California Race Chart 2010 (Part 2 of 3: Congressional Races)

Here is Part 2 of my analysis of this fall’s elections in California, which will cover the Congressional races. Part 3 will cover the state legislature.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and Democracy for California.

Incumbents are in boldface. In the case of open seats, the party of the retiring incumbent is listed without boldface.

D: Democratic

R: Republican

L: Libertarian

G: Green

AI: American Independent

PF: Peace and Freedom

SW: Socialist Workers

I: Independent

Senator: Barbara Boxer (D) vs. ex-HP CEO Carly Fiorina (R), Duane Roberts (G), Gail Lightfoot (L), Edward Noonan (AI), Marsha Feinland (PF), James Harris (SW-W/I)

Even after Arnold decided against running, and long before “Coakley” became a verb, I expected Boxer to be in a tough fight in 2010. Fortunately, she is no slacker and knows how to run a tough campaign, hitting her opponent where it hurts (in this case, on attacking Fiorina’s praise of outsourcing and using former HP employees). She is polarizing, but fortunately the Democratic base in California is big enough for her to win even if she loses independent voters by single to low-double digits.

Outlook: Lean Boxer

U.S. HOUSE (Composition: 34 Democrats, 19 Republicans)

CA-03 (Sacramento suburbs): Dan Lungren (R) vs. Dr. Ami Bera (D), Art Tuma (L), Lerry Leidecker (AI), Mike Roskey (PF)

Registration: 40.31% GOP, 37.55% DEM, 17.72% DTS, 4.42% other

Profile: This is one of the Democrats’ best chances of picking off a GOP-held seat in the House. This suburban Sacramento seat was strongly Republican early in the decade before rapidly swinging left to become an Obama-voting district in 2008, also nearly catching Lungren off-guard. Bera has outraised Lungren every quarter this cycle, and don’t be surprised to see this as one of the closest races in a GOP-held seat.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/tilt Lungren

CA-11 (San Joaquin County and parts of East Bay): Jerry McNerney (D) vs. attorney David Harmer (R), David Christensen (AI)

Registration: 39.45% DEM, 39.00% GOP, 17.54% DTS, 4.01% Other

Profile: This was expected since the end of the last cycle to be another challenging race for McNerney, especially after Harmer won the primary. Harmer, as you may remember, made the 2009 special in the more Democratic CA-10 a 10-point race against Garamendi. Fortunately for Harmer, the 11th is much less Democratic and he now has more name recognition. Unfortunately for Harmer, the race in CA-11 will be in a general election rather than an off-year special, so turnout is guaranteed to be higher. Also, the trends in registration are more in McNerney’s favor, flipping to a Dem advantage in registration for the first time, mirroring the trend to the Dems statewide in registration.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean McNerney

CA-18 (Upper Central Valley): Dennis Cardoza (D) vs. agribusinessman Mike Berryhill (R)

CA-20 (Fresno, part of Bakersfield): Jim Costa (D) vs. farmer Andy Vidak (R)

CA-18 Registration: 49.85% DEM, 31.81% GOP, 14.32% DTS, 4.02% Other

CA-20 Registration: 51.45% DEM, 31.02% GOP, 12.64% DTS, 4.89% Other

Profile: Not on anybody’s radar screens until about a month ago, the Central Valley is now the source of two more competitive races, with water a hot issue here and the Republicans harping the issue nonstop. The 18th is less Democratic than the 20th, owing to the lack of a major urban center, having gone for Bush narrowly in 2004, but Cardoza is taking his tougher-than-expected reelection more seriously, so I expect Costa to have a slightly tougher reelection than Cardoza.

CA-18 10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Cardoza

CA-20 10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Costa

CA-44 (Riverside, Corona, San Clemente): Ken Calvert (R) vs. educator Bill Hedrick (D)

Registration: 43.11% GOP, 33.87% DEM, 18.38% DTS, 4.64% Other

Profile: One of the out-of-nowhere near-upsets of 2008, Hedrick is back for a rematch. Calvert is trying to avoid being caught asleep at the wheel again, and Hedrick is surprisingly lacking in the money department despite coming very close last time, so I don’t like his chances this time.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Calvert

CA-45 (Most of Riverside County): Mary Bono Mack (R) vs. Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet (D), Bill Lussenheide (AI)

