Friday, February 09, 2018

California Has 14 Republican House Seats. Trump's Reverse Coattails May Cut That In Half


Might likely California Republican to lose his seat in November

As we saw, the DCCC is re-running Jon Ossoff in the PA-18. Yesterday the Washington Post noted that the GOP has "dramatically outspent their Democratic rivals 17-to-1 in the first congressional race of 2018, a special election in Pennsylvania that both parties cast as a potential bellwether for the November midterms. Republicans are counting on a win in the district to send a strong message to donors, strategists and party faithful as the GOP looks to hold onto its majority: Republicans will raise the money and spend it aggressively." Democrats don't see this basically all white district in the heart of Trump country as worth prioritizing "given the large number of more vulnerable Republican incumbents they plan to target this fall in their quest to win the House." This district's PVI is R+11. Democrats aren't going to win any seats with PVIs that high. Hillary only got 38.5% of the vote there. If the Conor Lamb winds up with 45% of the vote, it will be a miracle.

Despite PA-18, on Monday the very conservative Charlie Cook wrote in the NationalJournal that Republicans are kidding themselves if they think a big blue wave isn't headed their way. Some of them must have hit their heads when their train hit the garbage truck on the way to Greenbrier.
Republican hopes these days rest on two things. First, their deficit on the generic congressional ballot seems to have declined from 13 points in late December to about 5 points now, according to the FiveThirtyEight average of polls. It’s plausible that passage of the tax-cut bill in December put a bit of starch in Republican voters’ shorts. There is a general feeling that because of where the lines lay, Democrats need to win the national popular vote for the House by somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 to 9 points. The GOP’s second hope is that the economy will remain strong through the election and that at some point, President Trump and congressional Republicans will begin to get some credit for it.

But while these high hopes were emanating from last week’s Republican congressional retreat at The Greenbrier, data from individual races on both the district and statewide level reveal that the plight of Republicans actually appears to be even more difficult than it seemed last fall. This is particularly true with individual-race polling, but other indices such as candidate recruitment and campaign fundraising are sending “Danger, Will Robinson!” messages. This is particularly true in the House, where there are quite a few GOP incumbents in competitive and potentially competitive races who are not raising the kind of money they will need if there is much of a Democratic wave at all.

The fact is that Democrats were on the unfriendly side of two wave elections in the last decade, in 2010 and 2014, while for Republicans, it has been a dozen years since the GOP got hit with one. In 2006, when President George W. Bush’s last Gallup job-approval rating before the midterm election was 38 percent (sound familiar?), Republicans lost both their House and Senate majorities. There is a lot of cherry-picking poll data, searching out the most optimistic numbers around, that seems to be giving some Republicans a degree of complacency that is at odds with averages and hard data.

In an analysis released Sunday of more detailed data from the Jan. 15-18 ABC News/Washington Post poll, much of the national 14-point Democratic lead among likely voters in the generic-ballot question was among voters in districts already represented by Democrats, where they had a 38-point lead-- 64 to 26 percent. This no doubt was a finding that encouraged Republicans, but the analysis also revealed that in districts already represented by Republicans, the GOP advantage on the generic was just 6 points, 51 to 45 percent. In other words, Republicans have a lot of districts where their leads are very, very narrow while Democrats have very big leads in their districts. It wouldn’t take that much of a wave for a large number of seats to drop against the GOP.

The serious Republican strategists that I have talked with in recent days are extremely worried about this election, and what they are thinking and seeing doesn’t match up with much of the happy talk coming out of The Greenbrier.
Let's apply that to the state that is likely to giveth Democrats their biggest boost of 2018: California where there are only 14 Republicans left in a delegation of 53 members. Two of the most endangered incumbents-- Ed Royce and Darrell Issa-- have already headed for the Hills. A third, Duncan Hunter, is being investigated by the FBI for stealing campaign funds for personal use over a long period of time-- like father like son.

