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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Taking a Break

Over the past few weeks there has been sooooo much to say about the campaigns under the new lines and how consultants and candidates are strategizing around the open primary.  We even got a great story on ABC 10 in Sacramento on how campaigns are using data (with ominous Jaws theme song in the background).

The problem has been that every time I begin to write I find myself spending more time deleting things than actually typing.  It is one thing to fun to poke at redistricting nerds, explore taint, and make comments on the political system as a whole, but as it gets closer I am refraining from making commentary that could impact the campaigns or IEs.  Even my @udrawthelines tweets lately have been blasted for silly things like ridiculing a mailing that looked like a funeral notice, I can’t imagine what would happen if I put it into the Redistricting Report! 

For your pre-election fix please subscribe to Scott Lay’s Nooner email (which will be sent out in about 10 minutes).  The Nooner is providing incredible campaign updates and our daily report on Absentee ballots cast by legislative and congressional districts, as well as city and county supervisor seats.  The report has totals by partisanship, ethnicity, and even turnout for doctors and nurses, etc.  It is a wealth of information – all for free from Redistricting Partners and Political Data Inc. 

After the June Primary we will send out a Redistricting Report with a look back at the races and the lessons learned from the new lines and open primary.  We will also have a big announcement regarding next moves for me and Redistricting Partners / RP Data.

Thanks for following the Redistricting Report.



City Council Approves LAUSD Board District Maps
The Los Angeles City Council approved the final redistricting maps for the Los Angeles Unified School District on April 25. The maps are redrawn every ten years to reflect changes in population recorded by the US Census. The maps approved by a now disbanded city appointed redistricting commission were subject to public scrutiny and complaint earlier this month as parents and stakeholders charged that they had been disenfranchised by the process and that the redrawn maps did not reflect their communities of interest. Most of the attention was focused on Board District 5 — represented by the newest member of the school board, Bennett Kayser — which was the most altered in the new maps.

Bernard C. Parks and Jan Perry: Redistricting is hurting the progress we've made
Daily News Los Angeles
As we observe the 20-year anniversary of the 1992 riots, local media as well as those who lived through the uprising have shared stories of how far we have come since tensions from the Rodney King verdict infamously erupted at the intersection of Florence and Normandie. Twenty years have come and gone, and there is a lot of progress of which to be proud, particularly in our two South Los Angeles districts, where the bulk of the rioting occurred. In fact, last year, a Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce report listed Council Districts 8 and 9 as the city's leaders in job creation. The districts have also become a model for the future of Los Angeles.

County split by college redistricting
Del Norte Triplicate
Redistricting of College of the Redwoods has divided Del Norte County in two. CR%u2008has nine trustee areas from which representatives are elected to sit on the Board of Trustees that govern the community college district. Trustee areas used to be divided based on schools districts. Del Norte has one school district so it was one trustee area. For many years, Rick Bennett, a retired teacher, has been the county’s trustee for CR’s Area 9. But the populations of trustee areas were disproportionate. The directive from recent court cases is that districts’ population should  not vary much more than 5 percent, said Paul DeMark, a spokesperson for CR. After the 2010 Census, it was necessary to redistrict CR and get population sizes more in line, he said.

Fairfield-Suisun school board approves redistricting plan
Daily Republic
With much discussion but little fanfare, the Fairfield-Suisun school board voted Wednesday on which way to send students to school next year after Sullivan Middle School closes. The board approved redistricting “Option 2,” which, in addition to other changes, feeds all of Fairview Elementary students into Grange Middle School, giving those at the farthest reaches of the new boundaries a nearly four-mile walk — given the district has cut busing services because of financial constraints. Sheldon Elementary students, after a long tenure of feeding into Green Valley Middle School, will now have the option to go to Crystal Middle School, shortening their commute from an average of 6.2 miles to 1.6 miles.

ACLU Bridges Cultural Gap between Escondido School Board and Parents in Preparation for New Election System
Empower San Diego
Changes in Escondido's demographocs prompted changes in election system and relationship between school board and citizens to better serve Escondido's rising Latino population. With the guidance of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and Imperial Counties, parents in Escondido's new and developing Latino community have successfully collaborated with the Escondido school board to draw 'areas', or districts, for trustees with Latino majorities in both the high school and elementary school districts. Known as the “Escondido Project”, the ACLU’s engagement efforts with Latino parents began in June 2011.  It was prompted by demographic changes found in the 2010 Census, which indicated an increase in the Latino population, especially immigrant Latinos.

