could do the same while running for the state senate. So he wouldn't be risking anything running here. He'd be the best candidate and the 8th would be safe Republican if he resigned that seat to run here.

19 - Santa Barbara - Likely Democratic
Former Democratic assemblyman Pedro Nava told the VC Star: "[This district] almost looks like someone drew it for me."

Um, yeah, it kinda does. Jason Hodge, a firefighter, and former assemblywoman Hannah Beth-Jackson are also likely to run as Democrats. Former Santa Barbara County Supervisor Mike Stoker may run as a Republican.

27 - Thousand Oaks - Toss-up
The biggest grudge match on the slate has Republican senator Tony Strickland against Democratic senator Fran Pavley. Both are strong candidates who currently represent opposite ends of the district. Strickland is extremely influential in Republican circles up and down the state and should have no trouble raising a lot of money.

31 - Riverside - Toss-up
This district does favor Democrats ever so slightly but they have a poor history of winning seats in Riverside County. Assemblyman Jeff Miller is in on the Republican candidate, while former Democratic assemblyman Steve Clute is also committed. Termed out Assemblyman Paul Cook is another possibility.

39 - San Diego - Likely Democratic
It looks like Assemblywoman Toni Atkins and assemblyman Martin Block will be lining up on the Democratic side. Nathan Fletcher would be a good candidate but he's running against Rep. Bob Filner for mayor of San Diego. Assemblyman Martin Garrick appeared to be a likely Republican nominee, but he was recently arrested on a DUI.

Democrats could have a 27-13 advantage after 2012, maybe even 28-12, but Republicans could deny them that and keep it at 26-14. If they get a referendum on the ballot, these districts might be shelved and they may use districts drawn up by the California Supreme Court. If they are slightly better Republicans could temporarily deny Democrats a 2/3 majority. If the referendum loses, Republicans are okay under these lines in 2014 when they'll pick up at least one seat.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Sherman-Berman Conundrum

Brad Sherman has released a poll which, like Janice Hahn's before him, is designed to get his fellow Democrat, in this case Howard Berman, to run elsewhere. The poll has Sherman at 42%, Republican Mark Reed at 26%, and Berman at 17%. This is a district that is 49% Democratic, 26% Republican, 21% Decline to State, and 4% other parties.

It seems unlikely Reed would only get 26% of the vote in a three way race with no other Republican, American Independent, or Libertarian alternative. In last year's most one-sided contest, the race for treasurer, Bill Lockyer got 58% of the vote, Mimi Walters 29%, and other candidates 13%. If there were no other right leaning candidate on the ballot Reed will get over the magic 30% mark, ensuring him of a slot in the fall.

Even at 26% he still advances. Setting aside the remaining undecided votes, the Sherman-Berman race would have to be 32%-27% for him not to. It's unlikely you'll get that close a Democratic race AND a Republican who can't get the Republican vote. What makes it hard for Berman is that while he could get a significant amount of Republican votes in a head-to-head with Sherman, he just won't siphon enough Republican votes from an actual Republican in the primary. If he can't win a greater share of Democrats Howard Berman is sunk.

California Republican Dilemma

The big refrain when Republicans claim that the California Redistricting Commission gave them too few seats is: “They’re doing badly because they have an unpopular extreme philosophy that’s out of step with Californians.”

Nice sound bite. Except it’s not true.

In the average statewide race in 2006 and 2010 the GOP got 44.7% of the vote. That’s not good, but it’s hardly the GOP’s worst state in the country. And it’s not “an unpopular extreme philosophy.” In almost every election the GOP got above 40%, but the lowest total was 37% in the 2006 senate race.

On a congressional level you have some seats which were unopposed. I filled in an approximate number of votes based on other elections. The GOP got 42% of the congressional vote in 2006, 39% in 2008, and 44% in 2010.

So the worst Republicans have one in the last three elections is 37%. That’s likely the absolute floor. Yet right now Republicans have 35% of the assembly seats, 38% of the senate seats, and 36% of the congressional seats. Based on statewide vote totals this should be the worst Republicans can do.

Yet the GOP is expected to lose seats in all three contingents in less gerrymandered maps. And it’s not due to that extreme philosophy. To better understand this, we need to look at county by county vote totals for the typical race, the 2010 gubernatorial contest between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.

In San Diego and Imperial Counties Whitman got 52.6% of the vote. The GOP is expected to win 3 of 5 congressional seats, 60%. Someone has to win at least 3, so that’s about right. Let’s add the next three counties north of it, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino. These counties are a little better for Republicans. In the 5 counties the Whitman got 55.1% of the vote. Republicans are favored in 9 of the 16 contests in the 5 counties, 56.2%. So that’s about right.

It all falls apart when you add Los Angeles County. Republicans don’t do as well here and managed to get only 33.7% of the vote. As a result they only have 1 of 13 Los Angeles County seats, 7.7%.

When Los Angeles County is added to the total the Republican vote share drops to 45.2%. Yet there are only 27.6% Republican leaning congressional districts in the 6 counties.

It gets even worse if we add the Bay area. Whitman’s 29.5% showing is poor but it results in Republicans winning 0 of the 11 congressional districts. With those added in, the GOP drops to 40.7% of the vote. That’s low, but would still be 16.3 of the 40 congressional seats if they were assigned proportionally. Instead they only have 8, 20%.

Statewide Meg Whitman got 43.2% of the vote. Yet she won only 15 districts, 28%.

The problem that Republicans have is the size of the districts. Big districts hurt badly. Statewide they were shut out despite 43% of the vote in 2010.

So what’s the solution? Well, we aren’t going to a parliamentary system any time soon. So the GOP can’t get the seats awarded proportionally. The smaller the district, the more likely we’ll zone in on a Republican leaning area. The assembly has 80 seats, 20 of which are in L.A. County. Whitman won 3 of these. Of course 15% of the seats of the seats is still too low, but it doubles the 7.7% Republicans have in congressional districts.

