November 2012 Targets – Part One: The Assembly

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

Should the new lines for the 80 assembly districts released
by the Citizens Redistricting Commission (CRC) become final on August 15 -
meaning there are no successful legal challenges or referendum that could
require the state Supreme Court to draw the lines – following are my early
picks as to where the action will be in November 2012 (Part Two will cover
state senate and congressional races)

Those who were hoping that lines drawn by the CRC, rather
than politicians, would significantly boost the number of competitive races in
2012 will be sorely disappointed. It didn’t happen.

Here are the assembly districts that early handicappers are
currently looking at as being competitive, with the more likely targets being
listed first.

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Memo to Redistricting Commissioners: Beware of Those Who Protest Too Much!

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

On July 10, the Citizens Redistricting
Commission released their first draft of the newly drawn lines for
congressional, state legislative and Board of Equalizations districts.

Not surprisingly, several incumbents
weren’t too please, particularly those who found themselves located in a new
district where one or more fellow incumbents also resided or, in the extreme,
no district to run in at all.

But aside from them, the loudest cries
came from Latino and Republican leaders … two groups that seldom agree on
anything political.

To understand this, one has to first look
at the 2001 redistricting plan, a highly gerrymander plan drawn specifically to
protect the incumbents of both political parties.

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Craig Huey’s #2 Showing In CD36 … Not an Upset or a Surprise.

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

How did little-known Republican Craig Huey outpoll
Democratic Secretary of State Debra Bowen in last week's Special Election in
CD36?

Sixteen candidates qualified for that special election
ballot: five Democrats, six Republicans and five affiliated with another party
or no party at all.

The district, stretching from Venice to the Los Angeles
Harbor community of San Pedro, is safely Democratic, with Democrats outnumbering
Republicans 45% - 27%, with 22% being independent.

Two heavyweight Democrats entered the race: Los Angeles
Councilmember Janice Hahn of San Pedro, and Secretary of State Debra Bowen, of
Venice, who had previously represented much of the district as a state senator
and assemblymember.

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Why The Sky Is Falling on the California Republican Party

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

In August 2009, I wrote a column for Fox & Hounds entitled
"Reach out, Republicans, or lose!"

In that article, I wrote that California Republicans can
yell and scream all they want on the issues of taxes, socialize medicine, and
corporate bailouts. But unless the California Republican Party is able to
persuade significant numbers of Latinos, Asians and other people of color to
register in their party and/or vote for their candidates, it will not elect a governor or
any statewide official in 2010 and could very well lose additional seats in
congress and the state legislature.

Well, that wasn’t Chicken Little talking and that is exactly
what happened.

If Republican leaders and elected officials – the few that
are left – don’t quickly wake up, 2012 could very well see the sky again fall
on the California Republican Party.

We all know the facts. 

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Final Report on Targeted State Assembly Races

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates






In November 2008, Barack Obama outpolled John McCain in 12
of 29 assembly seats that are currently held by a Republican.

At the early beginning of this election cycle – with Obama’s
popularity in this state above 60 percent – I predicted that the Democratic
Assembly leadership would make a serious effort to increase their numbers and
maybe be able to pick up the three seats needed for a super two-thirds
majority.

November 2010, I predicted, was going to be one of the most
competitive election cycles in the battle for assembly seats than this state
has seen in more than a decade.

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Prop 14 – Its Impact on Third Party Candidates

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

Proposition 14, if passed by the voters in the June Primary, will scratch the current method we elect our legislators by allowing the two top vote-getters – regardless of party – to run against each other in a November runoff election.

In some heavily Democratic districts and heavily Republican districts, this could lead to two candidates of the same party to run against each other in November.

Opponents of Prop. 14 have made the argument that this would "narrow voter choice" by prohibiting the state’s smaller third-parties (i.e. Green, Peace & Freedom, American Independent and Libertarian) from appearing on the November General Election ballot.

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2010 Election Preview – Potential November Targets

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

It’s much
too early to start picking winners and losers for next November.  In many of the potential targeted races
for congress and the state legislature, we won’t know until after the June 8
Primary who the Party nominees will be.

So, let’s
first talk about what we do know.

In November
2008, Barack Obama outpolled John McCain in 8 of 19 congressional districts, 5
of 15 state senate seats, and 12 of 29 assembly seats that are currently held
by a Republican.

There is not
a single Democratic-held congressional or state legislative district up for
election this year that John McCain carried in 2008.

For
Republicans to pick up any seats in November, they must defeat a Democrat
running in a seat won by Obama.

If the
latest Rasmussen poll taken in mid-May is to be believed, Obama’s current
approval rating in California stands at 61% – the same percentage Obama carried
this state in 2008.

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2010 Primary Election Overview – Part 2: Open Seat Races

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

(Read part 1 here)

In California, we no longer have an Election Day, but an Election Month.  And that month begins today, May 10, the first day that county election officials we be mailing June 8 Primary Election ballots to the more than 5.8 million registered voters who have signed up as permanent vote-by-mail voters.  And these voters will be able to cast that ballot by return mail anytime between now and June 8.

Last week I posted an article on incumbent challenges, but most of the action in this Primary Election will be in the two congressional districts, 10 even-number state senate districts and 29 assembly districts – total of 41 – that are OPEN SEATS – an open seat being districts that the incumbent is not seeking re-election due to term limits, running for another office, or retiring.  Because of gerrymandering, winning the Primary for the vast majority of these candidates is tantamount to winning the seat in November.

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2010 Primary Election Overview – Part 1: Incumbent Challenges

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

A total of 551 candidates are running in the June 8 Primary Election for congress or the state legislature.

Two hundred thirteen (51 incumbents) are running in one of the 53
congressional districts; 275 (51 incumbents) are running in one of the
80 assembly districts; and 63 (10 incumbents) are running in one of the
20 even-numbered state senate districts up for election this year.

Let me first congratulate Central Valley Republican Congressmen Devin Nunes (CD21) and Kevin McCarthy (CD22), along with Los Angeles Democratic Assembly Members John Pérez – Speaker of the Assembly – and Mike Davis on their re-election this year.  The four are unopposed in both the June Primary and November General Election.

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California’s Plummeting GOP Registration – Part 2

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

Last April, I posted an article for Fox and Hounds noting the plummeting Republican registration in California, noting that not only was the statewide Republican registration of 31.1% a historic low, but for the first time there was not a single congressional, state senate or assembly district that had a majority Republican registration.

Needless to say, most Republican activists in this state at the time were in a rather funky mood.
Now, nearly a year later, President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have dropped considerably, a Republican won a U.S. Senate seat in very blue Massachusetts to succeed the late Ted Kennedy, and “tea baggers” along with their spiritual leader, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, have aroused passions among conservative activists throughout the nation, as well as California, that we have not seen in more than a decade.

Conservative passion may be on the rise, but according to a report recently released by the Secretary of State’s office, Republican registration continues to plummet, with statewide GOP registration falling below 31% to 30.8, while both Democratic and Decline to State (independent) registration slightly increased.

More importantly, Republican registration has continued to decrease in legislative districts that are expected to be target races this year.

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