Pasadena moves toward new district boundaries
Mercury News
More than 11,000 residents throughout the city could find themselves in another district, represented by a different council member, before the March and April 2013 elections. On a 6 to 1 vote Monday, the City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would redraw the city's seven district boundaries. The final decision is expected at Monday's council meeting. Pasadena's nine-member redistricting task force began the complex process in August after the 2010 U.S. Census data showed uneven population growth among existing council districts. Federal law requires that each district contain roughly even numbers of residents, while not "adversely impacting" certain ethnic or minority groups and neighborhood associations, said Richard McDonald, an attorney and vice chair of the task force.

Bill Moves Forward to Create Independent Redistricting Commission in San Diego County
California County News
In 2022, district lines in San Diego County could be drawn by an independent commission, thereby following a model adopted by California voters for the whole state when it comes to political boundary lines. This proposal, backed by the Board of Supervisors, has cleared its first hurdle in the Legislature, as the Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee gave its approval to SB 1331. But the proposal still has a long ways to go until it becomes official, as the Tribune reports: “Change would not come quickly. First, the measure has to be signed into law. Then voters would have to approve the change in the county’s charter. Supervisors have time to accomplish the mission, however. Redistricting rolls around only once every 10 years after the U.S. Census Bureau reports demographic changes.”

San Fran’s JA and African American Communities Collaborate in Redistricting Process
Pacific Citizen
Nationwide debates about the redistricting process have been heating up as communities fight to maintain their district boundaries, but in San Francisco two neighboring communities collaborated to voice their concerns. The Japanese American and African American communities in San Francisco spoke out when the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force released Jan. 4 the first draft district boundaries for the city, which separated Japantown from the Fillmore Western Addition. The redistricting process happens every ten years, following the completion of the census. Nine members make up the task force that will redraw San Francisco’s 11 supervisor districts. The elections commission, supervisors and the mayor each appoint three members to the task force.

Rick Orlov's Tipoff: City attorney race would be wide open in 2013
Daily News Los Angeles
Polls? We got polls. For one, look at the 2013 city attorney's race. Loyola Marymount's Center for the Study of Los Angeles recently asked voters about the race, in a poll that assumes incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is elected as the next district attorney this year. (Of course, his five opponents might take issue with that assumption.) Without Trutanich, the race is wide open and a statistical dead heat among Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, who has formed a fundraising committee, and two councilmen, Paul Krekorian and Jose Huizar, who are rumored to be candidates.

College of the Redwoods offers insight on local elections; course offers political theory as well as campaigning
College of the Redwoods political science professor Ryan Emenaker wants to impress upon his students that in local elections, every vote does indeed count. ”I think that the elections that matter most in our lives and the ones that we can affect the most tend to be local elections,” he said. “The Congressional election, board of supervisors, city council and school boards -- you're talking about elections that affect people's lives most.” In his political science class offered this fall, “Campaigns and Elections,” Emenaker hopes to teach students about the role elections play in democracy and how they can get involved in local politics. The course is similar to others often offered during a presidential election year.

Templeton resident appealing redistricting ruling
Cal Coast News
A Templeton resident who lost a lawsuit last month which argued the recently redrawn political boundaries failed to follow government code is filing an appeal with the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Ventura. William Pelfrey said he filed his original suit because he believes the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors failed to follow government regulations regarding redistricting and instead drew supervisory boundaries in an attempt to improve several board members chances at reelection. Pelfrey contends communities should be kept as united as possible and questions the supervisors’ vote to break Templeton into two districts and the city of San Luis Obispo into three districts.

City Council Approves Final Redistricting Map for LAUSD
Eagle Rock Patch
The Los Angeles City Council approved a final Redistricting map for the Los Angeles Unified School District Wednesday, retaining the current configurations of District 5 in keeping with what Board of Education Member Bennett Kayser had been pushing for. “Attorneys for the City of Los Angeles and the Chief Legislative Analyst stepped in and sought to make corrective changes to a tremendously flawed map,” Sarah Bradshaw, Kayser’s chief of staff, told Patch in an e-mail communiqué. “It’s done, it’s done!” Bradshaw quoted Kayser as saying in response to the process that essentially returned to him the same district from which he won an election to the LAUSD board nine months ago, representing a vast area that includes Northeast L.A. and East L.A.