So the answer is to increase the number of districts to a point where they’re small enough that Republicans take a greater proportion of seats. There’s a good reason to do that. In Texas the average legislator represents 168,456 people and the average senator represents 815,110. In Florida the numbers are 157,506 and 472,519. Finally, in New York it’s 129,474 and 313,243.

In California, it’s 466,775 and 933,550. That’s too many people. If California did it like the other three states, there would be 221-288 members of the legislature and 46-119 members of the senate, with Florida in the middle at 79. So increasing to 160 assembly seats and 80 senate seats would be a reasonable proposal. I’d go to 250 in the legislature, but that might be too big an increase to do all once. Californians do hate the lawmakers in Sacramento and would go for anything that’d dilute the power. Who knows, maybe some ordinary people would get elected.

The more seats and smaller districts will result in more seats Meg Whitman won. And that’s a referendum Californians could get behind.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two Cagey Congressmen

San Bernardino County will have three congressional seats in 2012, one that's safe Democratic, one that's safe Republican, and one that will be anywhere from likely Democratic to a toss-up depending on who runs. While many other congressmen were quick to announce their intentions after the new lines were released in late July, Joe Baca and Jerry Lewis have been notably silent. Both spoke with the Riverside Press-Enterprise and... we still know nothing. Baca may run in the safe 35th or the more competitive 31st. Lewis may run in the safe 8th or the more competitive 31st. In the article neither says what they're going to do, what'll factor into that decision, and when they'll decide.

Both these congressmen are 800 pound gorillas. Members of their own party will avoid the district they choose. So while two Democrats have committed to run in the 35th, they might switch to the 31st if Baca runs there. A Republican is committed to the 8th, but would likely reconsider if the Lewis chooses that district.

Left up in the air is David Dreier. A lot of Dreier's current district is in the L.A. County 27th, with some in the 28th and 32nd. None of these appear to be districts Dreier can win. Most of the remainder of his district is in the San Bernardino County 31st. As near as I can tell the 8th may contain some mountainy area from Dreier's 26th but few, if any people. The 31st would be the most obvious landing spot, but he could try the 8th if Lewis decides on the 31st.

Everyone is waiting on Lewis and Baca. They'll have to wait a little longer.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Janice Hahn leads imaginary election

Janice Hahn released some internal poll numbers for a Democratic primary in the new 44th district. Hahn leads Laura Richardon 47%-24% with Isadore Hall getting 7% and 22% undecided.

That's great except there won't be a Democratic primary in 2012. So they could've polled Hahn's numbers on becoming Snow White at Disneyland. Isn't that where imaginary things happen? There will be a jungle primary next June. The district is 64% Democrats, 14% Republican, 18% Decline to State, and 4% other parties. The article isn't clear whether it's only Democrats who are polled, but if they're using words like "Democratic primary" that seems likely. There's no Republican in the race and that could change things. If the numbers are only Democrats, Richardson's 24% could be only 15% of the overall electorate. She might finish third.

The numbers do show Hahn leading Richardson, 47% to 26% one on one, the way the November election will be. If those numbers were to hold up, Hahn should win regardless whether this poll is Democrats or the whole electorate. And November 2012 is two elections from now.

Of course they aren't polling for results that'll happen 15 months from now or even 10 months from now. They're trying to encourage Richardson to run elsewhere and hope these numbers push her to that.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Schiff Commits

To no one's surprise Adam Schiff is running in the 28th district. It remains to be seen if he'll get a serious Democratic challenger.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Evaluating California's Congressional Districts

Who really benefits most from the new California congressional map? Does it make sense for the Republican Party to challenge them? It does, but only if it’s highly unlikely it could be worse if the court draws it. Why go through this process if it doesn’t benefit the GOP?

So I decided to analyze each area of the state and score it. My comparison is to what it could be if the California Supreme Court drew it. If the area doesn’t benefit either party, I scored it a zero. If it’s drawn to favor one party I gave it a 1. If it’s drawn to give a party a good edge, I gave it a 2. If it’s a gerrymander I gave it a 3. I’m skipping the Democratic areas in Los Angeles and the Bay area. These areas are so Democratic that they’d look the same regardless of the gerrymander.

Northern California (Districts 1-3)
These are currently two safe Democratic seats and one safe Republican seat. In the first draft there was two safe Democratic seats and one likely Republican seat, pretty much a Democratic gerrymander. The final maps have packed a lot of Democrats into the 2nd district, taking some Republicans into a 3rd district that only leans Democratic. It also restored the 1st district to safe Republican.

This is almost a Republican gerrymander. You don’t want to disrupt this.
Score: Republicans +2

Sacramento (Districts 4, 6, 7)
Right now there are one safe Democratic district, one safe Republican district, and one district that is lean/likely Republican. Democrats would crack Sacramento and make two safe Democratic districts, but that’s not going to happen in a neutral map. Unfortunately, the commission has packed Republicans into the 4th district and left the 7th district a toss-up.
Score: Democrats +1

Central Valley (Districts 9, 10, 16, 21, 22, 23)
We pretty much knew that there would be two safe Republican districts from Fresno to Bakersfield. Republicans would crack these districts. The commission made two districts that are pretty much Hispanic majority, so it was inevitable that there wouldn’t be a third Republican district.

