Thursday, June 27, 2013

CA SD-16 Contribution

Charles Munger Jr. has thrown in $269,700 to the Tulare County Republican Central Committee. Republican candidate Andy Vidak will have some help to win the election July 23. Those that get upset about big money in politics should start ranting... Now.

CA-45: John Campbell retiring from congress

Republican congressman John Campbell announced on the Hugh Hewitt radio show today that he's retiring from congress at the end of the term.

This district was R+6 in 2008 and R+8 in 2012. I'm sure Democrats will pour a lot of money in here like they did in 2012, because they see Orange County as some sort of Holy Grail. Sukhee Kang lost by 17 points. Jerry Brown only did worse in 1 California district, CA-50. So I think a Republican will win by 20, but maybe if Democrats pour enough in they'll only lose by 10-12 points this time.

Who's going to run? Republican state senator Mimi Walters will be termed out in 2016. She's run statewide before, so she clearly has higher aspirations. [Edit: I joked to someone that Walters would announce in 15 minutes. Six minutes after I wrote this Walters announced she is running.] CA-45 is pretty much in Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates' district. So she's a possibility. Steven Choi, Mayor of Irvine, is fairly new to the job, but Irvine is the biggest city in the district. There are a number of Republican legislators or former legislators, like Tom Harman, who are from outside the district. All five Orange County supervisors are Republicans. Being from outside the district isn't a big deal when running in California. Candidates from 10 miles outside a district run all the time here. They might not want to wait for Dana Rohrabacher or Ed Royce to retire.

Edit: An Orange County source mentioned Rancho Santa Margarita Council Member Tony Beall and Aliso Viejo Council Member Mike Munzing as possible candidates. She expects a free for all.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Republicans and Women, Youth, and Latinos

Sean Trende looks at the missing White voter today. It’s a great read and runs counter to conventional wisdom. It reminded me of an LA Times story on Sunday, June 9.
After women, young voters and Latinos fled from the Republican Party in droves in 2012, some GOP leaders thought they had a chance to turn things around.

It made me wonder if women, young voters and Latinos did indeed feel from the Republican party, in droves or otherwise, in 2012. In order to determine whether these voters were leaving the Republican party, I decided to compare the 2012 vote totals for Mitt Romney and the Republicans in the House to 2008 and see if the numbers increased or decreased. I used 2008, because that was the last Presidential election.

Why 2008, instead of 2010? The House Republicans got 44,593,666 votes in their triumphant 2010 campaign. They got 58,284,884 in their less successful 2012 campaign. No matter how bad a party does, they always add in all demographics in mid-terms.

What about 2004? It’s true that Mitt Romney did get about 1 million less votes than George W. Bush, but John McCain got 2 million less votes. So those voters left the Republican Party in 2008. The LA Times didn’t state people left the Republican party in 2008 and really why would that be relevant this year?

I looked at exit polls and applied them to the 2008 and 2012 vote totals. Exit polls are inexact but they can provide rough totals. I had to massage the numbers a little to fit them in with the exact totals. Unfortunately, there were no national House exit polls in 2012, but I was able to estimate the vote totals using the Presidential exit poll. Congressional Democrats did about 2% less than Barack Obama, while congressional Republicans did about 1% better than Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney did indeed get less female votes than John McCain. Barack Obama lost more than double the number of votes. Congressional Republicans increased their vote total among women by 2.1 million, while congressional Democrats lost a little less than a million female votes. It’s hard to conclude that Republicans are losing the female voters they had in 2008.

One of the problems with looking at voters by age is that age isn’t constant. The 2008 Young voters, age 18-29, were 22-33 in 2012. Unfortunately, the exit polls aren’t broken down so that we can analyze that group to see if there was a decline. It’s arguable that the when looking at young voters you should keep the age constant. Young voters are always 18-29.

Both Romney and the House Republicans gained with the 18-29 group. Some of that was with the 18-21 group. Even if most of their gains were with this group, that’s a positive sign Republicans are gaining, not losing, with the youth vote.

Interestingly, both Mitt Romney and House Republicans lost votes with the 30-44 segment. Romney actually lost more votes with this age group than Obama did. House Democrats lost a lot more votes than House Republicans, however.

Trende talks about the missing White voter. Below I calculate how many White voters dropped from 2008 to 2012, but Trende correctly points out that due to population increases, the number is actually higher.

