Kos and the Left looking to California for big lib wins - The Roger Hedgecock Show - Talk Radio

Kos and the Left looking to California for big lib wins

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  • Democratic congressional pickups: If Democrats are going to have any chance at retaking the House of Representatives, they will need to clean house in California. While redistricting has made certain Republican incumbents more vulnerable, the key opportunities are in the open seats. The more traditional race is occurring in the 41st district, centered around Riverside County in the southeast part of the state. Situations arising from redistricting forced long-term Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis to retire, leaving an open, Democratic-leaning district. The top Democrat is openly gay community college board member Mark Takano, who will likely be facing off against Republican John Tavaglione. A strong performance by Takano in the primary would bode well for his chances in November.

    Further to the northwest, Republican Congressman Elton Gallegly's 24th District, centered around coastal Ventura County, was redrawn to lean Democratic. This prompted Gallegly to retire, leaving the seat (numbered the 26th) open. Unlike the 41st, however, the dynamics of this race are more complicated. The leading Democrat is progressive Assemblymember Julia Brownley, who will be opposed by conservative Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland. The wild card in the race, however, is Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks. Formerly a moderate Republican who received bitter challenges for her seat from Tony's wife Audra, Parks recently left the Republican Party and is running for Congress under the banner of "no party preference" (while making the weirdest ad so far this cycle). This is exactly the situation proponents of Proposition 14 had in mind: Will the avowedly centrist and non-partisan campaign of Linda Parks propel her into the top two, or will Brownley and Strickland face off against each other in a more traditional matchup?

    Among challenges to incumbents, perhaps the top race will be in the 7th District, where Dr. Ami Bera will be issuing his third straight solid challenge to Republican Dan Lungren—but this time, on more favorable turf.

  • Clash of the titans: No matter what, two Democratic incumbents will lose their seats in November, but not because of Republicans. Rather, in two Los Angeles area Congressional Districts, two Democratic members of Congress will be squaring off against each other. By far the higher-profile battle is occurring in Congressional District 30 in the San Fernando Valley (yes, that valley) between powerful Congressman Howard Berman, ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and follow valley Congressman Brad Sherman. This race is pitting friends against friends in Democratic activist circles, and is a contrast in styles: Sherman is well-known personally in the district and is banking on support from grassroots Democratic activists, while Berman is campaigning on his history of accomplishments in Washington. Interestingly, Berman's allies are also taking advantage of the top-two primary system by courting Republican votes: An allied SuperPAC is running adstouting an endorsement from arch-conservative Darrell Issa. Both campaigns are extremely well funded, and are likely to emerge as the top two finishers and advance to the November primary; but who finishes in first will be a good test as to whether voters prefer grassroots endorsements or more institutional support.

    Meanwhile, in the 44th Congressional District in South Los Angeles, freshman Congresswoman Janice Hahn, who first won a seat in the special election to replace Jane Harman after her retirement from the 36th District, will face off against Congresswoman Laura Richardson. There are unavoidable racial dynamics in this district: It is a majority African-American district, but Janice Hahn, who is white, used to represent a substantial part of it on the Los Angeles City Council and remains popular here. Hahn won the overwhelming endorsement of the California Democratic Party over Richardson, who has been under a constant cloud of ethics violations for some time. This one could get ugly: Richardson has shown that she is not above using identity politics to win a seat. Whether that will work against Janice Hahn remains to be seen.

  • Winning the Senate: Democrats are just shy of winning the two-thirds majority necessary to pass whatever they want in the state Senate (according to our constitution, a two-thirds supermajority is required to pass anything that raises revenues). In order to do that, though, they absolutely must have a solid Democratic vote in the 19th Senate District, but that might be easier said than done. This is another race where the top-two primary could have a significant effect. The endorsed candidate of the Democratic Party is Hannah-Beth Jackson, a progressive former Assemblymember who nearly beat current state Sen. Tony Strickland (who is now running for Congress) back in 2008, but fell a few hundred votes short. On the Republican side, she is opposed by Mike Stoker, who ran unsuccessfully for Assembly in 2010. The widespread expectation is that whichever Democrat makes the general election will defeat Stoker in November. That makes it important to have the right Democrat. Unfortunately, there's another Democrat, Jason Hodge, who is trying to use the top-two primary to his advantage. He is running to the right of Jackson,labeling himself as the "Democrat who doesn't think you need higher taxes" and undermining the Democratic Party as it unites behind a crucial revenue measure destined for the November ballot. In apparent appreciation, conservative interests are running mailers supporting Hodge, apparently realizing that Stoker has no chance and that a Hodge victory is the best way to advance their agenda. While a Democrat will win this seat regardless, which Democrat it is could make a huge difference as to whether progressive legislation advances through the state Senate.
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