Republicans beat Democrat Ami Bera by 4.3% in the 2014 primary. In 2012, Dan Lungren beat Ami Bera by 10.3% and Lungren lost the general election. If Lungren couldn't beat Bera, would Doug Ose have a shot? Ose put out an internal poll showing him leading Bera by 4%. Often challengers put out internal polls to show they're competitive in districts they really aren't. In such polls, they're usually trailing by 2-4%. That's enough to show that you're in it, but hopefully believable when people wonder if you have a shot. Does showing himself leading Bera by 4% actually indicate Ose is in a competitive race?
Two blog posts down I mentioned my problem with SurveyUSA being too loose with their likely voter screen. They did a CA-21 poll where they're estimating that 73% of registered voters will vote. This is a low turnout district that only turned out 43% of registered voters in 2010. So that makes the poll suspect. This poll shows Republican incumbent David Valadao up 19%. I put a little more stock in this poll because it's closer to the primary margin and it could overestimate Valadao's support and still be a one-sided election. I don't think Valadao is seriously threatened by Amanda Renteria.
Normally, Tim Donnelly's endorsement would be welcome by any Republican candidate. Due to his gubernatorial run Donnelly has a big conservative following and is regarded as a leading conservative voice. Kudos to Steve Knight for scoring that. He certainly wants to be seen as the more conservative candidates to conservatives. The problem is that when you're running against another Republican in Top Two you don't want to be identified as the most conservative candidate. The trick is to position yourself so that you can take 51% of the vote. When you're running in a district where the GOP only has a 1% registration advantage, that's pretty close to the center. Knight can't be perceived as being a Tim Donnelly. If that happens, he's sunk. So Knight is really backing off Donnelly.
This was regarded as a long shot district before the primary. It was D+3 in the 2012 Presidential election and Republicans don't win many of those. CA-7, 36, and 52 were 3 points more Romney than CA-26. It was a surprise when the Republicans beat Julia Brownley by 6.7% in the primary, a bigger margin than either CA-7 or CA-36. Apparently there is something to Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell. We've seen no polling but this district may be competitive.