Based on the e-mails, phone calls and other discussions I have had with my fellow Republicans throughout California, I can attest to the fact that GOP activists are pumped as never before following last week’s National Convention; at least since 1980.

The reason, as anyone who has watched TV or read a newspaper the last few days knows, is Gov. Sarah Palin.

Now, Palin or no Palin, no one but the must enthusiastic Republican partisan believes that McCain will carry California come November. This remains a “blue” state.

But if you are Tom McClintock running in CD4, or Dean Andal running in CD11, or Jack Sieglock running in AD10, or Bill Berryhill running in AD26, you are very thankful to John McCain’s bold selection of Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

This is because the above GOP candidates are running in races currently targeted by Democrats that are located in the “red” portions of California, districts that George Bush handily carried over Kerry in 2004.

Last May, I posted an article for Fox and Hounds asking the question “can Democrats achieve a super-majority Assembly in November.” This was followed by an article on Democrats looking for big upsets in congressional races.

At that time, enthusiasm among Democratic activists was at an all-time high, while most Republican activists were looking for a place to hibernate until after the November election. Anticipating a possible Obama statewide landslide, Democrats started to look at congressional and legislative districts traditionally held by a Republican as possible pick-up seats.

But what a difference a summer makes.

Tom McClintock is running in an open congressional district that Bush carried over Kerry 61%-37%. Should McCain-Palin do the same – as they now would most likely do – McClintock’s Democratic opponent, Charlie Brown, might as well fold his tent.

In AD10, Bush won over Kerry 57%-43%; in AD26 Bush won 57%-42%. Should McCain-Palin do as well, it’s curtain time. Democratic candidates for Assembly don’t win in districts where their top of the ticket cannot receive over 43 percent of the vote.

But not all is lost on the Democratic side. In two of the Republican-held open assembly districts that are on their target list: AD78, AD80, Bush lost in 2004. In the open AD15 now in the GOP column, Bush/Kerry tied 50%-50%, meaning these races remain competitive.

Now we come to CD11, the seat represented by Jerry McNerney, the freshman Democrat who defeated incumbent GOP Congressman Richard Pombo in 2006. Dean Andal, a former member of the Assembly and Board of Equalization, is challenging him.

Because there is no statewide candidate on the November ballot, the very first vote cast by voters will be for President of the United States, immediately followed by their vote for Representative in Congress.
In 2004, Bush won this district over Kerry 54%-45%. Just how well McCain-Palin does in this CD come November may be the determinate factor as to who wins the congressional seat.