Friday, December 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wins San Joaquin Valley, First Democratic Presidential Nominee Since 1964 to Prevail in California's Agricultural Heartland

Democrat Hillary Clinton has won the San Joaquin Valley, the first Democratic presidential nominee to prevail in California's agricultural heartland since 1964.  Based on election returns from the eight-county region as of December 5th, Clinton won 549,030 votes and Republican Donald Trump won 543,432 votes, yielding a 5,598-ballot margin of victory for Clinton.

Clinton won San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced and Fresno counties.  Trump prevailed in Madera, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties.

Before 2016, the last time that a Democratic presidential nominee won the San Joaquin Valley was in the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964, when President Johnson defeated Republican Senator Barry Goldwater by nearly 140,000 votes.

The closest that Democratic presidential nominees came to winning the San Joaquin Valley counties between 1964 and 2016 was in 1976, followed by 1968.  Democrat Hubert Humphrey lost the San Joaquin Valley by 5,657 votes to Republican Richard Nixon in 1968.  Democratic Governor Jimmy Carter lost the San Joaquin Valley to Republican President Gerald Ford in 1976 by a similar margin, 5,003 votes.

In 1984, Republican President Ronald Reagan won the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley by nearly 152,000 votes over Democrat Walter Mondale.

In 2004, Republican President George W. Bush lost California, but won the San Joaquin Valley counties by a 214,000-vote margin over Democrat John Kerry.

In 2012, Republican "Mitt" Romney won the eight San Joaquin Valley counties by 21,475 votes over Democratic President Barack Obama (Romney: 535,698 vs. Obama: 514,223).

The eight counties include some population outside of the San Joaquin Valley floor.  For example, Kern County extends across the Tehachapi Mountains into the Mojave Desert and includes a few cities that are outside of the Central Valley, such as Tehachapi, California City and Ridgecrest.  These non-Valley cities tend to be much more Republican than the eight-county San Joaquin Valley region as a whole.

The 2010 U.S. Census of Population found 3.97 million persons in the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley.  If the region were its own state, it would have ranked 27th in the United States by population in 2010, behind Kentucky and just ahead of Oregon.  The San Joaquin Valley has a larger population than many prominent agricultural states, such as Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

"CalPolitical" examined the San Joaquin Valley in presidential election history in a January 2012 post: http://calpolitical.blogspot.com/2012/01/california-state-route-99-road-to.html




















Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wins Orange County, California - First Democratic Presidential Nominee in 80 Years To Do So

Orange County, California, the quintessential bastion of post-World War II suburban Republicanism, has voted Democratic for the first time in 80 years in the 2016 presidential election, favoring Secretary Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.  In modern American politics, this is akin to the Rock of Gibraltar crumbling.

The last Democratic presidential nominee who won Orange County was Franklin Roosevelt in his 1936 re-election landslide over Republican Alf Landon.  Since Orange County was created in 1889, it has voted for a Democrat for president just three times: in 1932, in 1936 and now in 2016.

As of December 6th, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in Orange County by more than 102,000 ballots and 8.6 percentage points [Clinton: 609,961 (50.9 percent); Trump: 507,148 (42.3 percent)].  Clinton's 102,000 surplus votes in Orange County exceed Trump's margin of victory in the pivotal states of Pennsylvania (47,000 vote margin), Wisconsin (22,000 vote margin) and Michigan (11,000 vote margin) combined.

Orange County was a Republican stronghold in the late 20th century, especially during the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan eras.  Nixon was an Orange County native, born in Yorba Linda.  Reagan had close ties to the county.

The Eisenhower/Nixon Republican ticket dominated in Orange County in the 1950s as freeways, tract homes, industrial parks and tourist attractions (including Disneyland) replaced orange groves and bean fields.  Eisenhower/Nixon trounced Democrat Adlai Stevenson 69.9 percent vs. 29.3 percent in Orange County in 1952.  This was the Republican ticket's highest percentage among California counties in 1952 outside of the "cow counties" of Alpine and Mono.  In 1956, Eisenhower/Nixon again soundly defeated Stevenson in Orange County, 66.8 percent vs. 32.3 percent (again, the Republican ticket's highest percentages outside of Alpine and Mono counties).

Richard Nixon defeated Democrat John F. Kennedy in California in 1960 by around 36,000 votes statewide; Orange County provided Nixon with his largest margin, nearly 63,000 votes (60.8 percent of total Orange County vote), to offset Kennedy's 55,000 vote margin in San Francisco and win the Golden State's 32 electoral votes.  When Nixon defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey in California in 1968 by around 223,000 votes, Nixon's margin in Orange County exceeded 166,000 votes, the largest of any California county.  Humphrey's margins in his top three counties combined (San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento) were insufficient to offset Nixon's surplus votes in Orange County.  Orange County alone accounted for nearly one-third of Nixon's narrow 512,000 national popular vote margin of victory in 1968.  Nixon won all of Orange County's cities in the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections.

