Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Redistricting shakes up California's Congressional races; Bono Mack trailing

U.S. Capitol Building

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The flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The story of this year’s California Congressional races is — surprise! — money: money from the parties, money from PACs (including one started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg), money from siblings, and money from the candidates themselves.

36th Congressional District — Coachella Valley:

In an apparent upset, Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack is losing to Democrat Raul Ruiz. Bono Mack was a prime target for Democrats. Ruiz is an emergency room doctor. Both parties poured in the money, flooding both the Palm Springs and LA TV market with political ads.  Bono Mack's husband Connie Mack gave up his House seat to run for the US Senate in Florida. He lost.

RUIZ: 51.4%; BONO MACK 48.6%

35th Congressional District — Chino

N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped $2.5 million of PAC money into Democratic State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod’s campaign to defeat veteran Democratic Congressman Joe Baca. The Congressional baseball team loses its star pitcher. It was a bad night for the Baca family as well; the Congressman's son Joe, Jr. lost his race for the state assembly. 

McLEOD: 55.7%; BACA: 44.3%

Open seats:

7th Congressional district - outside of Sacramento

In another upset, Democrat Ami Bera appears to have unseated longtime Republican Congressman Dan Lungren. With 100% of the vote counted, incumbent Republican congressman Dan Lungren trails  Democratic  challenger Ami Bera by fewer than 200 votes. This was a rematch. The two faced off two years ago in another close race with Lungren making a last-minute surge thanks to PAC money. This was another race targeted by the Democratic party.

BERA 50.1%;  LUNGREN 49.9%

Other races targeting incumbents:

Both Democrats and Republicans hoped to pick off even more incumbents this time around. Democrats couldn’t knock off seat-holder Jeff Denham in Fresno. Republicans couldn’t defeat Lois Capps in Santa Barbara, or Jerry McNerney and John Garamendi in Northern California.

52nd Congressional District — San Diego

 This race is another nail biter. Incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray was targeted by Democrats. His race with Democrat Scott Peters is ahead by fewer than 700 votes.

PETERS 50.2%; BILBRAY 49.8%

But incumbents did bite the dust:

The highest profile race was in the San Fernando Valley.

30th Congressional District — San Fernando Valley

A decade ago, Howard Berman’s brother Michael was the architect of California redistricting. His skill ensured victory for Howard Berman and most other incumbents. This time, a citizens’ commission drew the lines. The new district pitted Howard Berman against another Democratic incumbent, Brad Sherman. This time, without his brother’s protection, Berman lost.

44th Congressional District — Carson

Freshman Democratic Congresswoman Janice Hahn defeated fellow House Democrat Laura Richardson. Richardson had been reprimanded by her House colleagues for ethics violations, including forcing House staff to work on her political campaign.

15th Congressional District — Livermore

In a surprise upset, 80-year-old Democratic incumbent Pete Stark was denied his 21st term in Congress. Stark has a reputation for saying unpredictable things — many of which have shown up on YouTube. His seat will remain in Democratic hands. Local prosecutor Eric Swalwell will be going to Washington.

These races were close, but no cigar:

33rd Congressional District — Malibu to Manhattan Beach

Democrat Henry Waxman held on to his seat, beating Manhattan Beach businessman Bill Bloomfield, who ran as an independent and put millions of his own fortune into this race. Bloomfield outspent Waxman at least three-to-one. Waxman first came to Capitol Hill when Gerald Ford was in the White House.  He’s the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

WAXMAN 53.7% BLOOMFIELD: 46.3%

29th Congressional District — San Fernando Valley

In this newly drawn open seat, L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas, a Democrat, easily defeated David Hernandez, who declined to pick a party and raised little money. The district is 69% Latino and 55% Democratic.

41st Congressional District — Riverside

The winner of this open seat will be the first openly gay Asian American in Congress. Democrat Mark Takano defeated veteran Republican politico John Tavaglione.

47th Congressional District — Long Beach
This was an open seat and both parties saw opportunity for a pickup. Both the Democratic and Republican national parties provided cash for ads, staff and expertise in this race. Republican businessman Gary DeLong, who is also a Long Beach City Councilman, took on longtime Democratic Sacramento lawmaker Alan Lowenthal. The last day of the campaign was marred by a Lowenthal staffer who was caught filching DeLong yard signs. In the end, Lowenthal took the open seat.

