As Michael Barone put it, "Between 1995 and 2005, politics was trench warfare where each side tried to have stronger enthusiasm. Now we are in an open field." Barone is correct because of all the voter shifts right now. 1995 to 2005 were years with 50-50 divides (except for Clinton's win in 1996 where although he had 49% of the vote, he probably would have received a few more percentage points had Ross Perot not run.) The open field politics are clearly showing themselves now with the independents running to the Democrats in 2006 and 2008, giving Democrats a 15 seat Senate pickup, a 54 seat House pickup and the Presidency. Unfortunately, the open field politics did not stop when the Democrats had the independents. The Republicans are now gaining momentum and it is not just because of lethargic Democrats. Many independents are shifting and the anti status quo view is showing itself in primaries. Incumbents in both parties like Arlen Specter (D) in Pennsylvania and Bob Bennett (R) in Utah are losing their primaries. Republicans are looking to flip more than 40 house seats, taking the House from the Democrats.
One place you may expect to see all the upheaval is California. The statewide offices are definitely contested where fired HP CEO Carly Fiorina hopes to end Barbara Boxer's (D) hard work in the Senate. Also, Republicans are contesting the Lieutenant Governorship and the Attorney General spot. One place though in California where there is not much upheaval is the U.S House districts in California. There are a few slightly competitive races like CA-45 where Mary Bono (R) faces the openly gay Palm Springs mayor. In a Democratic year, the Democrats would have more opportunities. Most of the Democrats now are in safe districts so the Republicans cannot win those seats. An exception is CA-11 where Jerry McNerney (D) won in 2006 against corrupt corporate puppet Richard Pombo (R). The district is growing more Democratic but Republicans are seeing an opportunity in Mormon David Harmer (R) who ran unsucessfully in 2009 for CA-10 against John Garamendi (D). Here are the rankings:
32 Safe D
1 Likely D
0 Lean D
2 Lean R
3 Likely R
14 Safe R
Link for map of California's congressional districts: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd?state=CA
CA-1 Mike Thompson (D) Safe D
Great representative in a great district. What else can I say?
CA-2 Wally Herger (R) Likely R
Saying someone is a great American for calling himself, "A right wing terrorist," really goes against the tea party idea of respecting the country and the Constitution. Still, this district is too conservative and this is a Republican year.
CA-3 Dan Lungren (R) Lean R
Lungren won by 5 points last year so Democrats are now actively contesting this race. Although Democrats have a strong candidate, this is the wrong year and Obama did only win this district by 2 points. Although it is trending Democratic, if Lungren cannot be knocked off in a Democratic year, when can he lose?
CA-4 Tom McClintock (R) Solid R
Although he is a carpetbagger and extreme conservative, enough voters here do not mind.
CA-5 Doris Matsui (D) Safe D
One of the only safe places for Democrats in the Central Valley
CA-6 Lynn Woolsey (D) Safe D
My home district!
CA-7 George Miller (D) Safe D
Takes all the really Democratic areas in Contra Costa/Solano Counties.
CA-8 Nancy Pelosi (D) Safe D
No Republican wins here. The contest is the primary if Pelosi retires next year.
CA-9 Barbara Lee (D) Safe D
Most Democratic district in California and most liberal in the country.
CA-10 John Garamendi (D) Safe D
Won 53% of the vote in a 65% Obama district in 2009. David Harmer (R), the challenger from last year is not running here again. Garamendi should be fine.
CA-11 Jerry McNerney (D) Toss Up/Tilt Democratic
Democrats have been moving into this district from the Bay Area and they helped topple corrupt Richard Pombo (R) in 2006. McNerney won again by 10 points in 2008, not the best margin in a Democratic year. David Harmer (R) is now moving into the 11th to run there. This is the right year for Republicans and Harmer also lives in the San Ramon Valley, cutting away McNerney's advantage there. This is one of the races that will decide control of the House.
CA-12 Jackie Speier (D) Safe D
Great congresswoman in a great district.
CA-13 Pete Stark (D) Safe D
Not much else to say
CA-14 Anna Eshoo (D) Safe D
Eshoo is a great congresswoman and she is not leaving soon!
CA-15 Mike Honda (D) Safe D
Tom Campbell's (R) old district but its Republican tradition is gone.
CA-16 Zoe Lofgren (D) Safe D
Another easy win for the Democrats.
CA-17 Sam Farr (D) Safe D
The district with Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties is not changing hands.
CA-18 Dennis Cardoza (D) Likely D
This is Gary Condit's (D) old district. Condit is famous for having an affair in 2001. Cardoza has been safe the last few elections but Republicans found Mike Berryhill (R) from the Turlock Irrigation Board. Although this is a Republican year, the district's large Hispanic population makes this district too Democratic.
CA-19 OPEN George Radanovich (R) Solid R
There was a big primary here on the Republican side with corrupt former CA-11 congressman Richard Pombo (R) losing to Jeff Denham (R) from California's 12th State Senate district. Despite McCain only winning 52% of the vote here, it should be no contest in the general election.