Registration: 41.29% GOP, 38.31% DEM, 16.17% DTS, 4.23% Other

Profile: Democrats got a top-tier recruit here in the openly gay mayor of Palm Springs. Bono Mack has taken heat for her vote against repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, even though her district has the highest proportion of gays of any Republican-held district, and Lussenheide is challenging her from the right, on some of her “insufficiently conservative” votes such as cap-and-trade. I expect Pougnet to perform better than Bornstein last time, though still come up short.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Bono Mack

CA-47 (Anaheim, Santa Ana): Loretta Sanchez (D) vs. Assemblyman Van Tran (R), Ceci Iglesias (I), Gary Schank (I)

Registration: 46.90% DEM, 30.90% GOP, 18.67% DTS, 3.53% Other

Profile: Like the Central Valley Dem districts, the Orange County Dem district, which also voted for Bush like CA-18, is now a hot race after being off most radar screens until about a month ago. Sanchez didn’t help herself by the gaffe “The Vietnamese are after my seat”, which I thought was really boneheaded, considering all that she had done for them in the past. I still expect Sanchez to win, though by less than against Tan Nguyen from 2006.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Lean to Likely Sanchez

CA-48 (Central Orange County, including Irvine): John Campbell (R) vs. Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom (D), Mike Binkley (L)

Registration: 44.41% GOP, 28.99% DEM, 22.45% DTS, 4.15% Other

Profile: Once expected to be a top-tier race, this district fell off the radar screen as the touted former mayor of Irvine Beth Krom has lagged on the money front.

10/23/2010 Outlook: Likely Campbell


CA-01 (North Coast): Mike Thompson (D)

CA-02 (Northern Sacramento Valley): Wally Herger (R)

CA-04 (Northeast, including Tahoe): Tom McClintock (R)

CA-05 (Sacramento): Doris Matsui (D)

CA-06 (Northern SF Bay): Lynn Woolsey (D)

CA-07 (Northeast SF Bay): George Miller (D)

CA-08 (San Francisco): Nancy Pelosi (D)

CA-09 (Berkeley, Oakland): Barbara Lee (D)

CA-10 (Inner East SF Bay): John Garamendi (D)

CA-12 (Lower SF Peninsula): Jackie Speier (D)

CA-13 (Southern East Bay): Pete Stark (D)

CA-14 (Silicon Valley): Anna Eshoo (D)

CA-15 (Santa Clara, Cupertino): Mike Honda (D)

CA-16 (San Jose): Zoe Lofgren (D)

CA-17 (Northern Central Coast): Sam Farr (D)

CA-19 (Yosemite, part of Fresno): Jeff Denham (R) – vacated by George Radanovich (R)

CA-21 (Tulare): Devin Nunes (R)

CA-22 (Bakersfield): Kevin McCarthy (R)

CA-23 (Southern Central Coast): Lois Capps (D)

CA-24 (Inner Santa Barbara/Ventura): Elton Gallegly (R)

CA-25 (Palmdale, Big Empty): Buck McKeon (R)

CA-26 (Northeastern L.A. suburbs): David Dreier (R)

CA-27 (Western San Fernando Valley): Brad Sherman (D)

CA-28 (Eastern San Fernando Valley): Howard Berman (D)

CA-29 (Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena): Adam Schiff (D)

CA-30 (Malibu, Beverly Hills): Henry Waxman (D)

CA-31 (Hollywood): Xavier Becerra (D)

CA-32 (Covina, Baldwin Park): Judy Chu (D)

CA-33 (Culver City): Karen Bass (D) – vacated by Diane Watson (D)

CA-34 (Downtown L.A.): Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)

CA-35 (South Central): Maxine Waters (D)

CA-36 (Beach Cities): Jane Harman (D)

CA-37 (South Central, Long Beach): Laura Richardson (D)

CA-38 (Southeastern L.A. suburbs): Grace Napolitano (D)

CA-39 (Southeastern L.A. County): Linda Sánchez (D)

CA-40 (Northern Orange County): Ed Royce (R)

CA-41 (Most of San Bernardino County): Jerry Lewis (R)

CA-42 (Chino, Brea): Gary Miller (R)

CA-43 (Ontario, San Bernardino): Joe Baca (D)

CA-46 (Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Palos Verdes): Dana Rohrabacher (R)