In the 1980s, Orange County was the heart of "Reagan Country."  Ronald Reagan won Orange County by 353,000 votes over Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980 (Reagan: 67.9 percent vs. Carter: 22.6 percent), his highest margin of votes and his highest percentage among California counties.  Reagan's margin of victory in Orange County in 1980 (353,000) was larger than in every state except California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas.

President Reagan won 74.7 percent of the Orange County vote in 1984, his best California county (generating a 429,000 ballot margin over Democrat Walter Mondale).  This arguably was when Orange County Republicanism reached its zenith.  Reagan kicked off his 1984 fall campaign with a Labor Day rally at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.  Reagan said, "Being here among friends, seeing familiar faces, getting just a hint of that breeze from the Pacific Ocean renews our strength and purpose as we start our march to victory this November. And let me add, when people need a little sunshine in their lives and a feel for the optimism that fills the soul of this beautiful country, then I can assure them they'll find it in Orange County."  (A statue of Reagan was unveiled at Mile Square Park in 2015.)  Reagan won every Orange County city in 1980 and 1984, including a nearly 40,000 vote margin in Anaheim alone in 1984 (Reagan: 59,238 vs.  Mondale: 19,266).  Also in 1984, conservative Republican Robert Dornan defeated Democratic Rep. Jerry Patterson, ending 22 years of Democratic control of that Orange County congressional seat.

Orange County's votes kept California in Gerald Ford's column in the close 1976 presidential election.  Ford narrowly won the Golden State by around 140,000 ballots.  Orange County provided Ford's statewide margin of victory as Ford defeated Democrat Jimmy Carter by around 176,000 votes there.  Ford won every Orange County city; his margin over Carter in Newport Beach exceeded 15,000 votes.

The last Republican presidential nominee who won California was George H.W. Bush in 1988.  He defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis statewide by nearly 353,000 votes.  Most of Bush's margin of victory was generated in Orange County, where he defeated Dukakis by nearly 317,000 votes [Bush: 586,230 (67.8 percent) vs. Dukakis: 269,013 (31.1 percent)].  Bush won every Orange County city in 1988.

Orange County trended more Democratic in recent presidential elections.  In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama narrowly lost Orange County to Republican John McCain by around 30,000 votes [McCain: 579,064 (50.2 percent) vs. Obama: 549,558 (47.6 percent)].  Obama won the cities of Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Santa Ana, Stanton and Tustin.

On March 18, 2009, President Obama held a town hall meeting at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa as part of his first California visit as president. President Obama touted the recently-passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and how it would  "help combat climate change -- because the weather is already nice in Orange County, we don't want it to get warmer."  

In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney defeated President Obama in Orange County by nearly 70,000 votes and six percentage points [Romney: 582,332 (52.0 percent) vs. Obama: 512,440 (45.8 percent)].  Obama won the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton, Tustin and Westminster.

Hillary Clinton is the first presidential nominee in 32 years to win every southern California county (every county with territory south of the San Bernardino/San Gabriel/Santa Ynez mountains): Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, San Diego and Imperial counties.  Ronald Reagan won every southern California county in 1980 and 1984; the last Democratic presidential nominee who won every southern California county was Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.

Clinton's 102,000 vote surplus in Orange County alone offsets her deficits in the ten counties that she lost south of Sacramento (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Madera, Kings, Tulare, Inyo and Kern).  Clinton's excess votes in Orange County alone offset all of her losses in California south of Interstate Highway 80.  

In 2016, Kern County was the California county that gave the largest margin of victory to Donald Trump (in terms of net votes), nearly 31,000, followed by Shasta County (nearly 30,000 vote margin for Trump).  So, in a sense, the heart of California Republicanism has shifted from Orange County to Kern County and Bakersfield, home of U.S. House of Representatives Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Until 2016, Orange County had the longest Republican voting streak in presidential elections among California's 58 counties.  It backed Republicans in the nineteen presidential elections from 1940 to 2012.  Orange County was one of five California counties that favored Republican Barry Goldwater against the 1964 Lyndon Johnson Democratic landslide (Alpine, Mono, Sutter, Orange and San Diego counties voted for Goldwater).  Alpine, Mono and San Diego counties have voted Democratic in recent presidential elections.  Sutter County (Yuba City) now assumes the mantle as California's most "stalwart" Republican county, as it has favored Republicans in every presidential election from 1944 to present.