The 9th and 10th are actually a little more Democratic than they were before, probably going from lean Democrat and safe Republican to likely Democratic and likely Republican. The 16th is similar to the current 18th district, but the 21st is a lot more Republican than the current 20th. Republicans lost this district on a recount in 2010 and it looks like it’ll be open. It’ll be a prime pick-up for the GOP.
Score: Even

Coast (District 24)
This district went from safe Democratic to a toss-up. This was likely to happen in a neutral map, so it isn’t a Republican gerrymander.
Score: Republicans +1

Ventura County (District 26)
This district should lean Republican. Instead it’s a toss-up/lean Democratic. It’s definitely a gerrymander but it isn’t one so blatant that Republicans can’t win here.
Score: Democrats +1

San Gabriel Valley (Districts 27 and 32)
In a Republican gerrymander there’s a district for David Dreier. This isn’t really a gerrymander. It was inevitable that Democrats would get two districts. I probably should score this even, but I’ll give it to the Democrats.
Score: Democrats +1

San Bernardino (Districts 31 and 35)
It seemed likely that there would be two safe Democratic seats here, but they’ve packed a lot of Democrats into the 35th and taken some Republicans from the 8th and put it in the 31st. The 31st still leans Democratic, but that Republicans have a shot here is a big benefit.
Score: Republicans +1

LA Coast (District 33)
There’s no two ways about this district being a Democratic gerrymander. It’s actually a little more Republican than the current 36th district, but probably isn’t possible for Republicans to win.
Score: Democrats +2

Riverside (Districts 36, 41, and 42)
May Bono Mack has gone from lean Republican to likely Republican. Ken Calvert has gone from lean Republican to safe Republican. All this while the Riverside district is possible to win, especially since Democrats don’t have a good bench here.
Score: Republicans +2

Orange County (Districts 39, 45, 46, 47, and 48)
The 39th, 45th, and 48th are all a little more Republican. They were probably safe Republican before, but that doesn’t hurt if the area moves Democratic. Republicans have the good fortune that the commission drew a Long Beach district into Orange County. I thought that’d only happen with a Republican gerrymander. The district is probably lean Democratic as an open seat, but that’s a lot better than the current Long Beach district.

The 46th is actually a touch more Republican than it was before, but not as Republican as it could have been. This is a Democratic gerrymander sucking in as many Hispanics as possible. The district is likely Democratic, probably the best Democrats could do here.

Assuming that at least one of the 39th, 45th, and 48th will move more Democratic this turns out to be a good redistricting for the GOP.
Score: Republicans +1

San Diego (Districts 49-53)
A Republican gerrymander would have three safe or likely Republican seats. A Democratic gerrymander would spread out the Democrats over more than two seats. The fifth district is the big question. While it could be better, it’s still likely Republican with Brian Bilbray running. Still, I’ll call it a push.
Score: Even

My calculation is that the map is Republicans +2. This certainly isn’t a Republican gerrymander. The gerrymanders for Republicans at least balance out the Democratic ones. At the very least this is a neutral map. I might be too generous scoring this for the GOP, but four districts that are gerrymandered Republican, CD-21, 31, 41, and 47 might be open seats. They could just tweak the map a little bit and turn these Democratic leaning open seats into safe ones and make seats with Democratic incumbents less safe. You want the seats that are competitive to be open.

I don’t think the GOP should take a chance on the supreme court drawing the map. Yes, Republicans could benefit, but I think they’re there’s at least a 50% chance they’ll get a worse map. Anything over 20-25% isn’t worth the chance.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who we're waiting for in California

In the last few days John Garmendi has decided to run in the 3rd district, Pete Stark in the 15th, and Anna Eshoo in the 18th. None of these are surprises, but what is a surprise is how slow some of the other congressmen are. These are the maps unless there's a successful lawsuit or a referendum gets on the ballot. A successful lawsuit by a group like NALEO probably won't change very many districts and each wouldn't change much. A referendum would put everything on hold, but there isn't a referendum drive yet the way there is for the state senate. It's not smart to count on a referendum that might not make the ballot. Even if it does, that doesn't mean the districts will be demonstrably different.

Let's go with who we're waiting for:

Dan Lungren
Why hasn't he announced? Lungren is probably evaluating his possibilities. Does he run in the 4th, almost certainly against fellow Republican Tom McClintock? It's a slam dunk Republican district, but McClintock is seen as the favorite since there's more of his old district here. His odds might be longer in the 7th, where he not only has Democrats lining up but possibly a Republican challenger. He may be in discussions with Tom McClintock, but I don't see anywhere else McClintock will want to run.

What are the consequences? Potentially dire. Two Democrats have announced and both look like strong candidates. Former congressman Doug Ose has expressed interest. Lungren doesn't want Ose or any other Republicans in because if there are too many the two Democrats could finish 1 and 2.

Jerry Lewis
Why hasn't he announced? Denial. Lewis keeps saying that these won't be the final lines. He seems to want the district drawn to his specifications, something that won't happen no matter who does it.

What are the consequences? Every day he waits hurts him. In 2010, Lewis only got 43% of the primary votes. Democrat Pat Meagher got 31%. Republican Eric Stone got 26%. Stone showed no fundraising, while Meagher's total was... well. meager. Lewis is likely to be on the tea party's radar this time because of his reputation as an appropriator. He's already got one Republican challenger. The Democrat will pull enough Democratic votes to get to November. So one Republican might be all that it takes.

Nancy Pelosi
Why hasn't she announced? Maybe she feels she doesn't need to. It's assumed.
What are the consequences? None. This is San Francisco.

Barbara Lee
Why hasn't she announced? She probably doesn't need to either.
What are the consequences? None. This is Oakland.

Jackie Speier
Why hasn't she announced? She's fairly new, so she's not going anywhere. Maybe she announced and I missed it.
What are the consequences? I could see a Democratic challenge but none is on the horizon yet.

Dennis Cardoza
Why hasn't he announced? He has nowhere to run now that Jim Costa has announced he's running in the 16th. He could try the 10th, but that's a likely Republican district. He could try the 21st, but that district will lean Republican and he doesn't currently represent any of it.
What are the consequences? He's missed the bus here. I see him retiring.

Sam Farr
Why hasn't he announced? It may be similar to Lee and Pelosi. He is 70 years old, so he could retire. But then he's younger than Pelosi.
What are the consequences? He can probably wait as long as he wants.

Devin Nunes
Why hasn't he announced? He might not need to. He's been unchallenged before.
What are the consequences? None.

Kevin McCarthy
Why hasn't he announced? Same as Nunes. This is the most Republican district in the state. He's now majority whip. He isn't going anywhere.
What are the consequences? I suppose he could get a tea party challenge, but it wouldn't go anywhere.

Buck McKeon
Why hasn't he announced? He could be considering retirement, although that's not likely given his position in congress.
What are the consequences? None. He's in McKeon country.

