Politics, government and public life for Southern California

GOP eating its own in Inland Empire Congressional battle (UPDATE)

DUTTON MILLER

Steven Cuevas / KPCC

Republican Congressional candidate Bob Dutton has felt the sting of the state GOP endorsing his same-party opponent, incumbent Gary Miler.

California's so-called "jungle" primary created several interesting pairings for the November ballot. Democrats are facing off against Democrats in half-a-dozen Congressional races. On the GOP side, it's Republican vs. Republican in two House races. 

Some of these contests are under the radar, but a few have erupted into nasty fights, splitting the parties themselves.

Republicans, who pride themselves on avoiding intra-party explosions, have waded into a big one in the Inland Empire.

The party endorsed incumbent Congressman Gary Miller over his challenger, State Senator Bob Dutton. And adding salt to the wound, it used some of the money raised by Dutton to run ads slamming him.

Dutton has been a party loyalist. He served on the GOP's board of directors and raised more than $100,000 for party causes and candidates. Oh, and he was the top Republican in the State Senate the past two years as well.

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Can the growing California Latino voting population swing House races?

Mercer 1255

NASA

Former NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez is running for Congress as a Democrat in a Central Valley district with a growing Latino population.

Could the record number of eligible Latino voters tip the November election in some California Congressional races? Maybe.

Earlier this week, the Pew Hispanic Center reported that the number of Latinos who are eligible to vote has jumped 22 percent from 2008. That's got the attention of candidates at all levels.

Amid ads for the two Presidential candidates, you might stumble onto one for a Congressional race, funded by the Democratic House Majority PAC. In one instance, an ad depicts a star-filled sky above a farm field. The voiceover in Spanish says: "A boy from the valley saw the stars. He saw men go to the moon and dreamed. Jose Hernandez lived his dream."

Former astronaut Hernandez is trying to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Jeff Denham in the Central Valley. The district is split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans, though pollsters say it leans Republican. The district has a growing number of Latino residents — 40 percent of the population vs 46 percent Anglo. 

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California's "top two" election creates rare phenomenon: cross party endorsements

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Congressman Howard Berman, left, has won endorsements from two GOP U.S. Senators in his runoff against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman.

California's "top two" primary is rewriting the rules for political endorsements. 

There are several Congressional races in Southern California where voters will choose between two Democrats or two Republicans on the November ballot. That's because the top two finishers in the June primary — regardless of party — face off in the general election.

The most expensive and contentious race is in the San Fernando Valley, where Congressman Howard Berman faces off against fellow Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman. 

Berman has snagged a number of top Democrats as backers: Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Governor Jerry Brown, and two dozen members of California's Congressional delegation. Today, he announced he's got some new endorsements: Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Both are Republicans. 

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