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. 

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Redistricting opens door to independent challenger in coastal district

Democratic incumbent Congressman Henry Waxman spent Sunday morning campaigning at Westside farmers markets.

Businessman Bob Bloomfield dropped his Republican party affiliation for his Congressional campaign.


Redistricting has opened the door to challengers in what used to be safe Congressional seats. One of those districts runs along the coast from Malibu to Manhattan Beach, where a veteran Democrat has been challenged by a political novice who isn't claiming any party affiliation.

Congressman Henry Waxman spent his Sunday meeting voters at local farmers markets, from Beverly Hills to Pacific Palisades.  Most recognized him, one man calling out, "Good luck Henry!" as he walked past the produce.   

That happens a lot. Waxman has served for nearly four decades in Congress.  Gerald Ford was in the White House when he first arrived on Capitol Hill.  But Waxman hasn't had a serious challenge in years. Until now.

Bill Bloomfield, whose father made a fortune with coin operated laundry machines, jumped into the race — funding most of his multi-million dollar campaign himself. He’s running as an independent, saying the two major parties are at a stalemate. 

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Money, money, money in California Congressional races

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) isn't facing serious competition in November, so she's using her fundraising prowess to help other Democrats.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the biggest campaign fundraiser in California is Dianne Feinstein, who’s spent more than two decades in the U.S. Senate. According to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, Feinstein has raised more than $8.2 million this season.

Sen. Feinstein's GOP challenger, Elizabeth Emken, has not yet filed her October quarterly fundraising report. But the Center for Responsive Politics says Emken, who’s run a persistent online campaign, has raised less money than some House members: $189,000.

Feinstein has more than $3 million in cash on hand. That's enough to help out fellow Democrats, including a $200,000 check to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Feinstein is still recovering from having her campaign fund cleaned out last year by Kinde Durkee, described as "the Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers." Feinstein doesn't have exact figures for the missing cash, though her FEC statement lists more than $100,000 this quarter.

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