It was quite a feat. Congressional Republicans had a chance to win nine Democratic-held House seats in California and blew every one of them – actually ending up down one seat in an election when nationally the House GOP has its largest class since the Hoover Administration. How they blew these seats is a story in itself.
On Election Night, an unknown and unfunded Republican farmer from Fresno named Johnny Tacherra was leading veteran Democratic Congressman Jim Costa by 700 votes. He eventually lost, but only by 1,300 votes. To his north, unknown and unfunded Republican Tony Amador held Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney to just 52 percent. Every expert called that race safe for McNerney; it was not. And in the counties north and west of Sacramento, another veteran, Democratic Rep. John Garamendi, held off retiring GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue with just 53 percent.
What do these three races have in common? Each was in California parched Central Valley where farm folks believe, with good reason, that urban Democrats and environmentalists are starving them for water during the drought while taking care of the cities and the fish.