The Last Democratic Presidential Victory in Orange County: 1936
When Franklin Roosevelt won Orange County in 1936, California had 22 electoral votes.  The ballot contained all twenty-two names.  Voters had to mark each of the 22 names in order to vote for president.  Therefore, the vote total for president varied.  In Orange County in 1936, the lowest vote total for a Democratic elector was 29,831; the highest was 29,839.  The 1936 Orange County vote for the twenty-two Republican electors ranged from 23,488 to 23,495.  The 1940 election was the first in which California voters cast a single vote for a presidential nominee's entire slate of electors.

Orange County, of course, has changed much since 1936 when it previously voted Democratic for president.  The county's population then was under 130,000, compared to over three million today.  The Pacific Electric interurban streetcar system linked Santa Ana and Newport Beach with Los Angeles.  Freeways were non-existent. The county's orange groves were near their peak acreage, tended by predominately Mexican and Mexican-American workers, many of whom resided in "barrios" and "colonias," leading to the 1940s Mendez v. Westminster school desegregation lawsuit.

Franklin Roosevelt had long "coattails" in Orange County in 1936.  Orange County voters joined Riverside and San Bernardino counties in ousting two-term Republican Congressman Sam Collins and replacing him with Democrat Harry Sheppard.  Orange County elected a Democratic state senator, Harry Westover, who later became a federal district court judge.  Orange County voters in 1936 ousted Republican Assemblyman James Utt, who later represented Orange County in Congress from 1953 until his death in 1970.

Democratic registration rose dramatically and Republican registration plummeted during the New Deal across the nation, including Orange County.  In 1932, the first time that a Democrat won the Orange County presidential contest, total registration was 62,306, composed of 35 percent Democrats, 61 percent Republicans, three percent decline-to-state and one percent other.

Democrats had a voter registration advantage in Orange County by 1936.  Total registration in Orange County for the November 1936 election was 65,954, composed of 53 percent Democrats, 44 percent Republicans, two percent decline-to-state and one percent other.  Republicans re-gained their voter registration lead in Orange County by May 1944 and have held it for the past 72 years.

Orange County Voter Registration: "No Party Preference" and Democratic Voters Rising
Republicans have a slight, but diminishing, voter registration advantage today in Orange County.  The October 24, 2016 California Secretary of State voter registration report says that Republicans constitute 37.8 percent of Orange County voters compared to 34.0 percent Democrats and 23.9 percent "no party preference."  Democrats outnumber Republicans in Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Stanton and Tustin.  In Santa Ana, the county's seat and largest city, a mere 19 percent of voters are registered as Republicans compared to 55 percent Democrats (Santa Ana is Orange County's only city with a majority of registered Democrats).  In Irvine, 35 percent of registered voters are Democrats versus 29 percent registered voters are Republicans.  More Irvine voters (32 percent) have "no party preference."  Irvine is the county's city with the highest share of "NPP" voters.

In October 2000, Republicans had a much larger advantage.  Republicans then comprised 49 percent of Orange County registered voters, compared to 32 percent Democrats and 14 percent "declined to state."  Over the past sixteen years, Republican registration in Orange County (down 11 percentage points) largely has shifted to "no party preference" (up ten percentage points).  Whereas 660,561 Republicans were registered in Orange County in 2000, there are 580,398 in 2016 (a decline of nearly 80,000, even as the county's population and number of registered voters have expanded).  "Declined to state/no party preference" registration has nearly doubled, from 190,950 in 2000 to 367,544 in 2016 (a 166,000 gain).  Democratic registration in Orange County rose from 431,695 in 2000 to 522,325 in 2016 (a 90,000 gain).

Orange County Demographic Shift: Latino and Asians Shares of Population Rising
Orange County is much more Latino/Hispanic today, boosting Democratic registration in communities such as Santa Ana.  Asian population growth likely accounts for much of the expansion of "no party preference" registration in communities such as Irvine.

The 2010 U.S. Census of Population found 3.01 million residents in Orange County.  White alone, not Hispanic/Latino constituted 44.1 percent of population, followed by 33.7 percent Hispanic/Latino, 17.9 percent Asian alone, 1.7 percent Black/African American alone and 4.2 percent two or more races.

In 1990, Hispanics/Latinos comprised  23.4 percent or Orange County's population.  Asians constituted 10.0 percent.














Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hillary Clinton Takes Popular Vote Lead in 2016 General Election

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took the lead in the national popular vote in the 2016 presidential election at 3:25 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Wednesday, November 9th.  Precincts in Los Angeles County, California put her ahead of Republican challenger Donald Trump in the national popular vote.