It's reasonable for Democrats to work on 10 seats with the exception of flipping themHere are all 14 California Republican held districts with how I see Democrats chances of winning. Generally speaking any district with a PVI above R+10 isn't worth looking at unless there are very special circumstances (like in Hunter's case) and in reality a Democrat winning anything in a district with a PVI above an R+5 is miraculous, especially with as incompetent a DCCC as the one Pelosi has saddled us with. Another caveat: the DCCC is likely to eventually try to push establishment Republican-lite candidates and mess things up in some of the districts, making all bets off:
CA-01 Doug LaMalfa- R+11 [safe]
CA-04 Tom McClintock- R+10 [probably safe]
CA-8 Paul Cook- R+9 [needs work; could flip in 2020]
CA-10 Jeff Denham- PVI is even [this district is red for one reason only: DCCC incompetence]
CA-21 David Valadao- D+5 [this district is red for one reason only: grotesque DCCC incompetence, which is being repeated again this cycle]
CA-22 Devin Nunes- R+8 [everyone hates Nunes so...]
CA-23 Kevin McCarthy- R+14 [reddest district in the state but a case can be made that McCarthy is Trump; DCCC refuses to target McCarthy]
CA-25 Steve Knight- PVI is even [Hill can beat Knight; Caforio can't]
CA-39 open- PVI is even [only the DCCC's fucked up recruiting can keep this seat in GOP hands]
CA-42 Ken Calvert- R+9 [safe]
CA-45 Mimi Walters- R+3 [Katie Porter can win this seat; the establishment has other ideas]
CA-48- Dana Rohrabacher- R+4 [DCCC mixed up recruiting might lead to another Rohrabacher term, but if it does, the DCCC should be banned from California]
CA-49- open- R+1 [Applegate should be measuring for the curtains in his new Capitol Hill office]
CA-50 Duncan Hunter- R+11 [safe-- unless Hunter is indicted, which is less likely by the week-- until after the election]
On Tuesday, the Sacramento Bee focussed on two Republican incumbents-- Rohrabacher and Knight-- who are probably too tied to Trump to win in their districts, although the reporter, Emily Cadei, discounts DCCC incompetence. "California Republicans’ hopes for re-election in 2018," she wrote "may rest on separating themselves from the unpopular President Trump. A new poll shows that’s not happening as the year begins, at least in two of the state’s most competitive congressional districts. Majorities of likely voters in the districts of Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Steve Knight of Lancaster aren’t happy with Trump and are disinclined to vote for their representative’s re-election."
Rohrabacher’s web of ties to Russia have drawn the attention of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team. But his connection to Trump may be equally, if not more, damaging. Despite a Republican voter registration edge in Rohrabacher’s district, over half of likely voters there disapprove of the president. Knight faces a similar dynamic.

Among those voters in Rohrabacher’s district who disapprove of Trump, 86 percent are not inclined to support their congressman’s re-election bid. In Knight’s district, that figure rises to 90 percent.

Just 38 percent of likely voters approve of Rohrabacher’s job performance compared to 50 percent who disapprove, including 38 percent who disapprove strongly. Knight fares marginally worse. Thirty-seven percent of likely voters in his district approve of the second-term congressman’s job performance and 53 percent disapprove-- 40 percent strongly.

...In Knight’s district, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and even Rohrabacher’s, where Republicans outnumber Democrats, certain Trump policies are proving extremely unpopular.

More than 60 percent of likely voters in both districts oppose the White House proposal to expand offshore drilling off the coast of California. And roughly two-thirds support legal status for undocumented immigrants brought to this county as children, also known as “dreamers.”

Knight also appears to be paying a political price for his vote in favor the new tax law Congress passed in December. The law caps the amount federal taxpayers can deduct for state and local taxes, which are particularly high in California. Over half of likely voters in Knight’s district say that vote makes them less likely to support his re-election. They had the same response to Knight’s vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, a proposal that passed in the House last spring but failed to advance in the Senate.

Rohrabacher opposed the tax legislation, which helped avoid some of the blowback Knight is facing. Voters were evenly split about his vote, with 32 percent saying say it made them more inclined to support his re-election, 29 percent less so, and another 34 percent saying it has no effect. A plurality of voters were not happy about Rohrabacher’s stance on health care-- 48 percent said his vote in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare made them less likely to support his re-election, while 43 percent said it made them more likely.

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At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunter may actually be going down. Along with his fraudulent use of campaign funds, he apparently is a known womanizing drunk. Rumor is that the party is trying to push him aside and get Issa to run for the 50th

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be great news if there were any real Democrats running for office. The Party is seeing to it that there are only DINO-Whigs to run.


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