The state of California won’t publish the Brown-Kashkarigubernatorial breakdowns by congressional and legislative district for a couple of months, but that doesn’t mean you should have to wait. I’ve painstakingly gone through the statement of vote for every county that has more than one district and calculated the numbers. Unfortunately, there are four counties which haven’t published breakdowns of the contest by district. But why should you be deprived of the data just because of that? In those cases I allocated the county’s votes by district based on proportions from the 2012 Presidential election. That certainly will produce inaccurate results but they’ll give you a firm idea. CA-3 has eight counties. Those numbers are in red.
Some of these numbers looked a bit odd. So I double checked them and they are accurate. If you look at the county breakdown , you’ll see that Brown did extremely well in the Bay area. He improved in almost every country up there by at least 5.6%. So his numbers will jump in the Bay area. If this signifies a leftward shift up there it’s no big deal to the GOP. Losing a district 75%-25% is no different than losing it 68%-32%. I can only speculate that Meg Whitman did do well here and some of her voters flipped to Brown while others stayed home.
On he flip side there were counties where Brown did worse than 2010. Many of these were smaller counties that are part of a district, but a big one was San Bernardino county, where Brown dropped from 49.4% to 46.9%. We’ll see very strong Republican performance there. What’s interesting is that this is Tim Donnelly’s home county. The hardcore Donnelly supporters were unenthusiastic about Neel Kashkari, saying he was the same as Jerry Brown. People thought they’d stay home, but the opposite happened.
Los Angeles county went up less than 1%. So Brown’s numbers against 2010 aren’t that strong there.
CA-3 – Brown made a big leap here. It wasn’t reflected in John Garamendi’s total, as he declined from 2012. It doesn’t appear Brown had coattails here.
CA-7 – Brown jumped from 52.7% in 2010 to 56.2% in 2014. This was a shocker because Barack Obama only did 52.0% and the congressional race was very close. Brown’s percentage wasn’t consistent with other statewide races. Gavin Newsom only got 50.7% in CA-7. Kamala Harris got 51.1%. Alex Padilla and Betty Yee lost the district with 47.2% and 47.9% respectively. So Doug Ose got some Jerry Brown voters but his inability to retain all the Pete Peterson voters cost him the race.
CA-9 – Brown went up marginally as this race got closer.
CA-10 – Brown went up 4.6%, but Jeff Denham didn’t notice. If Denham can win when Barack Obama gets 51.8% and Jerry Brown gets 51.7%, I don’t think we need to worry too much about a Presidential electorate.
CA-16 and 21 – While Brown went up 2% in each, he didn’t match Barack Obama in either district. This shows that the Central Valley gets more Republican the further down ballot you go. I don’t see anything telling me that David Valadao will be definitely lose this decade or that CA-16 is a safe Democratic district in each election.
CA-24 – This was a squeaker in 2010 but just like up the coast Jerry Brown killed in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. In fact, he did better than Barack Obama in 2012. Lois Capps’ inability to capitalize on that made it much closer than it should’ve been. Capps clearly isn’t easy to beat, but when she retires a good Republican candidate, if we have one, could take this district. Even in a Presidential year.
CA-25 – Since there was no Democrat in the congressional race, it’s worth looking at how Brown did. He actually declined by 0.1% from 42.9% to 42.8%. I don’t think Knight’s in real trouble in 2016.
CA-26 – This is as far south as Brown’s domination went. He lost the district in 2010 but won 55%-45% in 2014. Julia Brownley couldn’t seize on his domination. Brown matched Obama 2012. If this district is winnable I wouldn’t be too concerned about a Presidential year.
CA-31 – As I mentioned earlier, Brown lost ground in San Bernardino county. He went from 54% here in 2010 to 52% in 2014. Frankly I wouldn’t use this as proof that the district is trending red any more than some of the other districts above are going blue.
CA-36 and 41 – This is a bit weird. Brown gained 6% in CA-36 but lost 2% in the neighboring CA-41. Obama got 62.9% in CA-41 and 51.6% in CA-36. Brown got 54.5% and 52.6% respectively. If you’d have told me that Brown would beat Obama in CA-36 there’s no way I would’ve thought he’d fall 8% short of Obama in CA-41.
CA-39 – Normally a district that’s safe Republican isn’t worth looking at and Obama’s increase 41.4% to 44.5% is about what you’d expect. So why note it? This district overlaps with SD-34, a heavily contested district where millions were spent. Brown went from 47.2% to 52.5% in SD-34. The Democratic congressional and senate candidates underperformed Brown by 13.0% in the congressional race and 10.5% in the senate race. Brown really didn’t help the down ballot Democrats here.
CA-52 – Brown had one of his best gains here, going from losing 54%-46% to winning 52%-48%. I don’t know if that helped Rep. Peters, but it sure didn’t hurt him.
There wasn’t a lot of correlation between Brown’s improvement and the performance of down ballot Democrats. I think it’s a situation where you have swing voters who leaned Republican this time, but weren’t going to vote for an unknown Neel Kashkari over Jerry Brown, a governor they know and like. Kashkari did nothing to help himself and it showed in his performance against Brown in districts like CA-7. The down ballot races had a lot of spending and GOTV efforts and there the Republican advantage showed. Even districts where Brown did better in 2010, but Republicans didn’t make a big effort, e.g. CA-16 and 24, were close.
I don’t think it matters how well the Democratic Presidential nominee does in California districts in 2016. Yes, the electorate will be more Democratic and yes, the swing voters are likely to like Democrats more than 2014. What it really comes down to is whether the district is winnable for the GOP.