Secretary Clinton's lead is likely to hold and even increase as outstanding vote-by-mail ballots in California and Washington state are counted through the remainder of November.  Secretary Clinton is the fifth presidential candidate in history who won the national popular vote, but lost the presidency.  The others were Andrew Jackson in 1824 (who lost to John Quincy Adams), Samuel Tilden in 1876 (who lost to Rutherford Hayes), Grover Cleveland in 1888 (who lost to Benjamin Harrison) and Al Gore in 2000 (who lost to George W. Bush).

President-elect Donald Trump won the 2016 election by one of the smallest popular vote percentages in modern U.S. history.  If Mr. Trump's current share of the national popular vote holds (47.6 percent), the only presidential candidates to be elected with smaller shares of the popular vote in the past century were Richard Nixon in 1968 (43.4 percent) and Bill Clinton in 1992 (43.0 percent).  In both of those elections, third-party candidates garnered more than 10 percent of the national popular vote (George Wallace won 13.5 percent in 1968; Ross Perot won 18.9 percent in 1992).

Secretary Clinton's win in California exceeded 28 percentage points.  This was larger than President Barack Obama's victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 (23 percentage points).  Secretary Clinton won Orange County, the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry that one-time Republican bastion since the Franklin Roosevelt landslide of 1936.   Orange County once was an essential building block of Ronald Reagan's gubernatorial and presidential victories in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.  Demographic changes in the past generation, especially a growing Latino population, have transformed it from a Republican stalwart into a jurisdiction that supported a Democratic presidential nominee.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Air War": Spending for Political Television Ads on KTVU: October & November 2014


The “air war” for the November 2014 election was not as intense in the San Francisco Bay Area as it was in past elections.  More than one million dollars were spent for political ads on KTVU (channel 2, Fox owned-and-operated station, Oakland) in October and November, 2014.  

Governor of California

Incumbent Governor Jerry Brown (D) spent a total of $394,840 on KTVU ads between October 8 and Election Day.  Brown spent $30,000 on a spot during the Giants-Royals World Series on October 26, $81,000 during the October 28 game and another $81,000 during the October 29 game.  Brown spent $14,000 on a spot during the October 19 Oakland Raiders game. Those four spots during sporting events cost Brown $210,000 (53% of his total KTVU ad spending).   

Political television commercials are lucrative not only for broadcasters, but also for the campaign’s advertising placement agents, who generally receive 15 percent of ad spending as commissions.  The Brown campaign’s agent was Sadler Strategic Media of Studio City (southern California).

Republican challenger Neel Kashkari spent $337,815 on KTVU ads between October 14 and Election Day.  Kashkari’s big splurge was $162,000 for a 60-second spot that ran during the World Series game on October 28 (nearly one-half of Kashkari's total KTVU ad spending was on this single advertisement; $162,000 is more than five times the California per capita money income of $29,551).  Kashkari also spent $60,000 for a single 60-second spot during the November 2nd 49ers game. 

Kashkari ran 30-second ads in mid-October.  In late October through Election Day, he ran 60-second spots.  KTVU mistakenly ran the 30-second spot during its 5 p.m. newscasts on October 30 and 31.  It charged for those spots, but compensated the Kashkari campaign by running the 60-second spots during the 5 p.m. newscasts on November 2 and 3 at no charge.  The Kashkari campaign’s agent was the Smart Media Group of Alexandria, Virginia. 

State Legislature: 16th Assembly District (East Bay: Orinda to Livermore)

The race for the 16th Assembly District (AD16) [East Bay: Tri-Valley, Walnut Creek (part), Lamorinda] was a rare state legislative contest that attracted television advertising on broadcast stations in 2014.

Legislative candidates in the San Francisco Bay Area usually avoid television broadcast advertising because they are an extremely inefficient means of reaching likely voters in a specific district.  The 2010 Census of Population found 7.15 million Bay Area residents.  The population of AD16 is 466,000, a mere 6.3 percent of Bay Area population.  Theoretically, this means that for every 1,000 KTVU viewers, just 63 reside in AD16.  Many of those 63 out of 1,000 viewers are not registered or are unlikely to vote.  The ad is mostly irrelevant to the other 937 out of 1000 viewers.

AD16 Democratic candidate Tim Sbranti apparently spent more money on KTVU ads in October and November 2014 than any other candidate for any other office.  From invoices reported as of November 10, 2014, the Sbranti campaign spent a total of $267,600 on KTVU ads.  These included $81,000 spent on a 30-second spot during the October 29 World Series game and $72,000 spent on a 30-second spot during the October 26 World Series game and $55,000 for a single 30-second spot during the October 11 Giants playoff game.  