LOWENTHAL 55.4%; DeLONG 44.6%

26th Congressional District — Oxnard
Another open seat.  Republican Tony Strickland beat Democrat Julia Brownley by nearly a two-to-one margin in the June primary. Both parties invested heavily in this race. The money made the race tight, but Brownley pulled it out. The results below are with 100 percent of the precincts reporting. 

BROWNLEY: 51.7% STRICKLAND: 48.3%

Results from of the rest of the Southern California Congressional races:

44th Congressional District — Carson

Freshman Democrat Janice Hahn defeated fellow Democrat Laura Richardson. Richardson was reprimanded by her House colleagues for ethics violations. Hahn comes from a long line of L.A. Democrats. Her brother, James, was L.A. Mayor. Her father, Kenneth, was an L.A. City Councilman and L.A. County Supervisor for decades.

43rd Congressional District – Inglewood

Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters was re-elected to a 12th term in Congress. She defeated fellow Democrat Bob Flores. She returns to Washington to fight to be the top Democrat of the House Financial Services Committee. She raised a quarter of a million dollars for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to boost that campaign.

31st Congressional District — San Bernardino

More than a million dollars in real estate PAC money fueled Republican incumbent Gary Miller’s campaign. Miller hopscotched from Orange County to San Bernadino County to avoid running against fellow GOP incumbent Congressman Ed Royce. He defeated Republican State Senator Bob Dutton.

25th Congressional District – Simi Valley

Republican Congressman Buck McKeon easily defeated Democrat Lee Rogers. McKeon heads the powerful House Armed Services Committee and will be in the thick of the sequestration battle when he returns to Washington. He is firmly opposed to any cuts to the defense budget.

27th Congressional District – Pasadena

Democratic incumbent Judy Chu will be returning to Washington for her second full term. She defeated Republican Jack Orswell. Chu has been lobbying the military this past year on hazing and suicide prevention.

28th Congressional District – Burbank

Democratic incumbent Adam Schiff defeated Republican Phil Jennerjahn by more than two to one. Schiff’s been active on funding for Mars exploration and pushed the US Forest Service to resume night fire fighting flights.

32nd Congressional District – El Monte

Democratic incumbent Grace Napolitano admits she didn’t campaign enough in the primary where she beat her nearest opponent by fewer than 2K votes. She stepped up her game and defeated Republican David Miller by 4K votes.

34th Congressional District – Huntington Park, Bell Gardens

Democratic incumbent Xavier Becerra beat Republican challenger Stephen Smith. Becerra is currently the number 5 Democrat in the House, but likely to move up a notch when the party votes on leadership later this month.

37th Congressional District - Long Beach, Compton, Signal Hill

Freshman Democrat Karen Bass will return to Congress as a sophomore next year. She handily defeated Republican Morgan Osborne. She’s been active on issues related to Africa.

38th Congressional District – Norwalk

Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez defeated Republican Benjamin Campos. She returns to DC as the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee. 39th Congressional District – Fullerton Republican incumbent Ed Royce easily defeated Democrat Jay Chen. Chen was funded by a PAC created by his brother. The race was marred by allegations of racial slurs aimed at Chen.

40th Congressional District – East LA

Democratic incumbent Lucille Roybal-Allard easily defeated a fellow Democrat, David Sanchez. She’s a second generation member of Congress; her father was the late Ed Roybal.

42nd Congressional District  - Corona

Corona Republican incumbent Ken Calvert will be returning to Congress. He beat Democrat Michael Williamson. At Calvert’s election night party, the price of admission was a campaign sign. That’s one way to clean up after an election.

45th Congressional District – Irvine

Republican incumbent John Campbell defeated Democrat Sukhee Kang. With the Republican Campbell now starts campaigning for chairmanship of the House Science Committee.

46th Congressional District – Anaheim

Democrat Loretta Sanchez defeated Republican Jerry Hayden. She was confident enough in her victory that she shared her own campaign contributions with a number of fellow Democrats this election.

48th Congressional District – Huntington Beach

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher defeated Democrat Ron Varasteh. The surfing Congressman (one of two from California; Brian Bilbray is the other) will be able to catch a few more waves before returning to Capitol Hill.

49th Congressional District – Oceanside

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa can continue to be a thorn in the side of the Obama administration. The head of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee defeated Democrat Jerry Tetalman. Issa’s most recent inquiry has been about the September 11th attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

For a full list of Congressional results, click here.

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