Look Ma, No Fins
Asian Week
The Saint of Sharks still swims thanks to last year’s district lines. However, Assemblyman Paul Fong, chair of the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting could only watch last year as a reform-minded redistricting committee redrew California’s political boundaries. “I had nothing to do with redistricting at all, except that I monitored them,” said Fong at an April SF Chinatown meeting. “I am the only Asian American who lost an Asian American district”… EXCLUSION ACT OF 2011: His revamped 28th Assembly District, where he’s seeking re-election June 5, has collapsed from a 44% Asian Pacific American district (former District 22) to 19% APA according to Fong.

L.A. City Council approves new school district maps
The Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved new maps for school board seats that closely resemble the current seven districts. Overall, the maps will keep together more neighborhood elementary and middle schools and the high schools they feed into. In District 5, school board member Bennett Kayser will have more familiar territory to represent, while in District 2, school board President Monica Garcia will add Garfield High to her boundaries. The maps determine the voting areas for the sprawling Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest. They also establish which board member a student, parent or district employee would seek out about an issue at a particular school. Boundaries must be adjusted, as needed, every 10 years to account for population shifts.


Navigating new state legislative districts
Sonoma News
When you enter the voting booth on June 5, you might be in for a surprise. Jared Huffman may be your State Assemblymember now, but he won’t be listed as a candidate for Congress if you live in Sonoma Valley. And if you thought Noreen Evans was your State Senator, think again. Most (but not all) of the City of Sonoma will have only one name on the list of Senate candidates – even in this time of open primaries – and it won’t be Evans. The changes are the result of redistricting, which takes effect for the first time with the June 5 primary. In 2008, voters approved a ballot measure that called for the formation of a California Citizens Redistricting Commission. This group of five Republicans, five Democrats, and four at-large members was seated in 2010.

Election 2012: Not much competition
Santa Cruz Sentinel
The June 5 California primary election ballot for voters in Santa Cruz County features a number of mostly uncompetitive legislative races. The format, however, is slightly different in 2012. For one thing, redistricting has changed the boundaries of some legislative districts. In addition, the state primary introduces top-two voting -- meaning that regardless of party affiliation, the top two vote getters in this open primary will face off in November's general election. Here are our recommendations two for each race where applicable, followed by a more complete list including previous endorsements…

Hernandez faces two challengers for 48th District Assembly race
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Two challengers are hoping for a chance to unseat incumbent Roger Hernandez, a Democrat who is running for re-election as a representative for the state's 48th Assembly District. Hernandez previously represented the 57th District, before the 48th District was created under redistricting. Running against Hernandez is Republican Joe Gardner, a 57-year-old West Covina resident, and Covina resident Mike Meza, 60, who is running with no party affiliation. The 48th District, which has a population of about 460,000, covers Duarte, Azusa, Glendora, Covina, West Covina, Baldwin Park, Irwindale, part of El Monte, and the unincorporated communities Charter Oak, Bassett and Valinda.

Two local Democrats seek to replace Jeff Gorell in state Assembly
Thousand Oaks Acorn
Assemblymember Jeff Gorell (R-Westlake Village) will face two challengers in the race for the new 44th District. The Navy reservist returned to California on March 26 after a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where he served as a military intelligence officer supporting U.S. Marines. He was called to serve in 2009 just days before being elected to a two-year Assembly term representing the old 37th district. While he was away, the Citizens Redistricting Commission redrew district boundaries to include Camarillo, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and a small part of Simi Valley, as well as Westlake Village in Los Angeles County.

Candidates jockey for diverse 72nd Assembly district
The Orange County Register
With no incumbent on hand, the newly redrawn 72nd Assembly District race features five candidates vying for votes from communities as diverse from each other as Little Saigon is to Seal Beach. One of the candidates, Troy Edgar, has the biggest war chest and the longest list of better known Republican endorsements in a district where Republicans account for 43 percent of the vote. Edgar, a businessman and mayor of Los Alamitos, faces off against Long Pham, a nuclear engineer who sits on the Orange County Board of Education, and Travis Allen, a Huntington Beach financial planner who owns his own consulting company. All three Republicans oppose the governor's plan to raise taxes. All talk about keeping jobs and businesses in the state.