Elton Gallegly
Why hasn't he announced? Speculation is high that he might retire. His home and base are in McKeon's district, while his old one is now a toss-up.
What are the consequences? No Republicans have lined up yet, but that will change. He needs to get out in front if he's planning on staying.

Adam Schiff
Why hasn't he announced? No idea.
What are the consequences? Anthony Portantino is looking for somewhere to run. Schiff would prefer it be against Judy Chu. He shouldn't wait.

Karen Bass
Why hasn't she announced? I know she wanted a very different district, but she will run for re-election.
What are the consequences? Probably none, but she doesn't want a rich white Democrat challenging her here.

Joe Baca
Why hasn't he announced? The committee threw him a curve ball when they made his preferred district competitive. He's deciding whether he wants to leave San Bernardino.
What are the consequences? He's the only Democrat in San Bernardino County. He can choose his district in his own good time.

Maxine Waters
Why hasn't she announced? Click this link. If the first thing your website says is that you're innocent of corruption charges, re-election might not be the top priority. She might want to wait until the investigation is behind her.
What are the consequences? Waters is an older Democrat under ethics investigation in a district she doesn't live in that's becoming less Black and more Hispanic. No one has challenged her yet, but I think there will be.

David Dreier
Why hasn't he announced? His options are limited. He might be waiting to see if Baca abandons the 31st or Lewis retires.
What are the consequences? It really can't get worse for him.

Linda Sanchez
Why hasn't she announced? Other Democrats claimed the 34th, 38th, 40th, and 44th, so she doesn't have a district where she lives. That said, there are a bunch of new Hispanic districts in Southern California. I doubt she'd be considered a carpet bagger by a Hispanic population that understands moving for a job. She might be weighing her options and talking to people in each district.
What are the consequences? You snooze, you lose. Does she have a plan?

Susan Davis
Why hasn't she announced? I doubt she's retiring, but with Bob Filner retiring she's the only San Diego Democrat and there's an open seat next door. That's a better bet for other Democrats.
What are the consequences? Like Baca, she can probably take her own sweet time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Could Bass or Lee be beat?

The Voting Rights Act says, that minorities should be able to elect the candidate of their choice. Their choice is interpreted as being someone of the same ethnic group. After all, why would someone who is Hispanic choose anyone other than a Hispanic?

What the minimum population percentage is varies from state to state. In some back room the ethnic group's politicians determine the minimum percentage of their ethnic group so that they can keep their elected position. The candidate of their choice is determined as the person who wants to get re-elected. In many states the level is 51% CVAP. Not only does this elect the minority candidate, but usually elects him or her in a one sided race.

California is a bit trickier for Black candidates. While Blacks used to have majorities or near majorities in three Southern California districts there aren't enough Blacks there for anything close to that any more. A Black candidate can win in Los Angeles with a much lower threshold, because these districts often have a high percentage of Hispanics. Hispanics vote in low numbers and they don't have well established politicians to mount a challenge.

Black activists were able to manipulate the commission to spread the Blacks fairly equally into three districts that traditionally elect Black candidates. What the activists didn't count on was that Janice Hahn would determine that CA-44 was her best chance of staying in congress. She may win and end Laura Richardson's congressional career.

CA-37 is dissimilar enough to the current CA-33 to cause Karen Bass a potential problem. They've added middle class/upper middle class White areas like Century City, Mar Vista, and Rancho Park to her district. The White population has only increased 4%, but the Black population has dropped 5%. Thus, the White population now outnumbers the Black population. And this is an atypical Black population, since it contains middle income areas like Baldwin Hills and Ladera Heights. They tend to vote similar to lower income Blacks, but that could change. Upper income Whites vote differently than lower income Whites.

CA-37 has a comparable amount of people making $100,000 to districts with much lower Black CVAPs. The other LA districts with Blacks don't compare. In Oakland Barbara Lee has a similar increase in Whites and decrease in Blacks. No Republican is going to win either district, but maybe a progressive White candidate like Debra Bowen could. None have tried before, but the rules are all new this year in California. It's no longer taboo to challenge a Democratic incumbent and it might be acceptable for a White candidate to challenge a minority candidate.

California 43 and 44

The Hahn family bread and butter has always been working class people. The poorer the better. Kenneth Hahn was widely loved in the African-American community and Janice Hahn trades on that. Yet this part of LA has elected African-Americans to congress even as it's become a Hispanic district.

Whoever can get Black community leaders behind them has a big leg up. Laura Richardson is... ethically challenged, so they might pass on her. I don't know much about Hall.

Ten or 15 years ago Hispanic elected officials were nowhere, but now there's a lot of strength. Napolitano, Roybal-Allard, and Becerra have all staked out seats. Tony Cardenas and Roger Hernandez are likely favorites in new districts.

Linda Sanchez has no district right now. There's no reason she can't run in the 44th. A Hispanic like Sanchez could win the 44th even after all these candidates have declared. The district is 49% Hispanic CVAP, so being able to do an interview in Spanish on KMEX can be very very important.

The 43rd is intriguing. It's plurality Black CVAP. That usually leads to a Black elected official, but no one has declared for this district. It's been assumed that Maxine Waters will run here, but she hasn't announced her intentions. She turned 73 yesterday. She could call it quits. Of course if she does, there'll be no shortage of Black candidates. Could a Hispanic win? The district is 33% Black/29% Hispanic CVAP. No Hispanic has won such a district, but that's only the case until someone does.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Commission Approves Maps

The Citizens Redistricting Commission approved all the maps this morning, with them getting the minimum number of Republicans needed voting yes. Commissioner Mike Ward voted no on everything and makes some good points about the maps. Redistricting Partners takes this further, although it's difficult to see how they moved voting age citizens changed the maps.

GOP Chairman Tom Del Beccaro is upset about the state senate maps and he makes a good case. I don't know if there was any hanky-panky. There might not be any evidence of fire but there is a lot of smoke right now. Would the California Supreme Court give Republicans better maps? They should sue only if they think a map is near the bottom of what they can expect.