CA-20 Jim Costa (D) Likely D
This is another district with a strong Republican challenger but due to its even larger Hispanic population than the 18th, Costa should win.
CA-21 Devin Nunes (R) Safe R
Pluarity Hispanic but still a safe Republican district.
CA-22 Kevin McCarthy (R) Safe R
Bakersfield's district and the most Republican district in California. No surprise.
CA-23 Lois Capps (D) Safe D
Capps is a great congresswoman in a great district. What can beat the California coast? Her district is safe.
CA-24 Elton Gallegy (R) Safe R
Once he retires, this district will have a big fight but for now, Gallegy has a hold on it.
CA-25 Buck McKeon (R) Safe R
Obama won 50% of the vote here but until McKeon retires, this district is staying Republican.
CA-26 David Dreier (R) Solid R
The district is trending Democratic quickly but Dreier is moderate and entrenched.
CA-27 Brad Sherman (D) Solid D
The San Fernando Valley used to be marginal but not anymore.
CA-28 Howard Berman (D) Solid D
Another heavily Democratic district
CA-29 Adam Schiff (D) Solid D
Pasadena used to be Republican but it is now Democratic.
CA-30 Henry Waxman (D) Solid D
Right in Westside LA, Waxman is not going anywhere.
CA-31 Xavier Beccara (D) Solid D
CA-32 Judy Chu (D) Solid D
Chu should worry about a Hispanic primary challenger but not a Republican.
CA-33 OPEN Diane Watson (D) Solid D
Karen Bass (D) should be elected here easily.
CA-34 Lucille Roybal Allard (D) Solid D
The first Hispanic congresswoman will have no trouble.
CA-35 Maxine Waters (D) Solid D
Waters may have ethical problems but this is one of the most Democratic districts in the country.
CA-36 Jane Harman (D) Safe D
Despite her moderate views, Harman's money will keep away any primary challenge.
CA-37 Laura Richardson (D) Safe D
No problems here for Richardson
CA-38 Grace Napolitano (D) Safe D
Another safe Democratic district.
CA-39 Linda Sanchez (D) Safe D
This district used to be marginal but it is now safely Democratic.
CA-40 Ed Royce (R) Safe R
Although McCain barely won here, Royce is still safe.
CA-41 Jerry Lewis (R) Safe R
Longtime Representative Lewis is going nowhere.
CA-42 Gary Miller (R) Safe R
The district may be competitive in the future but it is Republican now.
CA-43 Joe Baca (D) Safe D
If you were wondering why there are so many Republican districts are in the Inland Empire, it is because the Democrats are here.
CA-44 Ken Calvert (R) Likely R
Calvert's district with Riverside in it is trending Democratic with Obama winning by 2 points after a Kerry loss of 19 points in 2004. In 2008, Calvert was caught off guard and nearly lost to Bill Hedrick (D). Hedrick is back again but he has had problems raising money and Calvert is ready for a challenge. Also, this is the wrong year for Hedrick but in 2012, Democrats will have a better shot.
CA-45 Mary Bono Mack (R) Lean R
Mack was elected in 2002 after her husband Sonny Bono (R) passed away. She has kept a somewhat moderate voting record and has been reelected easily. Some factors are making it harder for her though because the district is trending Democratic quickly with areas like Palm Springs and Moreno Valley. The openly gay mayor of Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet is challenging her. Although he is a strong candidate, this is the wrong year.
CA-46 Dana Rohrabacher (R) Safe R
Another SoCal district trending Democratic but still strong for Rohrabacher.
CA-47 Loretta Sanchez (D) Likely D
Sanchez has been reelected easily in the past but she is facing Van Tran (R), a Vietnamese State Assemblyman. Although he is popular with the Vietnamese community, Sanchez is also popular with them and is expected to do well with the district's large Hispanic population. Although this is a Republican year and Bush won this district by one point, the district is still too Democratic for Van Tran.
CA-48 John Campbell (R) Safe R
Yes, Irvine is in this district but the rest of the district is Republican.
CA-49 Darrell Issa (R) Safe R
One of the more Republican district in SoCal.
CA-50 Brian Bilbray (R) Likely R
Francine Busby (D), two time challenger for this seat is running again. Bilbray (R) beat her in a 2006 special election 49%-46% and general election in a Democratic year 53%-43%. In this Republican year, it is even more difficult for Busby.
CA-51 Bob Filner (D) Safe D
So this is where many of the San Diego Democrats live.
CA-52 Duncan Hunter Jr. (R) Safe R
Yes, this is the son of Duncan Hunter (R) who was here since 1980.
CA-53 Susan Davis (D) Safe D
Davis beat Bilbray in 2000 but her district is too Democratic now for a successful Republican challenge.
Do you agree or disagree with the rankings? Do you have any rankings you want to share? Do you want more information? Please comment and share your thoughts.