25th Congressional race is new for Simi Valley
Ventura County Star
Simi Valley, home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, hasn't had a new congressional representative since Reagan was president. That will change after this year's elections, with the retirement of Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, and the shift of most of the city into a new district that's represented by its own longtime incumbent. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, 73, R-Santa Clarita, is running for his 11th term in the House of Representatives in the 25th Congressional District. In the June 5 primary, he'll face one Democrat — Dr. Lee Rogers, 34, of Simi Valley — and two Republicans, Cathie Wright, 47, of Simi Valley and Dante Acosta, 49, of Santa Clarita.

Congressional Allies Turned Enemies In Redistricting
Due to redistricting, veteran Democratic Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman have been thrown into a high-stakes primary contest in the same Southern California Congressional district. And because of California's top-two primary system, Berman and Sherman are likely to face one another again in the fall. Longtime Democratic Congressmen Howard Berman and Brad Sherman used to be political pals. They represented adjacent districts in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley. Well, then came redistricting. Now, the onetime allies are opponents in the newly drawn 30th Congressional District. As California's June primary approaches, NPR's Ina Jaffe reports that the Berman-Sherman battle has become one of the most hotly contested and closely watched races in the nation.

Candidate would be Los Angeles' first Asian-American councilman in 20 years
The general manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment filed papers today to run for the Los Angeles City Council’s Thirteenth District, where a victory would make him the first Asian-American councilman in 20 years. BongHwan Kim joins a crowded field in a district that includes parts of Hollywood, Silver Lake, Filipinotown and Thai Town. Kim, who lives in Glassell Park, will have to move into the district as the redistricting process kicked the neighborhood out of CD13. The redistricting process also saw the Korean-American community become actively engaged in discussions about building an Asian-American coalition and protecting the Koreatown community.

Crowded field in North Coast congressional race
Press Democrat
In the North Coast’s congressional race, it all comes down to second place. The June 5 primary election will narrow the field of 12 candidates down to two finalists, who will compete in November for the $174,000-a-year job awarded by about 400,000 registered voters from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael is considered the favorite based on his $865,000 in campaign funding, 800-plus endorsements and name recognition after six years in the Legislature, securing approval of more than 60 bills. A feisty competition for second place pits Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams, businesswoman and political newcomer Stacey Lawson and activist/author Norman Solomon.

Candidates face new landscape in Calif primary
Daily Democrat
While California did not play a role in deciding the Republican presidential nominating contest, the state's June 5 primary features plenty of other intrigue. Voters will confront a new top-two primary system, and legislative and congressional candidates will square off in new districts drawn for the first time by an independent panel of citizens. Both changes are designed to lessen the influence of the two major political parties and favor moderate candidates in a state where the number of voters who choose to be unaffiliated with any political party is rapidly rising.

Five candidates for 20th Assembly District seat offer different viewpoints
Contra Costa Times
Five candidates -- including four already in local elected offices and running the gamut from liberal Democrat to nonpartisan independent to conservative Republican -- are running for an East Bay Assembly seat left open by term limits and redistricting. Vying for the 20th Assembly District seat are Hayward City Councilman Bill Quirk, a Democrat; Dr. Jennifer Ong, a Hayward Democrat who runs an Alameda optometry practice; Sarabjit Cheema, a Union City Democrat and state transportation engineer who sits on the New Haven Unified School District board; Luis Reynoso, a Republican who sits on the Hayward Unified School District Board; and Union City Mayor Mark Green, who's running as an independent.

No factor in GOP race, but California primary is still huge
The Reporter
While California did not play a role in deciding the Republican presidential nominating contest, the state's June 5 primary features plenty of other intrigue. Voters will confront a new top-two primary system, and legislative and congressional candidates will square off in new districts drawn for the first time by an independent panel of citizens. Both changes are designed to lessen the influence of the two major political parties and favor moderate candidates in a state where the number of voters who choose to be unaffiliated with any political party is rapidly rising. The new political districts and primary system have infused many races with energy and uncertainty, as some candidates were forced to search for new districts or compete for different voters. A handful of contests could result in same-party runoffs in November.

In California, new maps, primary system shape races
Daily Democrat
Independently drawn political boundaries and a new way of electing lawmakers are expected to change the face of the California Legislature and could bring Democrats total control of the state Senate. The process begins with the June 5 primary, when California's top-two primary system gets its first widespread use. Under the system approved by voters in 2010, only the top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election, even if they are from the same political party. That is expected to force nearly two dozen same-party candidates to compete against each other in the fall campaign. The new primary system and legislative maps drawn for the first time by an independent citizens redistricting commission are changing the political calculus for recruiting candidates and running campaigns, particularly for the state Senate.