From looking at these numbers, we don’t see Latinos fleeing Republicans. Romney likely got a similar number of Latino votes and House Republicans likely saw a 21% jump. In fact, Republicans likely gained voters in each ethnic group. House Republicans likely grew their Black vote by 46%.

President Obama, and Democrats to a lesser extent, likely drew a lot of new Latinos to the polls, although they did dramatically worse with Whites. Some White Obama/Democratic supporters stayed home and others fled to the GOP.

It doesn’t appear that women, young voters and Latinos fled Republicans at all. Overall, Mitt Romney lost and House Republicans drew fewer votes than House Democrats. But considering where they cratered in 2008, they appear Republicans to have done a good job of picking up women and young voters, while Democrats struggled and lost these voters.

If there’s a trend here, it favors Republicans. If the GOP were to improve on 2012 the way they did on 2008, they’ll close the Presidential gap and win the House vote. Trende points out that the missing voters favor Republicans. If the GOP can get these people to the polls, they’ll outweigh any increases in the Latino or Asian/other vote.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CA-52: Two New Polls Look Good For DeMaio

It's rare to see a public poll on a congressional race this far out from an election. We've already had one poll on CA-52, done by a Republican firm. It showed former Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio with a 10 point lead. Even though it was done by a Republican firm, it confirmed what I said about DeMaio in March.

The Flash Report is the most influential conservative blog in California. Yes, I'm willing to admit that he's got a few more readers than I do. Jon Fleischman has gotten a hold of a poll done by the Republican California Public Safety Voter Guide that shows a primary that'd come out:

(37.8%) Scott Peters, Democrat incumbent
(34.5%) Carl DeMaio, Republican, former San Diego Council member
(5.3%) Howard Kaloogian, Republican, former California State Assemblyman

Kaloogian isn't running, and even if he were, he'd be eliminated in the November run-off. He's in there to provide a Republican primary alternative. The poll has a lot of Republicans, but that's not necessarily wrong. The district has more Republicans than Democrats and primaries tend to skew fairly. Republican.

When told DeMaio is gay, the results improve slightly for him:

(36.0%) Scott Peters, Democrat incumbent
(35.1%) Carl DeMaio, Republican, former San Diego Council member
(6.9%) Howard Kaloogian, Republican, former California State Assemblyman

If you follow the link to the survey you'll see that DeMaio loses a few Republicans, gets a couple of Democrats, and reverses Peters DTS lead. This confirms that a gay Republican would have no trouble getting into top 2. He's likely to get the Republicans who voted for Kaloogian in the general.

10News, the San Diego ABC station, commissioned respected pollster to do a one-on-one DeMaio-Peters match-up. The poll shows 48 percent would vote for DeMaio, while only 39 percent would choose Peters. Thirteen percent were undecided. Strangely, the Poll DeMaio does better in has more Democrats than Republicans, while the other poll has more Republicans than Democrats.

DeMaio looks strong right now. Of course the election is nearly 17 months away.

CA-36: A Strong Republican Challenge

Republicans look like they'll have very strong recruits in CA-3, 7, 25, and 26. That continues here. Assemblyman Brian Nestande will challenge freshman Democrat Raul Ruiz. There's two ways to look at this district. It's the most Republican district Democrats hold in California. Because Barack Obama won the district more narrowly than he won nationally, the district has a Republican PVI of R+0.3. So it should be the easiest district for the GOP to recapture. And that may be the case since it's a mid-term. Not only did Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina win the district, but Tony Strickland, who lost the controller's race by nearly 20 points, won it too.

The other way to see it is that Ruiz actually beat Barack Obama in the district, something no other Democrat in a competitive district did. Was this a fluke? A poor campaign by Bono Mack? Or is Ruiz that strong a candidate?

The NRCC is trying to sell fluke. They cite a poll that shows Nestande leading by 3%. I don't know who Harper polled for but they are a Republican firm. So Nestande's total may be skewed. Still, I'd expect Ruiz to be leading by 8-10% at this point. So this one should be close.

Monday, June 17, 2013

CA-25 and 26: One Affects the Other

CA-25 was supposed to be a safe Republican seat, as it not only included the Antelope Valley, but also added the very Republican city of Simi Valley in Ventura County. Both Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer got killed there in 2010. Barack Obama won the district in 2008, but neither he nor Dianne Feinstein did so in 2012. The district, however, went Buck McKeon won by only 10.2% in 2012. While that still beat Mitt Romney by 4%, it was underwhelming because McKeon faced a no name/no money some guy opponent. What if he faced a quality opponent?

