The coolest online tool of political reporting to appear, in at least the last two or three days: an L.A. Times feature launched this morning to track California congressional races most crucial in the Democrats’ bid to flip the House. At a time when Republicans exercise hegemony over all three branches in Washington (in an erratic way, of course, given our 46 percent President), Dems are looking to the 2018 mid-terms as the sine qua non in their efforts to regain a shred of power.
Republicans hold a partisan edge of 238-193 in the 435-seat House, with four vacancies. Snapping the GOP’s Beltway hegemony requires Dems to hold their own seats (shout-out to Salud!) and topple at least 24 Republicans for a majority.
Their top priority targets are as follows: a) 23 seats that Republicans won in districts where Trump lost to Hillary Clinton; b) 10 GOP districts that Clinton lost by four points or less; and c) vacancies arising from retirement, quietus, or scandal.
It’s a precarious political calculus, and it won’t work without California: Democrats need one-third of their wins here.
We're No. 10! The newspaper's political team now has order ranked 13 California seats in terms of competitiveness – nine Republican and four held by Democrats – that they report they'll update regularly.
The first nine are the Republican incumbents whom the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted, but Rep. Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara’s own favorite freshman, clocks in at tenth.
Salud runs scared in the best of times, so anyone who’s ever given him a dime can expect a new round of plaintive fundraising calls and sky-is-falling emails to start any minute now.
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