CA CD36 – Open Seat, two big candidates

Potentially the hottest California Congressional race in a decade, a matchup between Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn provides a great opportunity to show how mapping can inform each campaign.

Hahn is in. Activists on Twitter are saying that Bowen will decide by Tuesday. Marcy Winograd, who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 is mulling a run, and Republicans Mattie Fein and Nathan Mintz could still be in the mix. The following uses Maptitude to explore what the candidates are going to face.


CD36 Registration [PDF]

This coastal area has elected Republicans in the past, and it can be seen how in this map. Many of the higher income portions are either Republican leaning or narrowly Democratic. However the northern part of the district, including the city of LA portions makes this a safe Democratic seat.


CD36 Latino Density [PDF]

The Latino density is greatest inland and in the southern area where Hahn is most well known. Latinos could be a Hahn strength provided that these communities show up in a low-turnout election.



CD36 African American Density [PDF]

African American residents are more inland than CD 36, with only a small representation, mostly in the West Carson and LA portions of the district. Normally the African American vote would be a strong factor for Hahn as she and her father have strong support within that community. There has been some discussion that the district would have a larger African American base if the Commission made the coastal lines East/West rather than North/South. This would create two South Bay seats in which African Americans could be influential, however do so potentially at the expense of coastal communities of interest.


Asian Density [PDF]

Asian Voters could be a key voting bloc in this contest with the densest concentrations inside Torrance. Clearly this is a race where Ted Lieu would have been formidable, if he weren't in the middle of his own race for State Senate.


Hahn v. Newsom in CD36 [PDF]

Janice Hahn ran for Lieutenant Governor in June 2010, and this map shows where she won and lost, by precinct. A sitting councilmember with massive Name ID losing to a mayor from San Francisco in her LA backyard shows a major point of vulnerability.


Harman v. Winograd in June 2010 [PDF]

Marcy Winograd ran against Congresswoman Jane Harman in the June 2010 primary. Her campaign was primarily fueled by a progressive backlash to Harman who has been hawkish on middle east issues. As this map shows, a number of the most progressive precincts, particularly those up in the Venice area preferred her over Harman.


Bowen v. Ortiz 2006 Primary [PDF]

The 2006 primary election for Secretary of State was a low-interest down ballot race with Ortiz performing strongly among Latinos. This can be seen in this map where the West Carson portion of the district is strongly supportive of Ortiz. However, Bowen wins the vast majority of the district, ultimately winning by a large margin.



Hahn Results in Districts 31 – 39 [PDF]

We know from the maps below that in the 2010 Democratic Primary for Lieutenant Governor Janice Hahn lost a chunk of precincts to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. But how does this relate to her performance in other parts of LA? As this map shows, Hahn won Congressional Districts 31-39. But of those CD 36 was her worst performance. In the districts mapped, Hahn beat Newsom by an average of 31 points, but in CD 36 she only beat him by 9 points. The heavy lift for the Hahn campaign will be confronting the fact that she is extremely popular in the city core, but had her worst election night performances along the coast. 


Hahn and Bowen Races – side by side [PDF]

This compares the 2006 Bowen v. Ortiz race to the 2010 Hahn v. Newsom race, showing something local activists may already understand: Bowen is strongest in the most liberal and white portions of the district, while Hahn is strongest in the more urban LA and West Carson portions. This should be very concerning to Hahn as her base of support is also the lower registration and turnout part of the district.

Welch running for PA-07

According to CQ Politics:

Republican businessman Steven Welch, who promises that his run in the 7th District, a suburban Philadelphia constituency, will feature a “new style of campaigning that will focus on voter engagement and utilize cutting-edge technologies.”

What do you know about Mr. Welch, and do you see him as a strong candidate, as he would have to be in the Democratic-leaning district currently represented by Representative Sestak if he hopes to win?

Republican chaos now extending to the House (OH-18, GA-8, GA-12, VA-11, CA-4, CT-4)

Senate Republicans have not been doing well for a while now. But the GOP’s disarray is now extending to the House! The series of Republicans congressmen (Pryce, Hastert, LaHood, Peckering, …) declaring their intention to retire in August started the wave of bad news, but this past week shows the GOP’s House problems go much deeper than these open seats.

Read full analysis here,  on Campaign Diaries.

First, there is the speculation about more Republicans retiring. Most of it comes from VA-11, where Rep. Davis is mulling a run for Senate, and CA-4, where Rep. Doolittle is being investigated for his links to lobbyist Abramoff. In Virginia, Republicans will have a very hard time holding the seat in Democratic-trending Northern Virginia if Davis goes for the Senate seat — but it looks very likely Davis will seek to upgrade. And in California, Republicans are praying for Doolittle to resign, but he declared a few days ago that he will be in it to the end — sending chills down Republicans’ spine (Doolittle would handily lose this very red district if he remained the GOP nominee).