It might have added a couple of points to the opponent's total, but Democrats wouldn't have won. They spent heavily in the slightly more Republican CA-39 and actually lost that district by 16 points. Some of McKeon's poor performance is due to McKeon himself. He spends his campaign money helping other Republicans, often sending buses of volunteers to places like Las Vegas, where he helped Joe Heck win NV-3. Ed Royce, in CA-39, spent heavily to defend his district.

The most Republican district they control in California was R+0.3 PVI. Even in a Presidential year this district should be a few points out of reach. Democrats have to hope the district becomes more Democratic before they have a shot at competing. Yet while some other districts move 3-4 points more Democratic, this district only went from R+3.4 to R+2.9. There's a shot that the district will be competitive in 2016 or 2020, but probably not in a mid-term and almost certainly not in 2014.

Rumors persist that McKeon is retiring. McKeon has denied those rumors. Yet they persist. My sources tell me that "only McKeon can answer that question." That's hardly the breakthrough scoop but it's certainly not a denial.

As I reported earlier, if McKeon retires Tony Strickland may run here. My sources tell me that Strickland would be the heavy favorite if he did so, that he actually represented some of the Santa Clarita Valley in the state senate and that he'd get the endorsement of both Congressman Kevin McCarthy and McKeon. Strickland is a prodigious fundraiser and that alone could scare off other Republicans.

Strickland's absence would open the door for Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell to run in CA-26. In 2012, Gorrell won an assembly district by 6 points that President Obama won by 7 points. He could run there again in 2014 and then run in the open SD-27 in 2016. President Obama got a two-party vote of 55.8% in SD-27 in 2012 and 55.2% in the similar CA-26. Gorrell may decide that while CA-26 is a difficult district to win, he'd rather try to do so in the more Republican leaning 2014 than 2016.

CA-7: GOP Getting Into The Action

Last year we expected to have 13 competitive congressional races. That was reduced to 12 when the Top Two in CA-31 produced two Republicans. The races in CA-9, 16, 21, 24, 41, and 47 produced wins of 11-18 points and probably couldn't be called competitive. Democrats won five of those and it seems unlikely that the GOP will compete in those five, even in a Republican leaning year. Democrats have made noise about competing in CA-21, but so far lack a candidate.

That leaves CA-3, 7, 10, 26, 31, 36, and 52. Five of those are Democratic occupied seats and two are Republican. Assemblyman Dan Logue will announce his challenge to John Garamendi in CA-3 next week. The district appears to be a tough one for the GOP, since Garamendi won by 8.5%. I've covered CA-10 and 31 in previous posts. I'll cover the others in posts this week.

The Republican senate nominee in 2012, Elizabeth Emken, is running for congress in the Sacramento area CA-7. She only recently moved to the district. She got 46.5% of the vote in the district in 2012. That was okay and only 1.8% less than Dan Lungren got in the congressional race. Former congressman Doug Ose appears ready to announce. is reporting that Tom McClintock staffer Igor Birman will also run. He's their candidate of choice. It's a quality GOP field. The Republican who emerges should provide Bera with a tough challenge.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

CA-52: DeMaio and the Republican Endorsement

Last month I reported that Carl DeMaio had a ten point lead in an NRCC poll. That's a significant lead, even in a poll by a party congressional committee. Three weeks later DeMaio entered the race. Last week the far left San Diego Free Press decided to stir up controversy, by noting that the San Diego Republican Party hasn't endorsed DeMaio.

This is a non-story. A San Diego Republican insider rebuked it to me:
"It's a BS story since that meeting did not apply to congressional candidates. When we get to congressional endorsements Carl will win in a landslide."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Republican Mid-Term Advantage

Harry Enten discusses the Republican mid-term advantage in his column today analyzes the Republican mid-term advantage. He uses the Current Population Survey for his data. I'm not going to dispute that it has some merit and perhaps less flaws than exit polls, but the survey indicates 132,948,000 votes in 2012. There were around 129 million, a little less if you don't count write-ins, a little more if you do. That's a huge disparity. So for my analysis I used exit polls.

The charts above show the the differences between the 2008 and 2010 electorates based on age and race. The party voting share doesn't apply to either election. It's a breakdown of how the vote would be in an even election. Based on race, Republicans have a 2.9% advantage. Based on age, Republicans have a 2.1% advantage. Democrats won the House vote in 2012 by 1.1%. If 2012 and 2014 are neutral elections, the GOP will win the House vote by 1.0-1.8% in 2014. That's unexceptional, but it should be enough to gain Republicans 5-15 congressional seats in 2014.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

CA-31 Questions and Answers

I've been asked a couple of questions about CA-31.

