We had VBM returns reported for every big county in the state except for Alameda. As a result, the VBM rate for Republican leaning counties is only 28% higher than Democratic counties. In 2012 it was 9% higher. While it’s likely that Democratic counties have more VBMs they haven’t reported, the difference isn’t as pronounced. Overall Democrats are 42% of VBM and Republicans are 38%. It’s similar to 2010 and better for the GOP than 2012. Of course we don’t care much about statewide returns. Let’s look at the congressional districts.
CA-3: VBM returns dropped from D+8 to D+6. The first VBMs were D+12, so these have been moving in the GOP’s direction. In 2012, VBMs were D+5 and Democrat John Garamendi won by 8%. I think that Dan Logue needs that advantage to be smaller to have a shot.
CA-7: VBM returns moved from D+2 to D+1. Remains a toss-up race.
CA-10: VBM remains at R+2, a comfortable spot for Jeff Denham.
CA-16: VBM remains at D+14. They were D+11 in 2012 when Jim Costa won by 15%. There are Democrats who vote Republican here, but I think the GOP needs a better margin to have a shot.
CA-21: VBM dropped from D+16 to D+15 with the addition of some Kings county ballots. That remains a wider margin than David Valadao would want, although it’s winnable in this district with crossover votes. A new SurveyUSA poll has Valadao winning people who’ve already voted by 5%. The poll and the VBM are certainly two different samples but that does tell us that Valadao is probably winning such a Democratic sample and would do even better if he can keep whittling that down.
CA-24: VBM returns remain R+3. They were R+2 in 2012 and the final electorate was D+2. Lois Capps won that one by 10%. So Chris Mitchum shouldn’t be looking at the deals on Washington flights on Orbitz just yet, but this race shouldn’t be dismissed either.
CA-26: Jeff Gorell was whittling Julia Brownley’s advantage down but it moved to D+4 from D+3 yesterday. Gorell needs to get more Republican ballots in to win. He still has time.
CA-31: When the first ballots came in the returns were D+7. They are now D+2, a number that means this could be a competitive race. That number should have more Republicans to feel Paul Chabot has a shot. It’s not far from that now.
CA-33: This race had a lot of new ballots. Over 1/3 of all VBM ballots came in yesterday. And yet VBM returns are holding steady at D+2. They were D+11 (and the final electorate D+17) when Henry Waxman beat independent Bill Bloomfield by 8%. Elan Carr isn’t an independent but Ted Lieu isn’t a 40 year incumbent either. This district has no business being competitive but I can’t dismiss that it is.
CA-36: Virtually no change. It went from R+2 to R+1 but that was mostly rounding (R+1.7 to R+1.4). In most districts that’d be fine for Brian Nestande but Mary Bono Mack lost after an R+4 VBM in 2012.
CA-52: The 19% VBM return is the highest in any competitive district, but it’s holding steady at R+10, although there was a slight move toward the Democrats. Like Raul Ruiz in CA-36, Scott Peters won this district with more Republican ballots in 2012, but an R+10 feels like a lot to overcome.