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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

California Looks Good for House Democrats

Christine Mai-Duc and Sarah D. Wire at Los Angeles Times write about California House elections.
18 The number of Democratic challengers who raised more than $500,000 by the end of 2017. 
That's a staggering number of candidates compared with previous years. Just four challengers in the 10 GOP-held seats we're currently watching raised that much in the entire 2016 election cycle. None of them had raised $500,000 by the end of the first year.

By raising such substantial sums so early, these candidates have passed a key test for demonstrating viability: amassing enough money to run a competitive campaign and get their messages out to voters.

While Republican strategists argue that Democrats are going to spend a lot of this money fighting each other in crowded primaries, it's also likely that many of the ads, mailers and campaign messages will focus instead on the already-vulnerable Republicans they are attempting to unseat. Donors who are getting engaged early also could consolidate behind a single Democratic candidate once the field dwindles.
Polls in a pair of Southern California congressional races that show voters unwilling to re-elect to GOP incumbents could be bad news for Republicans across the state.

The separate polls, done by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley, found a majority of voters disinclined to cast their ballots for Rep. Steve Knight, R-Lancaster (Los Angeles County), and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa (Orange County).

But those results may spread far outside those district boundaries, since they track closely with voter disapproval of President Trump and general unhappiness with Republican control of Congress.
In Rohrabacher’s district, where Republicans hold a 43 percent-to-30 percent registration margin over Democrats, 51 percent of likely voters said they were disinclined to vote for the 14-term incumbent, compared with 41 percent who favored his re-election.
The so-called enthusiasm gap is even wider, with 28 percent of likely voters strongly inclined to vote for Rohrabacher and 44 percent strongly convinced they will not support him.

It’s a similar situation for Knight, magnified by the fact that in his once strongly Republican district in northern Los Angeles County, Democrats now have a 41 percent-to-36 percent registration edge.
After winning a tough re-election campaign in 2016, Knight now finds that 56 percent of his district’s likely voters don’t support him, compared with 38 percent who do. Only 27 percent enthusiastically back his re-election, while 50 percent of those voters are strongly disinclined to vote for him.
Polling suggests that Trump, his policies and his GOP congressional supporters bear at least part of the blame for the poor showings by Rohrabacher and Knight.
A ghost haunts the Democratic party.  The ghost's name is Gary Miller.  In 2012, he was a GOP House member running in the redrawn 31st district. Though the district leaned Democratic, making Miller a top target, too many Democrats entered the primary.  They split their party's vote so much that the top two finishers were both Republicans:  Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton.  Party fratricide thus cost Democrats a winnable seat. They don't want the same thing to happen this year, especially since California is so important to their chances of retaking a majority in the House.