Won't Gary Miller, as an incumbent, lock up Republican support for the primary, leaving little support for another Republican?
Congressman Gary Miller isn't a popular local politician. He's only recently moved to the district. He served his old district for 4 terms going into the 2010 election. He only got 48.8% of the Republican vote in the primary. A credible challenger can take a lot of votes from him, just as Bob Dutton did last year. The question is whether enough to top all the Democrats.

Do you think the Republican establishment will back a challenger to Miller?
The California Republican establishment doesn't need to do anything. A candidate does. Bob Dutton had no establishment support. If one of the candidates I mentioned in the last post, he's going to get votes.

Joe Baca isn't well liked locally. He won't get a lot of votes.
I don't know where the idea that Joe Baca isn't well liked locally comes from. He was elected multiple times in a district which contained some of the current district. In 2012, he beat Gloria Negrete McLeod 45%-36% in a primary without Republicans in 2012. He has a sick number of local endorsements. Pete Aguilar doesn't list endorsements on his website. He has some congressional endorsements, but outside of that I'm not sure.

Baca has high name recognition, experience, knows how to win campaigns, and is going to raise money. None of the candidates who combined to get more Democratic votes than Aguilar had any of that. If Justin Kim can get 13.5% of the vote in the primary, a candidate with more going for him than Kim had can get at least that much. If all four Democratic candidates stay in the race, they'll split the Democratic vote. No one will top 20%. There's no way to prevent that. The Democrats' only hope is that a strong second Republican doesn't get in the race and, if he does, he isn't as adept as Bob Dutton was at getting votes.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

CA-31 Conundrum

Election pundit Stu Rothenberg has taken notice of the CA-31 race, noticing that former Rep. Joe Baca and EMILY’s List-endorsed Eloise Gomez Reyes, DCCC backed Pete Aguilar, and San Bernardino City Unified School District Board Member Danny Tillman are all running for the Democratic nomination. He wonders if the 2012 result where no Democrat advanced to the general election could happen again.

Last year the four Democrats split 48.5% of the vote. Rothenberg wonders whether Democrats will "coalesce behind one of their hopefuls." The answer to that is no. In 2012, they should've coalesced behind one candidate. Renea Wickman raised a small amount of money, Rita Ramirez-Dean raised none, and Justin Kim raised a low but respectable $160,286. Pete Aguilar raised nearly three times all the other candidates combined. Aguilar had the backing of the DCCC and the Democratic establishment in San Bernardino county. None of the other candidates should've really registered against Aguilar.

Yet they did combined to beat Aguilar by over 2,000 votes. Why? They each were in the race for a long time, campaigned hard to get votes, and had some strong ethnic ties to certain groups in the district. Wickman was African-American, Kim Asian-American, and Ramirez-Dean was a Trustee at Copper Mountain Community College District. That was enough to take those votes.

This time Aguilar is up against a well known former congressman who raised over $1 million in the last cycle, a candidate supported by the deep pocketed EMILY's List, and another African-American. These candidates should get a higher percentage of the vote than the last ones did. It seems unlikely a Democrat will get above 20%.

What's missing is a Republican candidate who could eat into Miller's total enough to top 20%. There are seasoned legislators who could do what Bob Dutton did. State Senator Bill Emmerson lives outside the district but represents some of it in the senate. He isn't up for re-election, so he has a free shot at any office. I'm unsure but I believe he'll be term limited in 2016. Assemblyman Curt Hagman is also from just outside the district. Unlike Emmerson, however, his district has no territory that's also in CA-31. Hagman will be termed out in 2014. He could run for the state senate but the district he'd run in SD-29 won't be up for election until 2016. So Hagman could be without an office to run for in 2014.

Another option could be Bill Leonard. Leonard represented the area in the assembly and senate for 24 years and then was elected to the Board of Equalization for 8 years. He's certainly well-known enough to garner a lot of votes. Perhaps the easiest option would be California Republican Party chairman Jim Brulte. Brulte represented the area in the assembly and senate.

Bob Dutton could always run again. That's just current and former elected officials. So Republicans have options of candidates who might not beat Gary Miller one-on-one, but the objective would be to get enough votes to make the November election two Republicans.