Yesterday I presented the races that'll be shockingly close and cause people to panic. [Unless I'm entirely wrong. Then never mind.] Today I'm doing the most exciting races. Here are the three big ones, because it's possible that in one of them no Democrat makes Top Two.
CA-26 – Democrats have a 4 point registration edge. Republicans have a 4 point ballot return edge. I don’t think that’s going to be enough to cost Julia Brownley Top Two, but it might. Prediction: Strickland (R) 33% Brownley (D) 29% Parks (I) 25%
CA-52 – The GOP has a 3 point registration advantage, but that’s 9 points based on mail-ins. Brian Bilbray will cruise to first. If John Stahl knew how to spend his money the way Craig Huey spent his, he’d challenge for 2nd. It’s possible. Prediction: Bilbray (R) 35% Peters (D) 19% Saldana (D) 17%
CA-31 – Democrats have a 5 point registration edge here. Yet there are more Republican mail-ins than Democratic ones. This district could be the perfect storm against Democrats. Republicans only have two candidates and they’re both strong. Yes, Bob Dutton’s fundraising has been anemic, but he has Superpac money behind him.
There are four Democrats. It’s possible that Pete Aguilar takes 80% of the Democratic vote, but Justin Kim is the kind of unknown candidate who surprises. Wickman and Ramirez-Dean could take 4-6% combined from Aguilar. This is probably really far off, but if it happens, you read it here. Prediction: Miller (R) 30% Dutton (R) 26% Aguilar (D) 23%
Maybe I'm crazy, but I had to predict the Democrats getting shut out of one district, didn't I? Just to show how much fun Top Two will be.
There's one district which will get the most attention, but is ho-hum for me. It'll be either a balding liberal Jewish Democrat or a a balding liberal Jewish Democrat.
CA-30 – Republican mail-ins are higher but not nearly as high as in some of the others. The question is whether more Republicans is good for Howard Berman and if a very liberal Democrat can really get Republicans to vote for him. I’m skeptical. Prediction: Sherman (D) 35% Reed (R) 26% Berman (D) 24%
These have lots of drama, lots of intrigue. While these are all safe districts they are unique in that they don’t have incumbents and they don’t have a clear front runner.
CA-1 – This is a rare district where Democrats are mailing in their ballots in greater numbers. That should put Jim Reed comfortably in first. I’d think Doug LaMalfa would finish second but Sam Aanestad just got Redstate’s endorsement. Prediction: Reed (D) 32% LaMalfa (R) 27% Aanestad (R) 25%
CA-2 – Also has elevated Democratic turn-out. Maybe there’s something about the Redwoods. Even with that, Republican Dan Roberts should finish first. He’s been spending money, while Republican rival Mike Halliwell has yet to report any fundraising to the FEC. The Democrats are kind of a “throw a dart and pick one” group. Jared Huffman would appear to be the favorite. He’s raised a lot of money, has a strong background, and has a ton of support. But Stacey Lawson has raised a similar amount. Democrats don’t usually respond to business people, but you never know. Norman Solomon is so far left that even the Netroots money won’t get him top two. Prediction: Roberts (R) 24% Huffman (D) 23% Solomon (D) 17%
CA-8 – This is CA-2 without a money leader. Honestly, I have no idea who finishes 2nd. My 2nd and 3rd place finishers could finish 5th and 6th and I wouldn’t be surprised. What I do know is that Jackie Conaway didn’t even need to spend the $13,237 she spent to advance. Prediction: Conaway (D) 27% Mitzelfelt (R) 16% Cook (R) 14%
There are 8 other districts which will be competitive in November. There won't be much drama in them, so I'll go with them later if there's interest.
In addition, there are 6 districts Democrats are certain to win, but which Democrat is up in the air. I may look at them too.