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THE NOONER for October 21, 2013
Good morning from Palm Springs, where Democrats have one of the most difficult districts to defend next year. Here's what I previously wrote about CD36:
Physician Raul Ruiz defeated incumbent Mary Bono Mack in 2012 during a year in which stars aligned for California Democrats. Democrats won all contested seats except one (CD10), and CD36 was one of the most difficult.
This sprawling district stretches from Hemet to the Arizona border includes pockets of both significant (and seasonal) wealth and deep poverty.
However, the perception that Mary Bono Mack had become quite disconnected from the district found resonance with voters who had been deeply hurt by the sustained recession. Bono Mack, who was elected to the seat following the death of her then-husband Sonny Bono, was on the ballot at the same time as her husband Congressman Connie Mack, who unsuccessfully sought a U.S. Senate seat in Florida. Aside from the jet-setting part-time residents of the resort communities, the concept of a bi-coastal household just didn't play well.
In likely GOP candidate Brian Nestande, Raul Ruiz will have a much more difficult time holding this seat, particularly in a mid-term election.
Nestande, whose father was a state senator from Orange County, has sought to be a more moderate voice in the conservative Assembly Republican caucus. Nestande knows the district well, having managed campaigns and served in key staff roles for both Sonny Bono and Mary Bono Mack.
To keep the seat in the off-year, Ruiz needs to see strong voter turnout, hold all the Democrats who voted for him in 2012, and also to grab a slightly larger share of independent voters who previously voted for Bono Mack.
The seat will likely be the second highest pick-up priority in California for House Republicans, behind only Scott Peters's CD52.
Here are a few more nuggets to chew on. Barack Obama won the district both in 2008 and 2012, but barely at 50.1% and 50.7%. Jerry Brown underpolled Meg Whitman here by 6.3%. At 39.1%, Democrats have a razor-thin lead over the Republican share of 38.7%. Ruiz, however, has emerged as a strong fundraiser and has $875,933 on hand to Nestande's $150,585. (Nestande would note that he didn't formally announce until last week, although he has been the presumed candidate for months.)
NOTED: Following the federal government debacle, Cook Political Report did a "Shutdown Shift" for 15 House races, and moved Mark Takano's CD41 to Solid Democrat (from Lean Democrat) and Gary Miller's CD31 to Lean Democrat (from Toss-up). I already have them as Likely Democrat and Leans Democrat respectively.
And, no, MSNBC. Mark Takano is not one of the House GOP seats in most danger.
TIL: I'm staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, which has great rates as it just rebranded from Hotel Zoso. Did you know that most of the Hard Rock brand is now owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida?
AURAL PLEASURE: John Myers and Anthony York discuss the end of the bill season on the Capitol Connection podcast.
A few reads:
IRONY: Like the public policy or not, ObamaCare is a model long espoused by conservative thinktanks as an alternative to single payor. Now, the main line of attack is over a website that is not working for enrollees from states that refused to create their own marketplaces. The website was developed by private company CGI, although that's usually buried in any story. Oh, what some Silicon Valley wonderkinds could have done with it and we could have saved much of the $630 million.
And, boondoggles like this is why there is such unwillingness to update systems like Cal-Access.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Lisa Gasperoni.
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