New 70th Assembly District race keeps same faces as before
Contra Costa Times
The more things change, the more they stay the same, apparently, when it comes to Long Beach's Assembly district. The work of the state redistricting commission has changed the ordinal designation, from 54th to 70th, excising the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The 70th District now includes Long Beach, Signal Hill, the Los Angeles community of San Pedro and Catalina Island. Despite those differences, when June primary voters open their ballot, they'll find the same candidates as they did two years ago - Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, and Republican Martha Flores-Gibson. Because Lowenthal and Flores-Gibson are the only contenders, next month's election is perfunctory. Under the top-two primary laws, the first two finishers, regardless of party, advance to the November general election.

Big money could change Assembly race outcome
The Orange County Register
Just when it looked like Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle might get squeezed out of the 74th Assembly District race, a moderate Republican laden with money bags has appeared on the horizon. Daigle is running against incumbent and fellow Republican Allan Mansoor, an anti-illegal immigrant activist running to her right, and Democrat Robert Rush, running to her left. She would be the favorite to beat Rush in a one-on-one race and could be a formidable opponent for Mansoor in a head-to-head matchup. But despite a new top-two open primary system, it has looked increasingly possible that she could find herself left behind in the three-way race, with Mansoor and Rush advancing to November. That means a boost from wealthy Republican activist Charles Munger, Jr. – whose father is a vice president at Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathway investment firm – could be a game changer.

Linda Parks for 26th Congressional District
The Los Angeles Times
California's redistricting reforms of 2008 and 2010 took crucial boundary drawing power away from political parties and gave it to an independent commission. The "top two" initiative of 2010 snatched the primaries away from the parties by awarding the November runoff spots to whichever candidates finished first and second in each primary race, regardless of political affiliation. Those combined reforms, at play for the first time in the June 5 primary, have created districts in which incumbents vie against each other for voter support, as Southern Californians are seeing in the 30th Congressional District matchup featuring longtime House veterans Howard Berman and Brad Sherman and in the 44th District race that pits three-term Congresswoman Laura Richardson against first-termer Janice Hahn — or, in the case of the new 26th District that covers most of Ventura County, a wide-open seat with no incumbent at all.

Ballots are now in the mail
Daily Democrat
California's 2012 primary election has begun: Ballots for the June 5 election were mailed Monday, as early voting sites open. Voters will choose their presidential nominees, though Mitt Romney has all but wrapped up the GOP nomination. And they'll also face choices for a U.S. Senate seat -- incumbent Dianne Feinstein and 23 challengers are listed on the ballot -- and all of California's 53 House districts. That's where things get interesting: This is the Golden State's first full go-round with its new "top-two" primary system, in which voters of all parties can cast ballots for candidates of any party. The top two vote-getters advance to November's general election, regardless of party. So in some districts with lopsided party registration, you might see two Democrats on November's ballot, in others two Republicans.

From L.A.'s new political maps, an interesting congressional race
The Los Angeles Times
In the race for the new 44th Congressional District, two Democrat incumbents are pitted against each other. Rep Janice Hahn, who currently represents the 36th District, is running against Rep. Laura Richardson, who represents the 37th District. The race is worth following not just because it’s a smack-down between two Democrats but also because it’s one of several congressional seats drawn specifically to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. What does that mean?

McCarthy's redrawn district should not hurt him
The Fresno Bee
Redistricting has pushed Rep. Kevin McCarthy's congressional district into the eastern reaches of Tulare County, including Porterville. But the new boundaries are unlikely to give the Bakersfield Republican much of a worry. Party registration in the new 23rd Congressional District, which extends from Tulare County to a corner of Los Angeles County, is heavily Republican, and the three-term Congressman has never faced a serious challenge for his seat. Still, two candidates have stepped up to give it a try. They are Terry Phillips, 59, a journalist and media consultant from Bakersfield, who is registered as "no party preference"; and Eric Parker, 44, of Mojave, an auto parts store manager, who is running as a Republican, but calls himself a "freedomist."