One thing that goes against Republicans is that there are 7 safe Republican even numbered seats, but only 6 Republicans in even numbered seats. The GOP could expect to make at least 1 even numbered seat, but the problem is that those seats aren't up until 2014. That should be fine then, but will hurt them in the next legislative session.

I'm interested to see how quickly congressmen who've been silent so far make their intentions known. If they delay there may already be challengers in the race. If they declare early, that might scare off opponents. Jim Costa declared for CA-16, leaving Dennis Cardoza with the choice to challenge Costa in the district or go elsewhere.

Ia Howard Berman reading my blog? In my analysis I mentioned that a Republican candidate should get enough votes to make the November election, leaving the Berman-Sherman loser to packing his bags and leaving congress. You can't predict now how Democrats are going to vote, but Berman could easily lose them by a few points.

So what do you do? Grab Republicans now. One thing Orlov doesn't mention is that Galpin Ford is where the San Fernando Valley Republican Club meets every month. At some meeting in the next six months Boeckmann will get up and tell Republicans there why Berman is better for Republicans than Sherman. Howard Berman will walk into a meeting no one ever imagined he would, make a short speech, and then take a lot of lumps from constituents who have never been happy with his legislative record. Berman will smile and attempt to defend his votes, without getting combative. It won't be pretty, but he'll make points on how his votes have been better for Republicans than what Brad Sherman voted. He'll probably emphasize how his work has benefitted their business.

Everyone knows a Democrat will win the election in November 2012. The question is which Democrat faces off against a Republican. Berman won't need Republican votes then. He can get by with Democratic votes. He needs them now. Most of the people there won't vote for Berman in June, but he doesn't need most of them. If Berman can grab 15% of Republican voters next June, say 5% of the total vote, that'd likely be enough to help him finish top two.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Who's running for congress in California? Part II

Below are the remaining districts. I highlighted in blue the races where a party doesn't have a candidate. Republicans have a lot more blue than Democrats, because no one is going to be too quick to run in safe Democratic districts.

CA-29 is the district Hispanics wanted ten years ago. As soon as the maps were released L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas declared his candidacy. Sitting congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman passed. Right now Cardenas is the only announced candidate, but that's likely not going to be for long. Senator Alex Padilla and Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes are possible candidates.

CA-30 is the big showdown district. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are two heavyweight Democratic congressmen with big bank accounts. This will be a knock down, drag out fight and one that's likely to be decided in June, rather than November. One of the reasons is that a Republican would be a long shot to win this district. Because of that there's not liable to be more than one Republican candidate who garner votes. That candidate will get somewhere between 30-40%. If the Berman-Sherman race is tight neither candidate is likely to get more than 31-32% of the vote. And that's if no Green, Peace and Freedom, or other Democrat enters the race. There are often some fringe candidate who'll grab 0.5%-1.0% of the vote. That's going to make it too difficult for them to both finish first and second. I look forward to it.

In June, San Bernardino Democrats wanted congressman Lee Baca to run in the Ontario district. Baca demurred, wanting to run in the safer San Bernardino district. That's been reversed. The Ontario district is safe Democratic, but the San Bernardino district is only slightly Democratic. If Baca runs in CD-35, that'd leave CD-31 wide open. As Aaron Blake suggests this'd be the best landing spot for David Dreier. Upland and Rancho Cucamonga are loaded with Dreier voters and both cities are in this district. At the other end of the district there are Jerry Lewis Republican voters in Redlands, Loma Linda, and Grand Terrace. Lewis is likely to run in CA-8. Dreier has been regarded as doomed since the commission started its job. He might not be.

The 32nd is another new Hispanic district and Assemblymember Roger Hernández has already declared. Assemblymember Anthony Portantino may be his challenger. This should be another entertaining Democrat on Democrat district.

Mary Bono Mack is likely to run in CD-36. Steve Pougnet, the mayor of Palm Springs, has declined a rematch with Bono Mack. She might not get a quality opponent. This district is a little more Republican than Bono Mack's old district. She figures to be fairly safe here.

Rep. Grace Napolitano has decided on CA-38. She has a challenge from state senator Ronald Calderon in yet another Democratic face-off.

Linda Sanchez also lives in the district and she may want to avoid a grudge match against Napolitano. Her alternatives aren't great. She could move to San Bernardino or Riverside, but neither of those areas are in her district. Carpetbagging is always a questionable choice. Sanchez could run in CA-47. It's not a safe Democratic district and Alan Lowenthal is likely to beat her there. She'd finish third in the primary.

Craig Huey has told his supporters not to throw away their yard signs. The district Huey ran in last month, CA-36, was fairly blue but didn't include his home down on the PV Peninsula. That's currently in Rohrabacher's red district. His home will be in Waxman's district, one that'd be a real long shot for a Republican to win as an open seat, let alone against Henry Waxman.

The alternative for Huey is CA-47, which goes from Long Beach into Orange County. It doesn't contain his home but it's a few points more Republican than the new CA-33 and is likely to have no incumbent running. Huey would likely face off against Lowenthal in the fall.

CA-44 is likely to have a Hahn-Richardson face off in June and again in November. This was the second worst district in the state for Meg Whimtman, so no Republican is likely generate much support.

From 2004 to 2010 there were two new reps each year. In 2012 there are seven open seats, but there could be easily twice that many new reps. The Wild West indeed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who's running for congress in California?

California will literally be the Wild West next year. Because the elections should be very wild. There are now 7 open congressional seats and there likely will be more. Most states don't even have 7 seats.

Due to the redistricting some incumbents' districts are too unfavorable to run in. So they're either running elsewhere, retiring, or in limbo. Lynn Woolsey and Bob Filner are retiring. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are Democrats running against each other, while Ed Royce and Gary Miller are likely Republicans opposing each other. David Dreier, Elton Gallegly, Linda Sanchez, and Dennis Cardoza have been silent about their plans.

