New Senate Districts Weaken Statewide GOP, Strengthens OC GOP
Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 30, 2012
On Friday, the California Supreme Court ruled that this year’s elections will go with the maps created by the Citizen’s Redistricting Commission. This bodes ill for Republicans statewide but could boost the strength of Republicans in Orange County. Examining the great district-by-district numbers put together by Matt Rexroad, Chandra Sharma, and the rest of the Meridian Pacific team, it appears to me that there are 11 safe Republican districts, 25 safe Democrat districts, and 4 swing districts.
To maintain the status quo, Republicans have to capture all 4 swing seats: the 5th (Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties), 27th (LA & Ventura Counties), 31st (Riverside County), and 34th (Orange County). To reach a 2/3 majority to raise taxes and wreak other havoc on California, Democrats only need to capture half the swing seats. The 27th is the only one where a sitting Senator (Democrat Fran Pavley) is seeking the seat. The other three are wide open.
The 5th, 27th, and 31st will all be on the ballot this year. The 34th will be on the ballot in 2014. More than 711,000 Californians have signed the petition to put the map on the ballot this November. Whether the voters overturn the map or retain the map will likely have little effect on these four seats until at least 2016. Whoever wins the 5th, 27th, and 31st will be able to retain their seats through at least 2016, and any new map would likely have little effect on the 34th, as the shape of that district is heavily controlled by federal Voting Rights Act requirements. Furthermore, Correa keeps the seat until 2014.
No seat is closer than the 34th right here in Orange County. In the new 34th Senate District, held by termed out Democrat Lou Correa, Democrats hold a 0.6% registration advantage. (In the old 34th Senate District, where Correa beat Lynn Daucher by 1.4% in 2006 and won re-election over Lucille Kring by 31.6% in 2010, Democrats held a 12% registration advantage.) The Meridian guys have even dubbed the new 34th district “Open Republican” on their site.
Up for election in 2014, the SD-34 Republican nominee will very likely be either Supervisor Janet Nguyen or the new 72nd District Assemblyman (Tyler Diep or Matt Harper) and the Democrats’ nominee will very likely be either outgoing Assemblyman Jose Solorio or the new 69th District Assemblymember (Paco Barragan, Tom Daly, Michele Martinez, or Julio Perez). If the new Assemblymembers go for it, they’d have to risk their Assembly seats after just one term in order to run for the Senate. It would be a safe run for Nguyen and Solorio, as neither of them would be up for election in 2014. (For the record, I am not related to Supervisor Nguyen; 36% of Vietnamese people have the last name Nguyen.)
After 16 years in the hands of the Democrats, SD-34 could return to Republican control, producing the first all-Republican OC delegation to the State Senate since Rob Hurtt lost to Joe Dunn.
The new SD-34 includes:
- Santa Ana (325,000 people)
- Garden Grove (171,000 people)
- 48% of northern Huntington Beach (91,000 people)
- Westminster (90,000 people)
- 20% of Central/Eastern Anaheim (68,000 people)
- 13% of eastern Long Beach (61,000 people)
- Fountain Valley (55,000 people)
- Seal Beach (24,000 people)
- Los Alamitos (11,000 people)
- Rossmoor (10,000 people)
- 7% of southwestern Orange (10,000 people)
- Midway City (8,000 people)