The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has indicated the party will actively compete in 10 of the 14 California districts currently held by Republicans. In 2016, the DCCC listed four Republican-held districts as battlegrounds.
“It certainly is the Trump factor,” says Scott Lay, who tracks California elections for AroundTheCapitol.com.
“If people have a bad taste in their mouth, as they did in Virginia(‘s recent off-year election), you’re going to see suburbs move more towards Democrats, and it doesn’t take much,” Lay says. “What we’re really talking about in most of these races is Republicans won the seat on a five-to-seven percent margin.”
He says changing demographics, especially in Orange County, and larger-than-usual fundraising totals for Democrats in those districts has the party eying formerly unthinkable targets.
Still, Republicans held all of the seats targeted last year by the DCCC, and Lay thinks it’s unlikely Democrats compete closely for all 10 districts, even in a wave election. He says the target lists are campaign tools for both parties, but they also help indicate where the parties see vulnerabilities and are factors for respected national ratings, such as from Cook Political Report.
The expanded DCCC list in California is an indication that the party sees any opportunity to win control of the House of Representatives in 2018 running through California.
Here are the Republican-held seats targeted by the DCCC:
CA-04 - Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove)
CA-10 - Jeff Denham (R-Modesto)
CA-21 - David Valadao (R-Hanford)
CA-22 - Devin Nunes (R-Tulare)
CA-25 - Steve Knight (R-Palmdale)
CA-39 - Ed Royce (R-Fullerton)
CA-45 - Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel)
CA-48 - Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa)
CA-49 - Darrell Issa (R-Vista)
CA-50 - Duncan D. Hunter (R-Lakeside)
Correction: A previous version of the story misstated Jeff Denham's district location.