Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Which California Congressional seats are in danger?

Republican Tony Strickland and Democrat Julia Brownley are in a close contest for U.S. House District 26, which includes most of Ventura County.

With the election just three weeks away, four California Congressional seats currently held by Republicans are now considered up for grabs. 

The latest analysis by "The Hill" shows Modesto's Jeff Denham's race has moved from "leaning Republican" to "toss up" status. He's facing a tough challenge from former astronaut Jose Hernandez in a newly-drawn district that's almost equally split between Democrats and Republicans, with one-in-five voters declining to align themselves with either party. The district is 40 percent Latino, 46 percent white.

Three other GOP seats deemed "tossup" are currently held by Dan Lungren in Sacramento, Elton Gallegly of Simi Valley, and Brian Bilbray in San Diego.

Gallegly is retiring and his open seat is being sought by Republican Tony Strickland and Democrat Julia Brownley, both of whom serve in the California State Legislature. The district has been re-drawn and now includes most of Ventura County except for Simi Valley.

In Palm Springs, Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz, an emergency room doctor, is giving Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack a scare. "The Hill" moved that race from "likely Repubican" to "lean Republican." Again, the new district is split almost equally between Democrats and Republicans, with 20 percent of registered voters who either pick a third party or declare none at all. The new 36th district is 47 percent Latino, 44 percent white.

Three Democratic incumbents are also locked into tight races.  But "The Hill" says John Garamendi, who represents an area west of Sacramento, Lois Capps from Ventura County, and Jerry McNerney in Stockton are in districts that "lean Democratic."

Democrats need to flip 25 seats to take back the majority in the House of Representatives. They hope to make great strides in California, which has a shrinking number of GOP voters. But it's unlikely Democrats will be able to turn more than two dozen seats from red to blue this election.

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