CA-49 (Temecula, Oceanside): Darrell Issa (R)

CA-50 (Northern San Diego suburbs): Brian Bilbray (R)

CA-51 (Imperial County, southern SD suburbs): Bob Filner (D)

CA-52 (Eastern San Diego suburbs): Duncan D. Hunter (R)

CA-53 (San Diego): Susan Davis (D)

NY-Sen: Meet Jon Cooper: Still Pondering Run Against Gillibrand

Jon Cooper said it was an eye-opening moment for him. He was watching the press conference announcing Governor David Paterson’s selection of Kirsten Gillibrand to serve as New York’s junior U.S. senator. His spouse Rob inquired out loud if that was former Senator Alfonse D’Amato standing on the platform with her.

Last week, I spoke with Cooper about his possible candidacy, his career and why he is interested in running for a seat that was once held by Hillary Clinton, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Robert F. Kennedy.

At first, Cooper dismissed the notion that a former Republican U.S. senator from New York – the same man Senator Chuck Schumer beat in 1998 – would be at a ceremony for Republicans. But, much to his dismay, there D’Amato stood mere feet away from Gillibrand as she was introduced as New York’s newest senator.

Cooper makes it clear that he has ideas. He isn’t just going to run an anti-Gillibrand campaign, but he can’t help but point out her record. He mentions her past ties to Big Tobacco, the 100 percent rating she received from the National Rifle Association and her evolution on numerous issues that could be perceived as politically convenient.

“Her past position (on gun control) was of concern,” he said. “There are some people are distrustful of her evolution on this and other issues and are concerned about what they see as flip-flopping and see this as insincere or they question her character. I’m not saying I do. But there are those who do.”

For Cooper, however, it is different. He is not yet a declared candidate but he is touting his own record and why, if he were to run, he should be considered a serious contender to Gillibrand.

“I have, many times over the years, took stances that might not have been politically popular with my constituents but I believed it was the right thing to do,” he said.

As an openly gay and happily married man, Cooper is the father of five children he and his spouse Rob have adopted. He has served 10 years on the Suffolk County Legislature and currently is the majority leader for the legislature’s Democrats. He lists two key pieces of legislation as highlights of his career. He wrote the first law banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving in the country. Since then, a number of states (including New York) have adopted such laws. In addition to that, Cooper also authored legislation that banned the sale of ephedra. That effort led to the federal government imposing a ban on the dietary supplement.

Jobs and the economy is an area that Cooper knows all too well. Cooper is running the family business, Spectronics Corporation, in Westbury. He said that while he is on the corporate side of things, he also is very much pro-labor and supports workers.

In the 2008 presidential primaries, Cooper backed an underdog named Barack Obama. Cooper was the first elected official from New York to endorse Obama and went on to be the Long Island chair of the Obama campaign. He said that, at the time, people asked him if he realized the political risk he was taking. Cooper said he had supported Hillary Clinton in the past but once he met Obama, he was sold. It was through the Obama campaign that Cooper met many grassroots organizers, some of whom are now aiding him in his exploratory efforts and organizing meet and greets throughout the state for people to meet him. Cooper was in upstate New York this weekend meeting voters in Buffalo and Rochester and will be back in upstate New York again, especially if he decides to run.

Cooper knows that he has a long way to go. He realizes that Gillibrand has millions in her bankroll. He realizes that she has received nearly every county chair’s endorsement to date. But one thing he references to is that Obama was counted out too. No one thought Hillary Clinton could be beaten. But with the greatest grassroots campaign ever, Obama pulled it out in the primary and won the general election.

A vast majority of Obama organizers and activists that Cooper worked with in 2008 are urging him to run and are supporting him. Democratic clubs have urged him to run. Progressives are supporting him. And while he says he isn’t comparing himself to Obama, the comparisons are glaring.

“The party establishment, for the most part, quite understandably is falling in line behind our Democratic incumbent senator regardless of how she got to that office,” he said. “But she’s the incumbent Democrat now and I expect most of the political establishment to back her. But a lot of the grassroots leaders that had been early supporters of Obama seem to be lining up behind me or at the very least, urging me to run so that we will have a choice, which is what this is all about: Offering Democrats in New York State a choice.”