Sbranti has been active in the statewide political affairs of the California Teachers Association union.  A single World Series spot bought by the Sbranti campaign cost more than the beginning or mid-range annual salary of the average California public school teacher at the elementary and high school levels and exceeded the highest annual salary of teachers at small school districts, according to California Department of Education statistics for the year 2011-12.  So the Sbranti campaign spent more in 30 seconds than most California teachers earn in an entire year.

The grand total of KTVU ad spending by the Sbranti campaign likely will rise as more invoices are disclosed in coming days because the Sbranti campaign signed contracts for other World Series ads that have not yet appeared in invoices.  Sbranti signed contracts for ads on KTVU during six of the seven World Series games; if those six spots are invoiced, Sbranti’s grand total for KTVU 2014 World Series ads will be $427,500.   

Sbranti spent $59,600 on ads during KTVU's morning and evening newcasts in the days leading up to Election Day (ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 per 30-second spot).  The Sbranti campaign’s agent was MBMG, Inc. (Milner Butcher Media Group) of Studio City in southern California.

Catharine Baker, Sbranti’s Republican challenger for the open Assembly seat, did not purchase any KTVU ads in 2014.  Spirit of Democracy California, a pro-Baker independent expenditure committee largely funded by multi-millionaire Charles Munger, Jr., executed an advertising agreement with KTVU on October 22.  Spirit of Democracy apparently placed ads on KTVU, but KTVU is declining to disclose when those ads ran and what those ads cost.  Non-federal "issue advertising" apparently is exempt from the FCC's political advertising disclosure requirements.  (If anyone has information about AD16-related TV advertising by Spirit of Democracy-California, especially the content of those ads, please share that information in the comments section below.)  Chariot LLC was Spirit of Democracy California's media purchasing agent.

Baker agreed to the California Fair Political Practices Commission's voluntary expenditure ceiling of $953,000 for Assembly candidates in the November 2014 election. Sbranti did not and therefore spent as much money as he wished (apparently a half million dollars on KTVU commercials alone).

Ms. Baker narrowly won AD16.  She became the first Republican to capture a Democratic-held Assembly seat in the East Bay since 1980, when Bill Baker (R-Danville) won Dan Boatwright’s (D-Concord) vacant Assembly seat in Contra Costa County and Gib Marguth (R-Livermore) defeated incumbent Assemblyman Floyd Mori (D-Pleasanton).

Congress: 17th District (South Bay: Fremont to Sunnyvale & Cupertino)

The only congressional campaign that purchased KTVU ads in fall 2014 was that of incumbent Michael Honda (D) in the 17th congressional district [South Bay: Newark and part of Fremont in Alameda County; Milpitas, northern part of San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Cupertino in Santa Clara County).  Challenger Ro Khanna (D) bought KTVU ads in spring 2014, but apparently did not purchase KTVU ads in the fall.

As with Bay Area Assembly and state Senate races, spending on broadcast TV ads for Bay Area congressional contests makes little sense.  Each congressional district was a population of approximately 703,000 or 9.8% of the entire Bay Area.  Theoretically, 902 out of every 1,000 KTVU viewers cannot vote in the CD17 race.

The Honda campaign bought $95,030 worth of ads on KTVU in October and November 2014, mostly during newscasts and syndicated sitcom re-runs (“Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family”).   The Honda campaign spent $2,800 each for at least five 30-second spots in the week preceding Election Day during KTVU's "10 o'clock News." Honda’s agent was Adelstein & Associates of Chicago.

Honda narrowly defeated Khanna in November 2014.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

East San Francisco Bay Area Members of Congress: 1865 to 2014: George Miller is Just Third to Retire Normally in 150 Years


Thirty-five individuals (thirty-three men and two women) have represented the East San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) in the U.S. House of Representatives since California’s first single-member districts were created in 1864.  (This does not include the two congressmen who represented California at-large from 1883 to 1885.  California gained two seats in 1882 as a result of the post-1880 census re-apportionment but the Legislature postponed re-districting until the 1884 congressional elections.)

The East Bay today has six U.S. representatives: George Miller, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda and Mike Thompson.

Here is how the 29 other U.S. representatives left their East Bay districts:

  • Defeated in primary or general elections: 14 (Higby, Page, Hilborn, English, MacLafferty, Eltse, Carter, Condon, Allen, Cohelan, George P. Miller, Baker, Pombo, Stark)
  • Died in office: 3 (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Resigned mid-term: 4 (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Re-districting caused loss of all East Bay territory: 3 (Curry Jr., Edwards, Garamendi)
  • Ran for another office at end of term: 3 (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Retired at end of term: 2 (Budd, Tolan)
Retirements are very rare.  Just two East Bay representatives in the past 150 years have retired from the House at the ends of their terms and not sought another political office immediately thereafter: James Budd in 1884 and John Tolan in 1946.  George Miller III will become the third in 2014.