California's term limits are also contributing to the melee. Not only are there term limits in the assembly and senate but many city councils and county governments also have term limits. Normally a politician turned out into the street doesn't challenge his or her party's incumbent. That's off the table this year. I'd guess that so many are running because the districts are so different that 1) they aren't stepping out of line challenging their own party's congressman. 2) the congressman doesn't have a lot of home territory and may be weaker.

Another factor may be the Prop. 14 top two. In heavily Democratic districts, there might be enough Democratic votes for two Democrats to finish first and second. If that happens both advance to November. It should be easier for a challenger to beat an incumbent with Republicans up for grabs. Without knowing ideology, Republicans would likely vote against a Democratic inbument.

Listed below are the 53 districts and who is running in each. A candidate in red has either announced he or she is running in that district or has hinted that they are. Those in black are rumored to be interested.

Everyone has assumed that Tom McClintock and Dan Lungren, who both live in the new CA-7, will run in CA-4 and CA-7 respectively. McClintock has announced he will. The Sacramento Bee is reporting Lungren is considering that district also. The 4th is a safe Republican seat, but the 7th is a swing seat. So, the 4th is obviously more attractive. It doesn't do the Republican party any good when two sitting congressmen both run in a safe Republican seat. An assembly Republican could win it. It'll take a good candidate to win CA-7.

Dan Lungren has to ask why he has to take one for the team and run in a district he could lose. If they both insist on running there, they both can't win. Someone goes home with parting gifts. The question is whether Lungren has a better shot of knocking off McClintock in the primary in CA-4 or a Democrat in CA-7. It doesn't help matters much that the line of Democrats running in the 7th is now three deep.

Jerry Lewis has always confounded me, so I shouldn't be surprised he's continued to do so. CA-8 is an open safe Republican district that has much of his old district. It just doesn't have his home in Redlands, which is in CA-31. Lewis insists these won't be the final lines, so he's not making a decision. As if he gets to make that decision. Retirement is a possibility. While Lewis has been diddling, Greg Imus, a former assembly chief of staff and campaign manager has announced.

The Central Valley has a lot of crazy potential. Rep. Jerry McNerney has staked out CA-9, centered in Stockton. This helps him avoid Rep. Stark, as they were both drawn into CA-15. Rep. Jeff Denham would fit in very well in the Modesto centered CA-10, although he has yet to commit. This district has a good Republican lean, but is winnable for a Democrat. The major cities in Rep. Dennis Cardoza's district are in Stockton and Modesto. So either he challenges a member of his own party or tries an uphill climb in a less than hospitable district.

CA-16 was thought to be a good district for him. Carly Fiorina won the district, but Jerry Brown also did. The problem is that fellow Democratic Rep. Jim Costa just said he'll run in the district that has his base of Fresno in it. That's CA-16. There are three other Central Valley districts, CA-21, CA-22, CA-23. The latter two are very Republican and are likely featuring sitting Republican reps Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy. CA-21 would be a possibility but it contains none of his current district. Retirement is a possibility. Republican David Valadao has staked out the district. Democrats Dean Florez and Michael Rubio are circling but have yet to say if they are running there.

Finally, Judy Chu and Anna Eshoo have Democratic challengers who are reportedly ready to jump in.

I'll go to the remaining districts in the next post.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin Senate Recall Elections

It's amazing how we can have on set of election results and yet somehow both parties claiming victory.

Barack Obama won all 9 of the recall districts, 6 of which were Republican and 3 Democratic, while Scott Walker also did two years later. So these are clearly swing districts. A closer look shows that SD-32 leaned Democratic, while, SD-2, 10, 12, 14, and 18 had a Republican lean. It wouldn't be a surprise if the districts went either way. So Democratic victories shouldn't be a surprise. Last night the Democrats took the one district with a Democratic lean and a second district that had a Republican lean. The senator, however, recently had an affair with a 25 year old. His wife campaigned for his opponent. As Anthony Weiner and David Wu will tell you, it's tough to survive a sex scandal.

Democrats should have won both, even if they spent very little money. It wouldn't have been a surprise had the Democrats won any of the remaining four, especially if the electorate was leaning their way. Yet they didn't.

The Democratic goal was to retake the state senate. They failed. So any evaluation should begin and end there. Overall, Republicans got 53.4% of the vote, about what you expect in a normal year. So the Democrats haven't really won anyone over and the Republicans haven't either. If this is an indicator for 2012, it's one that says next year will be 50-50. That doesn't bode well for Democrats, as they can't retake the House in a 50-50 year and losing the senate would be fairly likely.

Yesterday only Republicans, despite there being toss-up districts

Democrats want Commission to Gerrymander for them

Despite the addition of 5 new Hispanic majority districts to bring the total to 13, and 12 other districts less than 50% White, Democrats aren't happy. Apparently the committee didn't completely cave and disenfranchise all White Republicans. They're angry that a Hispanic Democrat might actually have to run in a competitive seat. The Voting Rights Act wasn't written to gerrymander every area of the to get a Hispanic district. No, they haven't maximized the number of possible Hispanic gerrymanders. They've just come close.

The VRA was passed so that states wouldn't crack cities. That's when you break-up a neighborhood to dilute the group's voting power. It was designed to provide minorities with equal opportunity, not provide extra opportunity and discriminate against Whites. I'm fine on increased Hispanic opportunities, but maybe Hispanics can actually win a district that isn't majority Hispanic, as Jaime Herrera and Raul Labrador did in 2010. At least they could have the decency to lie to us, and not have this coming out of Democratic HQ. Then we could pretend it was abut Hispanics and not just Democrats.

I'm guessing Baca is waiting for the commission to change the 31st to be more Hispanic before declaring. Of course he'll sue if they don't.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Prop. 14: How will California be different?

If California follows Washington's lead, the primaries next year will be fairly boring. The incumbent and an opposing party challenger will go to the general election. Even the one open race was boring, with three Republicans and two Democrats splitting the vote as expected. One of the objectives of this proposition is to produce more moderate winners, but there's no indication of that here.