While Cooper doesn’t have a full slate of issues on his platform yet (understandable at this stage), his platform stresses the importance of economic development, pushes for progressive values and support of the environment and the fight for health care, consumer protection, gun safety and middle class tax cuts.

So when will we know whether or not Cooper is running? He says by the end of the year he will have a decision. He is testing the waters right now to see just how much support he has and what the response is statewide. I spoke with him over the weekend and he seemed to be very pleased and excited by the response in Buffalo and Rochester. So we’ll see just how far he is willing to go and if he is going to make an upset bid for the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Senate 2010 Potential Challengers

Things could get interesting for U.S. Senate incumbents of both parties in 2010, especially with the Democratic majority again seeking a fillibuster proof 60 seats. With 37 races on the ballot, about 20 of them, in my opinion, present opportunities for exciting matchups and electoral fireworks!  The list below presents these potential races.  These are merely predictions and not set races for 2010.

1. Alaska – Murkowski (R) v. Knowles (D).  Murkowski also faces a challenge from Palin in the GOP primary

2. California – Boxer (R) v. Schwarzenegger (R).  Assuming Schwarzenegger survives a likely GOP primary fight from the right of his own party.

3. Arizona – McCain (R) v. Napolitano (D). Would the popular former Governor be willing to abandon Homeland Security for the Senate, especially against a high profile incument?

4. North Dakota – Dorgan (D) v. Hoeven (R).  Dorgan’s a Democrat in a red state.  Could he survive such a matchup?

5. South Dakota – Thune (R) v. Herseth-Sandlin (D).  Democrats have been out for revenge since Thune narrowly took out Daschle in 2004.

6. Oklahoma – Coburn (R) v. Henry (D)

7. Iowa – Grassley (R) v. Vilsack (D).  Would Vilsack be willing to give up Agriculture for the U.S. Senate against a Senate fixture?  

8. Missouri – Carnahan (D) v. Blunt (R). An open seat always presents fireworks and an influx of cash from either party.  Can Carnahan transform name recognition and a recent Democratic lean in the state into a Senate seat?  

9. Arkansas – Lincoln (D) v. Huckabee (R). Could Huckabee become only the second Arkansas Republican in the Senate since Reconstruction?  

10. Wisconsin – Feingold (D) v. Thompson (R).

11. Indiana – Bayh (D) v. Pence (R).  As Republican Conference Leader in the House, Pence has a huge public profile, but will he be willing to give it up for a shot at the Senate or wait to take on the aging Dick Lugar in 2012?

12. Kentucky – Bunning (R) v. Mongiardo (D).  Mongiardo lost in 2004 by only 2 points. Bunning’s recent comments regarding Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer, concerns about his mental fitness for the job, low poll ratings, and the lack of Bush on the ballot this year make this potential rematch a likely Democratic pickup.

13. Florida – If the 2000 Presidential race here had you sweating bullets, the 2010 Senate race for the open seat is bound to be just as close.  Possible Republicans include popular GOP Rep. Connie Mack and current Gov. Charlie Crist.  Democrats eyeing the seat might include Reps. Kendrick Meek and Debbie Wasserman Schultz – both young and media savy.

14. South Carolina – Graham (R) v. Clyburn (D).  Would Clyburn be willing to abandon House Majority Whip for the Senate?  

15. Maryland – Mikulski (D) v. Steele (R).  Steele just won GOP chair and was a popular Lt. Gov.  But if he couldn’t win for the GOP against Cardin in 2004, his odds are long in this solidly Democratic state.  

16. Delaware – Is this seat being held for Beau Biden?  Survey says – probably so!

17. New York – The big question isn’t will Gillibrand make it to the general election, but will she survive the primary.  In a liberal state with an anti-gun swing, odds are she won’t.  Even if Long Island Rep. Peter King were to run, this seat is probably safe for the Democrats – probably a current House member from downstate.  

18. Connecticut – Dodd (D) v. Rell (R).  New England has solidified as a Democratic base and Rell is popular.  Angst over Dodd’s role as chair of Senate Banking could present some roadbumps, otherwise Dodd should be OK.  

19. Vermont – Leahy (D) v. Douglas (R).  Governors in Vermont serve only 2 years so Douglas would face a challenge with two races against a popular incumbent and a high profile one as Judiciary chairman.

