California Dreaming - 2010 House Races

With the midterms only 10 months away it is time now to cast our eyes over the biggest state in the country - California.

How will we fare in 2010?

Below the fold for all the details and hey go check out the 2010 Race Tracker Wiki over at Open Congress for all your House, Senate and Gubernatorial needs.

(Cross posted at Daily Kos, MyDD and Open Left)

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House GOP Retirement Creates Democratic Opportunity

Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA-19, Fresno) announced today that he will not run for re-election, due to his wife's ovarian cancer. It is a sad situation no one wants to face or wish upon their nastiest rivals, and so we wish and pray for emotional stability for the whole Radanovich family and for a full recovery for Ethie.

According to the Hill, Radanovich is the first House Republican this cycle to leave the House without looking for another office (and the 13th overall to retire). Like the four Democrats who have also done so, I believe that his retirement creates a potentially competitive seat - good news for progressives.

Radanovich's district could also be competitive. Like many California districts, it swung strongly toward the Democratic side in the 2008 presidential election. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) still won 52-46, but the district appears much more accessible to Democrats now than it was earlier this decade.

Former Fresno Mayor Jim Patterson threatened to challenge Radanovich in a primary and appears to be a good bet to enter the race the succeed him.

Radanovich, who was elected in 1994, is just 54 years old.

The Swing State Project isn't quite so rosy about the Democrats' chances this time around, looking ahead instead to 2012:

Radanovich's seat isn't prime territory for a pick-up. However, although its PVI is R+9, Barack Obama dramatically improved upon the old Democratic baseline in the district, losing the CD by only 52-46 to John McCain. Compare that to John Kerry's flattening here by a 61-38 margin four years earlier. A good deal of that shift can be attributed to the demographic changes occurring within the district, which has seen a marked increase in its minority population since 2000. Those demographic gains haven't reached the tipping point here yet, but this district could be susceptible to a bit of nipping and tucking in the next round of redistricting in order to hasten that process.

I'm more inclined to agree with The Hill than I am Swing State. While the district may be a red one now, Radanovich's predecessor was a six-term progressive Democrat. McCain may have won 52% of the vote, but this came after Bush won with 58% in 2000 and 62% in 2004. Dianne Feinstein also carried the district in 2000 (though she failed to do so in 2006). Remember also that the Democrats are likely to win the races at the top of the California ballot, retaking the Governorship and re-electing a Senator. A bloody primary could also further help Democratic chances (see NY-23); the Republican primary field will be a crowded one.  You already read about Patterson, a number of state representatives may also run, Hotline's Reid Wilson says former Rep. Richard Pombo is looking at the race, and Radanovich is himself backing Sen. Jeff Denham (not to be confused with hilarious ventriloquist Jeff Dunham). With a nasty GOP primary, some gubernatorial coattails, the right local candidate, and some committed organizing, this newly open district is winnable.

2010 is going to be a rough year for House Democrats - more so Blue Dogs than progressives, but the whole party is vulnerable. That said, given the country's equally high dissatisfaction with Republicans, the slowly recovering economy, and the poll numbers of past presidents after one year in office, I don't think it's going to be anything close to the watershed year some pundits predict. There will be rays of hope penetrating the darkness, something Republicans were unable to claim in 2006 and even 2008. CA-19 may well wind up as one such ray. A Google search for "California 19th Radanovich Democrat" brings up nothing - so progressives, start recruiting.

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Fresno Bee endorses TJ Cox for CA-19!!!

Here is endorsement link:

http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/story/1 2852956p-13536157c.html

See TJ's website:  http://www.tjcox.com

I know that no one has been looking at this race, but it's time they did.  Locally things are popping! Remember Radanovich was investigated by the Bee last year and they found he should be investigated for his bankrupt winery dealings.  TJ's billboards are up and commercials are also currently airing.  

Here is the link to the winery investigation:
http://www.tjcox.com/en-US/Press/Press07 192004.htm

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