There have been just sixteen open House seats in the East Bay since 1864, created by:

  • Four new congressional seats (1912, 1932, 1952, 1992)
  • Four mid-term resignations (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Three deaths (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Three runs for higher office at the ends of term (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Two retirements (Budd, Tolan)
George Miller III’s retirement in 2014 will create the 17th open congressional seat in the East Bay in the past 150 years. On average, an open East Bay congressional seat is a once-in-a-decade phenomenon.

A "George Miller" has represented the East Bay in Congress for 68 of the past 70 years.  Rep. George P. Miller (D-Alameda), no relation to George Miller III, served from 1945 until after Pete Stark defeated him in the 1972 Democratic primary.  That Rep. Miller was chairman of the House Science & Astronautics committee for most of the 1960s and therefore oversaw NASA's Apollo/lunar landing program.  The only time since World War II that there was not a "Rep. George Miller" from the East Bay was 1973-75.

Several East Bay members of Congress have attained higher political offices.  Rep. James Budd, a Stockton lawyer, was elected to the California governorship in 1894, a decade after he retired from his single term in Congress.  A close friend of suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Rep. Aaron Sargent ascended to the U.S. Senate in 1872, where he introduced the first constitutional amendment (unsuccessful) granting women the franchise. 

Rep. Joseph McKenna resigned in 1892 to serve as U.S. Ninth Circuit Court judge. He subsequently became U.S. attorney general (1897) and Associate Justice of the United States (1898 to 1925).  Rep. Victor Metcalf resigned from Congress mid-term to become President Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of Commerce and Labor (1904-06) and Secretary of the Navy (1906-08).

Two East Bay representatives did not run for re-election because they sought other higher offices.  In 1914, Rep. Joseph Knowland (father of future U.S. Sen. William Knowland) ran unsuccessfully in California’s first direct U.S. Senate election.  In 1974, Rep. Jerome Waldie ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Governor of California (he lost to Jerry Brown – Waldie’s bid is perhaps most famous for his walk across a portion of the state, memorialized in Mary Ellen Leary's book Phantom Politics).

James Budd of Stockton, elected in 1882, was the first Democrat to represent an East Bay district.  [John Glascock (D-Oakland) also was elected in 1882, but he was elected at-large by all voters of California.]  The first third-party member, Progressive John Elston, was elected in 1914.  The first African American, Ronald V. Dellums of Berkeley, was elected in 1970.  Ellen O. Tauscher of Tassajara Valley became the region’s first congresswoman in 1997.

The following are the 35 occupants of the East Bay’s nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives over the past 150 years:

Seat A: Created in 1864 as one of California’s original three congressional districts.  2nd District from 1865 to 1885 (central Sierra Nevada to East Bay).  3rd District from 1885 to 1913.  6th District from 1933 to 1953.  8th District from 1953 to 1975 (southern Alameda County plus eastern Oakland).  9th District from 1975 to 1993 (San Leandro to Livermore Valley).  13th District from 1993 to 2003 (I-880 corridor from San Leandro to Milpitas).  15th District from 2013 to 2023 (most of southern Alameda County, all of eastern Alameda, San Ramon).  [15 occupants]

1865-69            William Higby (R-Calaveras County)(defeated for re-nomination)
1869-73            Aaron A. Sargent (R-Nevada City) (elected to U.S. Senate)
1873-83            Horace Page (R-Placerville) (defeated by Budd in genl. election after re-districting)
1883-85            James Budd (D-Stockton) [retired – did not seek re-election; later elected governor (1895-99)]
1885-3/92         Joseph McKenna (R-Suisun City) (resigned to serve as U.S. 9th Circuit judge)
12/92-4/94        Samuel Hilborn (R-Oakland) (unseated by House; Warren English declared winner)
4/94-95            Warren B. English (D-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1895-99            Samuel Hilborn (R-Oakland) (defeated for re-nomination)
1899-7/04          Victor Metcalf (R-Oakland) (resigned to serve as Secretary of Commerce & Labor)
12/04-15            Joseph Knowland (R-Alameda) (unsuccessfully ran for Senate)
1915-12/1921     John A. Elston (Progressive/R-Berkeley) (died in office)
11/1922-1925     James H. MacLafferty (R-Oakland) (defeated in primary)
1925-45            Albert Carter (R-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1945-73            George P. Miller (D-Alameda) (defeated in primary)
1973-2013         Fortney “Pete” Stark (D-Danville/Oakland/Hayward/Fremont)(defeated Nov. ‘12)
2013-present       Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin)

[Seat A is now a southern & eastern Alameda County district plus San Ramon in Contra Costa County.  It is entirely within the East Bay.]

