Get ready for primary results that are going to be so shocking that people will go ballistic. Republicans are going to roll in Tuesday’s California primary. I hear what you’re saying. Republicans are in free fall in California. You’re just saying this because you’re Republican.
Au contraire. Let’s take a step back to 2010, 2008, and 2006 California primaries. Republicans had elevated turn out in each of them. In 2010 Democrats had a 13 point registration edge. The difference in primary turn out was 2 points. In 2008 Democrats had that same 13 point edge. The difference between the parties was 8 points. In 2006 the Democrats had an 8 point registration edge. Only 1.5 points separated them in the primary.
What we have here is that even in a big Democratic year with no Republican primary race on the ballot, Republicans had elevated turn-out. The good news for Democrats is that this turn-out advantage disappeared in the general election every year. I can’t stress this enough. Republicans are going to look really good on Tuesday and people will think they’ll do better than they’ll actually do in the general election. Democrats will panic and they shouldn’t.
Right now Democrats have nearly a 13 point registration advantage. It’s actually a little smaller than 2006 and 2008. Early voting shows Democrats with only a 6 point advantage in ballot return. There’s every reason to believe that it’s happening again.
There are two safe Republican seats, CA-25, (McKeon), and CA-39 (Royce) with the biggest disparity of registered vs. returned. No one will notice those. They will notice these:
CA-46 – Democrats hold a 13 point registration edge, 44%-31%. Yet, 43% of the ballots returned have been Democratic and 40% have been Republican. Loretta Sanchez won’t do well on Tuesday and panic will ensue. It shouldn’t. She’s going to win easily in November. Prediction: Sanchez (D) 45%, Hayden (R) 29%, Cullum (R) 14%
CA-32 – No one expects Grace Napolitano to be in any danger. She isn’t. But if she “loses” Tuesday’s primary people will think she is. With 2 Democrats and only one Republican in the race, I see her “losing.” I put losing in quotes because there’s no penalty to finishing second. The top two advance. Prediction: Miller 48% (R) Napolitano (D) 43% Gonzalez (D) 9%
CA-27 – We will see Judy Chu sweat. It’s not because she won’t advance. It’s because she might not get as many votes as the two Republican candidates. Chu isn’t in danger. But it’ll look like she is. Prediction: Chu (D) 50% Orswell (R) 32% Duran (R) 18%
CA-38 – Another Sanchez sister, another result that could cause panic. Linda isn’t in any danger either. Prediction: Sanchez (D) 56% Robles (R) 24% Campos (R) 20%
CA-53 - This is a district that with a little better line drawing a Republican would have a shot. Rep. Susan Davis has only one opponent, an underfunded Republican. So she has no need to get out the vote or spend money before the general election. Prediction: Davis (D) 51% Popaditch (R) 49%
There are two other districts where it’ll look like Democratic prospects are far worse than they are:
CA-36 - The numbers are similar here. Republicans hold a 2 point registration edge, but an 11 point advantage in ballots returned. Ruiz will have a shot in November, but I imagine Democrats will abandon him after this result: Prediction: Bono Mack (R) 64%, Ruiz (D) 36%.
CA-47 – Alan Lowenthal is win easily since he has a bunch of some guy Democrats. At this point the difference between the two parties is that 400 more Democratic ballots have come in. It’d be nice if national Democrats abandoned Lowenthal, but I don’t see that happening. Prediction: DeLong (R) 32% Lowenthal (D) 31% Kuykendall (R) 25%.
I'll save the predictions for the more competitive districts for the next couple of posts.