20. New Hampshire – like Vermont, Governors in New Hampshire serve only 2 years.  However, John Lynch is highly popular in a state that’s been trending bluer over the past few election cycles. With this seat open, it’s a free for all.  

21. Hawaii – Inouye (D) v. Lingle (R).  Little Hawaii way out in the Pacific gets little play in national elections.  It’s solidly Democratic, so much so it’s taken for granted.  Inouye (D) has been in the Senate since 1962 and may ultimately retire.  Lingle’s a popular Gov. who may make this one a fight; even more so if Inouye retires.  

U.S. Senate 2010 Initial Predictions

With the 2008 elections just over and President Obama inaugurated, it’s never to early to turn our attention to the next big electoral cycle in U.S. politics – the 2010 congressional midterms.  Democrats currently have a majority of 56 seats, Republicans hold 41 seats, two seats are held by Independents (Lieberman and Sanders), and one seat – the Class II seat from Minnesota – remains vacant.  

2010 will be a Class III cycle featuring 14 incumbent Republicans seeking reelection along with 13 Democrats.  Six seats will be open (Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Florida, and New Hampshire).  One Senator (Michael Bennet of Colorado) will be seeking his first full term after having been appointed to an unexpired term in 2009.  Two seats for unexpired terms (a Class I seat in New York and a Class II seat in Delaware) will also be on the ballot.  

Solid Democratic Senators, I am predicting, include: Patty Murray in Washington and Harry Reid in Nevada.  Likely Democratic Senators, I am predicting, include: Boxer, Dorgan, Lincoln, Feingold, Bayh, Mikulski, Schumer, Dodd, Leahy, and Inouye.  Solid Republican Senators, I am predicting include: Crapo, Bennett, Shelby, and Isakson.  Likely Republican Senators, I am predicting, include Murkowski, McCain, Thune, Coburn, Grassley, and Graham.  My only lean Republican prediction is Specter.  

My tossups among Senate incumbents include Vitter, Bunning, and Burr.  

IL-Sen: Round Two, This Time Starring Roland Burris as Dracula!

Harry Reid: Leave, legislator, you don’t belong in this Chamber!

Roland Burris: It was not by MY ego that I was once again given government office!  I was appointed here by ROD BLAGOJEVICH, who wished to pay ME tribute!

Reid: Tribute?  He destroys politicians’ careers, and makes them his pawns!

Burris: Perhaps the same could be said of all scandal-plagued politicians.

Reid: Your words are as empty as your ethics!  The people of Illinois ill need a Senator such as you!

Burris: What is a Senate seat?!  A miserable little pile of campaign efforts!  But enough talk…have at you!

OK-SEN: Rice raises 451k, 748k COH

State Senator Andrew Rice raised 451k for the 2nd quarter, and now has an impressive (for Oklahoma) 748k COH.

He has raised $1.4 Million for the overall campaign.

Info. from here:…

Inhofe will be in a dogfight once Rice goes on TV.


OR Sen: Jeff Merkley’s GREAT new TV ad!

Oregon House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley has his first TV spot up on the air!

The ad highlights Jeff’s history as a fighter for Oregon’s progressive values and Jeff’s commitment to going to the U.S. Senate to end the war in Iraq, protect a woman’s right to choose and gain accessible health care for all.

Check it out:

Carla–Netroots Outreach, Jeff Merkley for Oregon

OR Sen: Spring has sprung! Endorsments are blooming!

U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Merkley is challenging Republican Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate in Oregon.

Merkley released a new web vid yesterday about the incredible progressives unifying with the campaign!

Check it out…

Carla–Netroots Outreach, Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate

OR Sen:(video) Jeff Merkley signs on to “A Responsible Plan To End The War In Iraq

Yesterday, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley became the first U.S. Senate challenger to sign on to A Responsible Plan To End The War In Iraq.

Click on the video to below to see Jeff Merkley discuss signing on to the Plan:

Carla–Netroots Outreach, Jeff Merkley for Oregon

4’9″ Senate Candidate With Steel Hook Launches TV Ads

Steve Novick released a new campaign ad today. While the campaign was filming its ad, it was able to make another at the same time entitled "Beer with Steve,". The spot offers a humorous take on Steve's 'unusualities' and his determination to find a way to make things work. So take a moment, watch the video, and pass it on to friends, neighbors and colleagues to help get the word out about Steve.