Democrats picked up several California congressional seats in 2012, but the state – contrary to pre-election cheerleading by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – didn’t generate enough action to prevent Republicans from retaining control of the House.
As the 2014 political season picks up steam, Democrats face potential congressional losses in the state, for a variety of interlaced factors, to wit:
The authoritative Cook Political Report sees three Democratic first-termers – Ami Bera of Elk Grove, Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert and Scott Peters of San Diego – as very vulnerable due to the factors cited above, plus very slim, if any, voter-registration margins.
All three will likely face well-known, well-financed Republican challengers – former Rep. Doug Ose vs. Bera, Assemblyman Brian Nestande vs. Ruiz and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio vs. Peters.
Cook says several other Democrats are a bit shaky: John Garamendi of Walnut Grove, Julia Brownley of Santa Monica and Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton.
Two Republicans who had seemed vulnerable, Jeff Denham of Turlock and David Valadao of Hanford, are looking increasingly secure as challengers lack strong financing.
However, Democrats do have a very good chance of picking up the Southern California seat that Republican Gary Miller won by a fluke in 2012 because Miller announced Wednesday that he is retiring.
Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as firstname.lastname@example.org.