Seat B: Created in 1912.  California’s 3rd District from 1913 to 1933 (Based in Central Valley but included Contra Costa County).  As of 1933, no longer an East Bay district.  [2 occupants]

1913-10/30       Charles F. Curry (R-Sacramento) (died)
1931-33            Charles F. Curry Jr. (R-Sacramento) (defeated; district lost East Bay territory)
[Seat B lost its East Bay territory in 1932 and evolved into Sacramento/Central Valley district].

Seat C: Created in 1932: California’s 7th District from 1933 to 1975; 8th District from 1975 to 1993; 9th District from 1993 to 2003. 13th District from 2013 to 2023. [6 occupants]

1933-35            Ralph Eltse (R-Berkeley) (defeated in general election)
1935-47            John H. Tolan (D-Oakland) (did not seek re-election; retired in Jan. 1947)
1947-59            John J. Allen (R-Oakland) (defeated in general election)
1959-71            Jeffery Cohelan (D-Berkeley) (defeated in primary)
1971-2/1998      Ronald Dellums (D-Berkeley/Oakland) (resigned mid-term)
4/1998-present   Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
[Centered on Oakland and Berkeley (covering all of northern Alameda County from Albany to San Leandro), Seat C remains in the East Bay in the 2010s.]

Seat D: Created in 1952.  California’s 6th District from 1953 to 1963 (all of Contra Costa and Solano counties).  14th District from 1963 to 1975.  7th District from 1975 to 2003.  11th District from 2013 to 2023. [4 occupants]

1953-55            Robert L. Condon (D-Walnut Creek) (defeated in general election)
1955-3/66         John F. Baldwin, Jr. (R-Martinez) (died in office)
6/66-75            Jerome Waldie (D-Antioch) (ran for governor)
1975-present     George Miller III (D-Martinez) (not seeking re-election; retiring in January 2015)
[Seat remains in East Bay in 2010s, entirely within Contra Costa County.  It includes most of central Contra Costa County plus Pittsburg and western Antioch plus Richmond/El Cerrito/San Pablo/Pinole]

Seat E: Created in 1962.  Primarily based in Santa Clara County.  Included portion of Alameda County from 1963 to 1993.  9th District from 1963 to 1975.  10th District from 1975 to 1993.  District lost its East Bay territory in 1992. [1 occupant]

1963-93            Don Edwards (D-San Jose) (retired in Jan. 1995, but after district left East Bay)
[Seat E lost its East Bay territory in 1992.  Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) now occupies it.]

Seat F: Created in 1992.  California’s 10th District from 1993 to 2003 (central and eastern Contra Costa County; eastern Alameda County plus Castro Valley).  District lost its East Bay territory in 2012 [3 occupants]

1993-97            William P. Baker (R-Danville) (defeated in general election)
1997-2009         Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Tassajara Valley/Alamo) (resigned mid-term)
2009-13            John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove)  (district no longer in East Bay)
[Seat F lost its East Bay territory in 2012.]

Seat G:   San Joaquin County-centered district.   Added East Bay territory in 2002. 11th District from 2003 to 2013 (Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, most of Brentwood, most of San Joaquin County, Morgan Hill). 9th District [most of San Joaquin County plus much of eastern Contra Costa County (eastern Antioch, Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay)] [2 occupants]
2003-2007              Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) (defeated in 2006 general election)
2007-present            Gerald "Jerry" McNerney (D-Pleasanton/Stockton)

Seat H:  North Bay-centered district.  Added East Bay territory in 2012. 5th District from 2013 to 2023. [1 occupant]
2013-present            Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena)

[Seat H historically has been a North Bay district.  In 2012, a portion of Contra Costa County was added to the district, including most of Martinez, Crockett, Hercules.  Outside of the East Bay, district includes Vallejo and Benicia in Solano County, all of Napa County, part of Lake County and the Santa Rosa/Rohnert Park/Cotati area of Sonoma County.]

Seat I: Silicon Valley district.  Added East Bay territory in 2012.  17th District from 2013 to 2023. [1 occupant]
2013-present             Michael Honda (D-San Jose)

[Seat I historically has been a Santa Clara County district.  Southern Fremont was added in 2012.]

