Monday, October 7, 2013

Republican Plans for California Assembly

I was at the California Republican convention over the weekend. Connie Conway, the Republican minority leader in the state assembly, talked about winning AD-36 in Palmdale, and AD-65 in Fullerton. She did add AD-66 in Torrance as a target when someone pointed out that candidate David Hadley was in the room. Since I heard Connie speak twice, I heard the same bad joke of how the GOP would defend the seats belonging to “what I like to call the law firm of Morrell, Gorrell, and Linder.” None of them are lawyers. I guess because Morrell and Gorrell rhyme, she thinks it sounds like a law firm.

Jeff Gorrell has been rumored to be interested in running for congress in CA-26 if Tony Strickland switches to CA-25. If true, Conway isn’t getting her law firm. Morrell and Gorrell are termed out in 2016, a year that figures to be more difficult for Republicans than 2014. Republicans need to take 2 seats to get 1/3 of the assembly, preventing Democrats from being able to raise taxes. Gorrell’s seat being open in 2014 would certainly make that more difficult for the next session, but the GOP’s goal is get at least 1/3 of the seats permanently, not just for two years. It may be better to have the seat open in 2014 than 2016.

Linder, on the other hand, was elected under Prop. 28 and won’t be term limited until 2024. So defending his seat should be priority.

There’s nothing surprising about Conway’s list. AD-36, 65, and 66 are the only districts held by Democrats that Meg Whitman won. Carly Fiorina won AD-8, 21, and 32. These districts are tougher targets but certainly possible. As of now, there are no declared Republican candidates in any of them. So it’s not surprising that Conway didn’t mention them.

SF Chronicle columnist Joe Garofoli chose to write about Catharine Baker, the Republican candidate in AD-16.

I don't see this district as a first or second tier opportunity because Barbara Boxer won it. Democrats think they have a stranglehold on every seat they have and that others will keep falling because California demographics are trending their way. I disagree but think that until there's evidence otherwise winning a Boxer seat is a bridge too far. Boxer didn't win big here, but Joan Buchanan won 59%-41% in 2012. The seat will be open and fellow blogger Scott Lay thinks it'll be competitive. I just don't see it.

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