How will California be different?
Prop. 14 proponents may have wanted the more moderate candidate to win, but that will only work if moderates on both sides of the aisle band together. If voters stick to their own party in the primary the more ideological candidate is still going to win. This is what happened in the CA-36 special election. Thus the choices didn't include moderates.

We also haven't had a situation where two incumbents have run against each other. In CA-44 Democrats expect to get around 80% of the vote, with the Republicans getting 20%. If Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson face off, they are very lucky to finish top two and face off in November. The big question, which Washington doesn't address, is how those 20% who usually vote Republican will vote. They are likely to be pivotal in deciding the winner and may go heavily for the more moderate candidate. Will they go after these voters with a different pitch? Will they alienate Democratic voters by trying to position themselves to Republicans?

Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman will face off in the 30th district. In the 2010 gubernatorial election Jerry Brown won this district 57%-37%. If it's similar in the primary and Berman and Sherman are close, a Republican is likely to win. One of the two incumbents won't advance to the general election. If Berman and Sherman split the vote 30%-27%, Democrats will need one or more Republican candidates to steal 11% of the vote. That'd save them for the general election. If it were Berman and Sherman, Republicans would decide the November race, not just be a factor. If 2/3 of them flock to one candidate that candidate could lose Democratic voters 34%-25% and still win.

Here's another possibility that probably won't happen, but is possible. Here was the CA-36 Special Election primary results:

What if the top three Democrats were closer in their vote totals, but only two Republicans ran?

You'd have two Republican running in a general election in a district the Democrats are very likely to win in normal circumstances. There's nothing far-fetched about each of the factors in this scenario but, with 53 congressional districts, 40 senate districts, and 80 assembly districts it's certainly possible.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prop 14: Washington State

I'm going to do a more complete analysis of Prop. 14 implications, which I've hit on here and here. I'll do an in depth analysis in the next week in several parts.

Washington has had a top 2 primary in 2008 and 2010. While that's not a lot of data to go on, there are some learnings.

If you total the voting percentages for Republicans and right leaning third parties (Libertarian, Constitution) you end up with a remarkably close approximation for the general election. For a couple of races it's 0.1% or 0.2% off. There were a few instances where it was off.

In the 2008 8th district primary Democrats beat Republicans 49.0%-48.5%, but the Republican got 52.8%-47.2% in the general. It was reversed two years later. In 2010 Republicans beat Democrats in the primary 58%-40%, but only squeaked by in the general election 52%-48%. There's only been one election where the party winning the general didn't win the primary.

1. The primary election totals are a strong indicator of what the general election will look like.
2. Incumbents have nothing to worry about. All except one finished first and that one still beat the third place finisher by 36 points.
3. Voters will vote for the incumbent even if there's no chance he or she won't finish top two.
4. Since the voting percentages were similar in both the primary and general election. voters don't cross over to pick the incumbent's opponent.

Friday, August 5, 2011

California: Open Seats

As a result of the new maps there appear to be 7 open California seats. In the last six November elections (2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010) there have been 9 open seats. Of those, only 2, (CA-20 in 2004 and CA-4 in 2008) were competitive. That's going to change. When looking at the open seats, you might see a theme.

CA-2: San Rafael/Eureka
Status: Safe Democratic
Why is it vacant: Lynn Woolsey is retiring
Who's running: Four Democrats (Susan Adams, Jared Huffman, Tiffany Renee, Norman Solomon) have announced bids

CA-29: San Fernando/Van Nuys
Status: Safe Democratic
Why is it vacant: District too Hispanic for incumbent Brad Sherman
Who's running: Hispanic Democrat Tony Cardenas has announced a bid.

CA-32: El Monte/West Covina
Status: Safe Democratic
Why is it vacant: District is too Democratic and too Hispanic for incumbent David Dreier
Who's running: Roger Hernandez, a Hispanic Democrat, has announced a bid.

CA-35: Ontario/Fontana
Status: Safe Democratic
Why is it vacant: District is too Democratic for incumbent Gary Miller
Who's running: Gloria Negrete McLeod, a Hispanic Democrat has announced a bid, but I think Joe Baca will run here, making CA-31 and open seat

CA-41: Riverside/Moreno Valley
Status: Competitive
Why is it vacant: District moved to the east away from incumbent Linda Sanchez
Who's running: This is a Hispanic majority district. Republican John Tavaglione and Democrat Mark Takano are running. Neither is Hispanic, so expect at least one Hispanic candidate.

CA-47: Long Beach/Garden Grove
Status: Competitive
Why is it vacant: District is probably going to be competitive, so incumbent Laura Richardson is running in the safer CA-44.
Who's running: Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat, has announced a bid. Republicans will look for strong challenger. It's possible Democrat Linda Sanchez will move here and run.

CA-51: Chula Vista/El Centro
Status: Safe Democratic
Why is it vacant: District is too Hispanic for incumbent Bob Filner. So he's running for San Diego mayor.
Who's running: Hispanic Democrat Juan Vargas has announced a bid.

There may be other open districts, as all the incumbents haven't announced their intentions. Only two of these districts have the potential of being competitive, although both will favor Democrats. Did you notice a common theme? There likely will be five new Hispanic congressmen, bringing the total in the delegation to 13.

It's pretty clear who won the redistricting battle.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Democrats' Difficult Path to 218

Redistricting triumphs seem to be few and far between for Democrats. It's looking increasingly more difficult for the Democrats to get to 218. Right now they have 194.

