California’s 53-seat delegation constitutes roughly one-eighth of the U.S. House of Representatives, so, logically, the Golden State’s contribution to the impending landslide should be a pick-up of six, seven, eight, or more for the GOP. Right?
It’s quite possible that not a single House seat could change hands in California tomorrow night. You can thank redistricting for that — redistricting, and California’s nonconformist attitude: Voters here just aren’t as outraged by cap-and-trade, Obamacare, and Obama himself as voters elsewhere seem to be.
But, if the coming wave breaks as strong as forecasters now think, I’m guessing Republicans will steal the following three seats:
CA-11: Two-term congressman Jerry McNerney won this seat in 2006; he fits the profile of a Democrat swept into office in the last two cycles, now looking to be swept back out to sea. Unemployment in his district’s San Joaquin County stood at 16.5 percent in August. Republican David Harmer is running strong on conservative issues and values.
CA 20: Three-term congressman Jim Costa fancies himself a friend of the farmer, but farmers in the Central Valley are up in arms over federal water policy. The district skews to the right on a host of social issues (abortion in particular), making it easy for Republican Andy Vidak to link Costa to Speaker Pelosi.
CA 47: Harry “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican” Reid, meet Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who went on Univision a month ago and told viewers that “the Vietnamese” were trying to steal the seat from her Hispanic constituents. Her opponent, Republican assemblyman Van Tran, was born in Vietnam. He gets my vote for best piece of campaign literature: a scratch-and-sniff mailer telling voters “something smells rotten about Loretta — it’s the stench of Washington.”
— Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.