And could there now be a new open seat, one that would be even more terrifying for Republicans? Could the last Republican-held seat of New England finally open up, and then surely send a Democrat to Capitol Hill? It looks like that might be the case. Rep. Chris Shays, who edged out Diane Farrell in 2004 and in 2006 by extremely close margins, is now saying he will bow out if Republican leaders do not support his attempt to become top Republican on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Furthermore, he said, if he is promised the spot and then denied after the election, he will immediately resign. Shays added,
“I’m 61 years old. I’ve been in Congress 20 years. If I have to fight to become chairman of a committee, given the job I’ve done, I need to move on.”

There is no doubt that an open seat would make the seat as sure a Democratic pick-up as an open seat can ever be.  But even if he runs he will be one of the top Democratic targets. But Shays is facing a very tough re-election race once again in 2008 against already very well-funded and highly-touted Democrat Jim Himes. Shays was always known as a maverick moderate Republican, but he has become an increasingly loyal GOP house member in recent years by supporting the war effort (remember his seemingly weekly trips to Iraq in 2006?). The Hartford Courant writes:

Four years ago, things were different: Shays was winning elections easily, and he knew he was being punished by House Republican leaders because he led the fight for campaign finance reform. Times now are different. Shays has been a fairly loyal Republican, particularly on the Iraq war, and has been a loyal member of the committee, where he chaired its national security subcommittee before Democrats won control of the House last year.

Then come Republican recruitement failures. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes of the dire state of Georgia Republicans, who are failing to come up with serious challengers to two of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents: Jim Marshall (8th) and John Barrow (12th). Both Democrats barely survived in 2006 (by one-two points each), but Republicans are not setting themselves up for a similar opportunity in 2008, especially against John Barrow. And today, Republican Mike Carey withdrew his candidacy in Ohio’s 18th district, one of the most Republicans in Ohio that is today represented by Democrat Zach Space. OH-18 is supposed to be one of the GOP’s 2-3 top pick-up opportunities, but that still requires them to field a strong candidate.

Add to all of this the mounting controversy over Republican House leader Boehner’s assessment that soldiers’ lives and the country’s money is a “small price” to pay for what we are achieving in Iraq. McCain even joined in the fray today, condemning Boehner’s remarks. And the Democrats are pouncing: Kerry – who wrote a piece about this for the Huffington Post, probably enjoying his revenge after the bogus scandal around his botched joke in the fall of 2006 – and Dean denounced Boehner in strong terms.

The picture is certainly not as perfect for Democrats in the House as it is in the Senate, but things are going their way. Check my blog this week-end for ratings of this cycle’s House races.


NY-SD7 Johnson Works, O’Connell Heads Home Early

I wanted to share an anecdote from the campaign trail with everyone.  In New York’s Seventh District, Craig Johnson (D-WFP) is running for an open State Senate seat in a special election set for February 6th.

Last night, while Craig Johnson was rallying supporters and the Working Families Party canvass was knocking on doors and talking to people, Craig’s Republican opponent Maureen O’Connell was sitting at home.

From Spin Cycle:

“One of Nassau Legis. Craig Johnson’s canvassers in the state Senate race ran into Johnson’s opponent, Republican County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, after the campaign worker got a little lost Monday evening.

O’Connell had just pulled into a driveway in the East Williston neighborhood when the canvasser, needing directions, approached her. As they talked, the canvasser recognized O’Connell and she realized she was talking to one of her opponent’s foot soldiers. They exchanged pleasantries and wished each other luck.”

Now, since the WFP is running the canvass, I can give you the inside story straight from the canvasser who talked to her:

“A little after 5:30, I was trying to find an address on my  turf and was looking from the sidewalk at a number on one of the houses from the  street to determine if it was on my walk list.  A woman saw me looking at her house and came out to ask if she could help me.

I recognized her as Maureen O’Connell as soon as she came out because she had an O’Connell lawn sign and I’m friends with one of her former Assembly opponents.  I decided to exchange pleasantries, and we each did some campaigning and talked about the situation in Albany.  Then she realized I was part of the WFP canvass campaigning for Craig Johnson, and we wished each other good luck and parted ways.  I kept canvassing for the rest of the night and she went back inside.”

Gonna have to work harder than that to win this race.

21 more days until Election Day!

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