Friday, January 4, 2013

California: Home to Nearly 1 in 5 House Democrats

The 113th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2013.  The House of Representatives includes 38 California Democrats, the largest partisan delegation ever from a state.  California Democrats comprise 19 percent of the 200-member House Democratic Caucus (nearly one in five House Democrats), the third-highest percentage from a single state in the past century and the highest for a state's Democratic delegation in the past century.

The 38 Democrats of the California House delegation comprise the largest partisan delegation of any state in any Congress in American history.  This breaks the record set by the Pennsylvania House delegation in the 69th Congress (1925-27), composed of 36 Republicans elected by Keystone State voters in the Calvin Coolidge landslide of 1924 and again in the 71st Congress (1929-31), from June 4, 1929 until March 4, 1931.

It is impossible for any other state to break California’s record at the present time.  The 36 House members elected by Texas comprise the second-largest House delegation.  Even if all Texas congressional districts elected a Republican (or, improbably, a Democrat), the 36 Republicans would still fall two short of California’s record.  Just two U.S. states have had more than 36 members in their House delegations – California from 1963 to present and New York from 1903 to 1983.

In the 113th Congress, the Texas (24 out of 36) and Florida (17 out of 27) delegations contain more House Republicans than California (15 out of 53).  Other states with 10 or more House Republicans include Pennsylvania (13 out of 18) and Ohio (12 out of 16).  Those four states (Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio) elected a total of 66 Republicans and 31 Democrats in November 2012.  The fifteen California House Republicans in the 113th Congress comprise a mere six percent of the entire House Republican Conference.

Two other states have had partisan delegations that have compromised larger shares of their partisan caucuses/conferences in the past century.  In the first New Deal Congress (73rd Congress, 1933-35), Republicans were a small minority, with a total of 117 House members.  Pennsylvania accounted for 23 of the 117 Republicans (19.7 percent).  This was the highest concentration of House members of a major party in any state in the past century.  The second-highest record was the 17 Republicans in the New York delegation in the 75th Congress (1937-39).  They accounted for 19.1 percent of all 89 House Republicans in that Congress.
 

California holds the record for the highest single-state concentration of House Democrats in the past century.  As of January 3, 2013, 38 of the 200 members of the House Democratic Caucus were Californians (19 percent).  This is an increase from 17.7 percent in the 112th Congress (2011-13), 34 out of 192.  The only other state that has been a contender for this record is Texas.  In the 67th Congress (1921-23), 17 of the 131 House Democrats were Texans (13.0 percent).

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fresno County-Voted Twice for Obama

President Obama won Fresno County in 2012, with vote-by-mail ballots counted in the final days putting him ahead of Republican "Mitt" Romney.  Obama is the first Democratic presidential nominee to win Fresno County twice since Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s.

Obama won Fresno County by 5,691 ballots in 2008 (Obama 136,706 vs. McCain 131,015).  In 2012, he won it by a slightly narrower margin, 4,639 votes (Obama 129,129 vs. Romney 124,490).

Fresno County was a Democratic stalwart in the mid-20th century.  Between the Herbert Hoover landslide of 1928 and the Ronald Reagan landslide of 1980, Fresno County voted for a Republican for president just once -- Richard Nixon in his 1972 re-election landslide.  From 1980 to 2004, Fresno County was reliably Republican, favoring a Democrat in just one presidential election (a narrow win for Bill Clinton in 1992).

The San Joaquin Valley voted more Democratic than the nation in the 1950s and '60s.  Adlai Stevenson won eight California counties, including Fresno, Madera and Kings, in 1952.  Stevenson won thirteen California counties, including Fresno, Madera, Kings, Merced and Stanislaus, in 1956.  Hubert Humphrey won 21 California counties in 1968, including Fresno, Madera, Kings, Merced and Stanislaus.  Into the 1980s, Fresno County was competitive.  In 1988, Democrat Michael Dukakis narrowly lost Fresno County (94,835 Bush vs. 92,635 Dukakis).

On General Election Day, 2012, Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth operated "drive-thru" vote-by-mail ballot return locations at nine sites across the county.  They were open during the same eleven hours as polling places.

Agribusiness is the foundation of the Fresno County economy.  The 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture found that Fresno County was the top county in the nation in terms of total value of agricultural products sold ($3.73 billion).  Fresno County was no. 2 in the country in terms of "value of crops" and no. 4 in terms of "value of livestock, poultry and their products sold."  Its 6,081 farms covered 1.6 million acres of farmland.  Fresno County grew the most acres of grapes and tomatoes in the nation in 2007.

Final 2012 election results for California show that just three counties shifted from favoring Obama in 2008 to supporting Romney in 2012: Butte, Nevada and Trinity.