Special elections - Let's assume Democrats retain NY-9, OR-1, and pick up NV-2. Each of those are possible and it's likely Democrats will retain all of them if they win these elections.
Democrats: 195

Eliminated Seats: Democrats will have seats eliminated in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. So that's five more seats to win.
Democrats: 189

California: I think there are too many Democratic seats vulnerable for them not to lose any seats, but let's assume they don't and win every vulnerable Republican seat in CA-7, 26, 27, and 41.
Democrats: 193

Illinois: Again I think people are way too optimistic about Democratic chances here. They'll win seats, but everything will have to go their way to win 4. Still, I'll give them all 4.
Democrats: 197

North Carolina: Republicans have gerrymandered the state such that Democrats might lose 4 seats, but let's again assume Democrats will do better and keep it at 2.
Democrats: 195

Republican leaning open seats: AR-4, IN-2, and OK-2 were seats Democrats where Democrats were at risk before retirements. Now they're all but gone.
Democrats: 192

Arizona, Nevada, Washington - There'll be new seats in each of these states. They haven't been redistricted yet and I don't expect any of them to be safe. But let's assume Democrats win all 3 of them and take 2 vulnerable Republicans.
Democrats: 197

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan - We've already counted the Democrats losing a seat in each due to Republican controlled redistricting. Even after that, however, Republicans will control plenty of toss-up seats that Democrats could grab. Let's say they'll lose one in each.
Democrats: 200

Wisconsin, Minnesota - The Republicans hold marginal seats here too, so let's give Democrats one in each.
Democrats: 202

New York, New Jersey, Iowa - These states are all losing a seat. The Democrats will be in positive territory if Republicans lose 3 seats in them and they only lose 1. Democrats have so many seats in New York, it's hard to see them picking up much here and they could easily lose seats there. Let's give them one.
Democrats: 203

Maryland - Democrats should pick up a seat here.
Democrats: 204

Utah - Seats in this state are always on questionable footing, but let's assume Democrats retain theirs.
Democrats: 204

New Hampshire - A toss-up state with two toss-up districts. The odds are against Democrats winning both in a non-wave year, but let's give them both.
Democrats: 206

Georgia - Democrats seem almost certain to lose a seat due to Republican redistricting, but I'll give them retention of both threatened seats.
Democrats: 206

Florida - Republicans control redistricting here, but Fair Districts limits them. Still, the GOP has a bloated delegation and they're adding two seats. So let's give them four pick-ups
Democrats: 210

Texas - Republicans have gerrymandered the state so that the GOP will pick up 3 seats to 1 for Democrats, but maybe the Democrats will get lucky with the courts and instead pick up 3 seats.
Democrats: 213

There aren't a lot more opportunities out there. After having so much go right above, Democrats would have to pick up a seat in Indiana and four more in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Considering they control redistricting or share it in these states, I have a tough time seeing them picking up more seats after giving them several above.

We need to assume nothing will go wrong with open seats in New Mexico and Connecticut or districts in Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota the Republican Presidential nominee will win.

Right now I see Democrats picking up 3 seats and can't see a way they'd actually pick up 24 without a big wave. Which won't happen.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Upon Further Review

There's been a deluge of people predicting Republicans would lose 3 seats! 4 seats! In my last post I predicted they'd break even. After reading what other people have said, I'm going to adjust my prediction to 35D-18R, a Democratic net gain of 1 seat.

One of the flaws that a lot of people put in their predictions is that they lump together seats that lean, are likely, and safe as going to that party. The Washington Post has Republicans gaining 3 seats in North Carolina but losing 4 in Illinois. CBS News reports the possibility of Republicans losing 6 seats in Illinois. Obviously The Huffington Post agrees.

In California the LA Times predicted 3-5 Republican losses. Just because one party appears to have an edge in a district doesn't mean they'll win it. When a district leans to one party I give that party a 60% chance to win the district. If there are 5 lean districts, they'll win 3 and the other party will win 2. In 2010 there were a lot more districts predicted as leaning, but even then Republicans didn't win all the districts that were predicted as leaning Republican.

So here's my second look:
Democratic Seats - Carly Fiorina won 21 of the new congressional districts and missed winning two others by a hair. Fiorina did okay, but she certainly wasn't exceptional. Here are the four Democratic districts she won and the two she almost did.

CD-21: Fiorina got 56% in this district and that's formidable any way you slice it. Jim Costa might run here, and that'd give the Democrats an advantage, but he may go to CA-16.

CD-16: Fiorina got 51% here and Whitman did 2 points worse than she did in CA-21. Dennis Cordoza is the assumed candidate but he may retire. If he does, Costa would likely run here, as his home is in the district.

I have to like any map where Republicans could sweep the Central Valley.

CD-3: This was a shocker. No one expected the commission to put so much Republican territory that Wally Herger didn't need into this district. Fiorina won here too and incumbent Democrat John Garamendi has yet to impress.

CD-24: Not only did Fiorina win this district but Whitman lost by a hair. Abel Maldonado may be unpopular with some Republicans but the former mayor of SLO still retains his popularity here. Lois Capps is in for a fight.

CD-31: No one thought that Republicans would have a shot in a San Bernardino district, but the commission put more Democrats into CA-35 than was expected. Lee Baca is the incumbent here, but he indicated earlier he'd run in the safer seat. So he may run in CA-35 and leave this open.

CD-9: Jerry McNerney might have lost if the election was top 2 in 2010. The American Independent candidate siphoned off enough votes from the Republican to save McNerney. Ricky Gill is fundraising a load of money and will mount a challenge.

If you took who was favored you'd put these districts as 6-0 Democrats. I put them as 3.6D-2.4R. There are two other districts, CD-46 and 47, which may be competitive.

If we look at just who is favored, Republicans would lose CD-27 and CD-41, two districts that nominally belong to David Dreier and Gary Miller now. People are also chalking CA-26 into the Democratic wins, but Fiorina won this district and incumbent Elton Gallegly has no Democratic opponent yet.

After that I only see one district that's a decent bet for Democrats and that would be CA-7. Dan Lungren, however, held off two Democratic waves in 2006 and 2008 in a district Barack Obama won. The district figures to be about 2 points more Democratic but Lungren won by 5.5 points in the 2008 Democratic onslaught. In a far less Democratic year, he should be favored to handle this district.

There are three other districts, CD-10, 36, and 52, which Meg Whitman won with a few points to spare. All three have Republican incumbents, two of whom have been seriously challenged in the past, while the third, Jeff Denham, is a fundraising powerhouse. I see these 7 going 3.7R-3.3D in 2012. That'd give the Democrats one additional seat. Well, actually 0.9, but I'll generously round up.