While the Republican party will enjoy very good success tomorrow evening, there are some precincts in the Union that the GOP will not make a huge wave and one of those places is California.
There are many reasons for this.
The most obvious reason is that the current governor, Democrat Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, built a $21,000,000 war chest that most respectable Republicans looked at and figured that they had no chance to compete against such a boatload of cash on hand for Gov. Brown. And the Republican candidate, Neel Kashkari, literally swooped in at the last possible moment to challenge state assemblyman Tim Donnelly for the Republican nomination. Because California now has an open, non-partisan primary, the top two finishers go on to the general election. Mr. Kashkari finished second and is the patsy against Gov. Brown. A good night for Mr. Kashkari will be if he can match the numbers of the last GOP gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman as far as votes. Mrs. Whitman spent about $140,000,000 to lose to Gov. Brown and attain 41% of the vote. If Mr. Kashkari can equal that at the limited money he has, he will have spent his money wisely. If he gets higher numbers, its gravy and shows that the GOP can be competitive in the once Golden State.
So, California has seven "constitutional" offices which means that those offices the voters decide. After the governor, there is the Lt. Governor. Can the GOP win this one? Probably not as Democrat incumbent Gavin Newsome should have similar numbers as Gov. Brown. What about Attorney General? Nope, for Democrat Kamala Harris has actually been an adequate A. G. for a a Democrat. Again, she will ride the Brown coattails. Mr. RVFTLC, is there any damn office left? Why I'm glad you asked. There are a couple of offices in which the GOP has a fighting chance. The first one is for Controller. The GOP candidate is the Republican mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearingen. She finished first in the open primary and is facing off against Democrat No. Cal., Betty Yee. This appears to be a close enough race where Mrs. Swearingen can pull it off. I think that it will be close. If Mrs. Swearingen wins, she will be de facto leader of the California GOP. Even if Pete Petersen should win the Secretary of State, more on that shortly, Mrs. Swearingen will be the one seen as the leader. Now Mr. Petersen finished an agonizing close second in the open primary. Most analysts think this is also a winnable race for the GOP. If the GOP wins one or both, it will be seen as a sign the state GOP is making a comeback.
Another sign the California GOP would be showing signs of a comeback is to gain seats in the state legislature and even in the delegation to congress.
Currently, there are 15 Republican members of the 53 member congressional delegation. The state assembly has 24 Republicans and the state senate has 12 GOPers.
The state legislature is where the GOP needs to make some gains. Because the Democrats had a 2/3rd majority in both houses, a super majority, they did not need any GOP input on any legislation. But three senators have been embroiled in legal battles and are either out of the state senate or "on leave". That reduces the total number of senators from 40 to 37, thus ending that super majority. This maybe a tough hill to climb, but the GOP can get three seats and that will end the super majority when the state senate is back to 40 full members. The Democrats will still be in control, but the number will be 25 to 15. Considering there are only 12 members now, three more will make a huge difference. The same holds true in the state assembly. The magic number for the GOP is to hold their seats and win three more to bring their number to 27. That kills the super majority in the assembly. But again, the Democrats will be in charge 53 to 27.
O.K., I am the first to admit that seems to be small ball. And it is. But considering the Democrat juggernaut of 2010, to at least have a minority that puts something on money bills and gets some Democrat concessions is a start.
So what about congress?
One race to watch for is the 52nd congressional district. That pits incumbent Democrat congressman Scott Peters against Republican Carl DeMaio, the man that should have been mayor of San Diego. This is high on the GOP radar and money has been spent hand over fist on this one. It appears that this is in the too close to call category. A Republican win here will be a series of firsts. One, Mr. De Maio will be the first homosexual elected to congress as a Republican. Second, he will be the first to be married to a man under California law. Some very conservative groups are either sitting this one out or supporting the Democrat. Of course this being California, it is a big mistake for not supporting DeMaio. He's wrong on some of these issues, but he will be a good, reliable Republican vote. Another race is in the 33rd district in which is a open seat as Democrat Henry Waxman is retiring (thank Almighty God!). The Democrat is state senator Ted Lieu and the Republican is Elan Carr, a prosecutor in the Los Angeles county district attorney's office. Mr. Carr won a strong second place to face Sen. Lieu and is in contention. The district was redrawn in 2010 and is, surprisingly become a competitive district. That is why the GOP is helping Mr. Carr try to win here. Imagine the 40-year reign of Henry Waxman ends with the GOP winning his seat. Eternal justice if there ever was any!
Unlike 2010, the Democrats are not exactly pumped up for this election. After all the top of the ticket is already a winner in Gov. Brown. It's just a question of how badly Mr. Kashkari will be beaten by.
While the GOP is not in the greatest shape, the voters will have more motivation to actually vote. Although only 28% of registered voters, this maybe an election that they make inroads with decline to state (independent) voters. If that happens, then the party is on the comeback.
The Republican wave tomorrow night will be a good sized ripple in California. But will it be a strong enough ripple to help a beleaguered state GOP? I think it will be a better night than 2010 for state Republicans.