Friday, May 17, 2013

Midterm Madness: California's 36th Congressional District

(Charlie Cook is currently calling eight House races toss-ups for 2014. Seven of these are held by Democrats and only one by a Republican. Let's look at the California 36th.)

The California 36th is represented by Democrat Raul Ruiz. He won it against redistricted incumbent Mary Bomo Mack in 2012 by a margin of 52.9 percent to 47.1 percent. 

Obama beat Romney in the district 50.7 percent to 47.5 percent. 

According to Charlie Cook, rapid immigration of Hispanic and wealthy liberal voters in areas of this district made what had historically been a safe GOP seat a battleground district in 2012. 

Also important was the fact that Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack was helping her husband run for the U.S. Senate in Florida and perhaps didn't pay enough attention to getting herself reelected.

The midterm dynamic is in play in 2014 and it may be a struggle for Ruiz to keep the seat without the lustre of the top of the ticket driving supportive turnout, which is what puts this in the toss up column for Cook. 

Ruiz is a part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program, which is designed to help at risk incumbents, so they understand too. 

A name that comes up as a potential GOP challenger is Assemblyman Brian Nestande who, according to press reports, already has a campaign committee to run for the 36th CD. He hasn't declared but seems likely to run. 

Whoever gets the GOP nomination will probably work harder than Mary Bono Mack who has said she is done with politics.

The district's voter registration is almost equally divided and, as in 2012, both parties will focus serious effort here. 

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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