Two challenge Gorell for Assembly seat
Camarillo Acorn
Assemblymember Jeff Gorell (R-Westlake Village) will face two challengers in the race for the new 44th District. The Navy reservist returned to California on March 26 after a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where he served as a military intelligence officer supporting U.S. Marines. He was called to serve in 2009 just days before being elected to a two-year Assembly term representing the old 37th district. While he was away, the Citizens Redistricting Commission redrew district boundaries to include Camarillo, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and a small part of Simi Valley, as well as Westlake Village in Los Angeles County.

Primary To Take Place June 5
Martinez News-Gazette
California's 2012 primary election is scheduled for June 5, and local voters will be asked to narrow down the list of candidate choices to appear on the November ballot in a handful of state and federal races. Voters will also decide the fate of two state propositions. The upcoming election will feature the statewide debut of the California Top Two Primaries Act – or Proposition 14 – a 2010 voter-approved constitutional amendment that changed the primary system. Prop. 14 mandates that all candidates run for office in a single primary election, with the two candidates who rec­eive the most votes continuing on to the November general election. The primary is open to all registered voters, regardless of their or the candidates' declared party affiliation.

Endorsement: Dutton for 31st Congressional District
The Sun
State Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, is our choice to represent the new 31st Congressional District that stretches from Upland to Redlands. In light of California's new primary election system in place for the June 5 balloting, it makes sense to identify the runner-up choice of our editorial board, Mayor Pete Aguilar of Redlands. Under that new top-two primary system, the two candidates who get the most votes on June5 - regardless of party - advance to the November election. Four Democrats and two Republicans are running for the seat in this new district, drawn by the state Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Rep. Pete Stark faces threat to long career
The San Francisco Chronicle
It was a revealing moment for California Rep. Pete Stark, the irascible East Bay liberal who has forged a reputation as a firebrand during four decades in Congress. The 80-year-old Democrat, in a meeting with Chronicle editors and reporters this week, appeared to be confused about Solyndra, the Fremont solar power company whose collapse has fueled Republican criticism of the Obama administration's energy policies this election year. "I wish I had enough expense allowance to get one of those new S's that Solyndra's going to make down there - the electric car," Stark said, after being asked about the company. "They run $60,000 to $90,000."

It's a battle in the Valley for Berman, Sherman
Ventura County Star
With the Democratic Party refusing to endorse a candidate and polls suggesting that no Democrat will come in second in the 26th Congressional District primary in Ventura County, I thought I might pay attention to the fireworks detonating in the 30th congressional district these days. Representatives Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, and Howard Berman, D-Valley Village, — two veteran congressmen dumped into the same district by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission — are locked into a super-spending shootout for the San Fernando Valley seat. When Brad Sherman, who sports an Adlai Stevenson hairline, used to campaign, he gave away plastic combs imprinted with the words, "You need this more than I do."

Herger’s hot seat
Rep. Wally Herger’s Jan. 10 announcement that he would not seek re-election to Congress, where he’s served since 1978, has resulted in eight candidates filing to run for what is now, following redistricting, the 1st District seat. Seven of those candidates took part in a question-and-answer forum on Monday (May 7) in the Chico City Council chambers hosted by the League of Women Voters. Under California’s new “top-two” primary system, the two top vote-getters in the June 5 election, regardless of party, will advance to the general election in November. The chambers were packed, and the candidates offered some political fireworks that elicited cheers, laughs and, at times, groans from the audience.

Firefighter one of three vying for Senate seat
Camarillo Acorn
State Senate candidate Jason Hodge, a firefighter with the Ventura County Fire Department, is one of three candidates running for the 19th Senate District seat, one of 20 in the state up for reelection in November. Hodge, a Demorcrat, will square off against former state Assemblymember Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, and Republican Mike Stoker, a former Santa Barbara County supervisor. The district, currently represented by state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Simi Valley), who is running for Congress, now leans Democratic by about 12 points following statewide redistricting prompted by the 2010 census. The district extends from Santa Maria to Camarillo.

Competition heats up in race for new state Senate district
Palo Alto Online
To the average Peninsula voter, Brisbane and Sunnyvale have little in common. The former is a small, industrial suburb on San Francisco's doorstep, the latter a high-tech hub in the heart of Silicon Valley. But to state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, the two municipalities are facing many of the same issues, including concerns over Caltrain's survival, open-space preservation, high-tech jobs and airport noise. Hill, a two-term Assemblyman whose 19th District includes most of San Mateo County (including Brisbane), this June finds himself in a four-way race to replace state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, in the newly redrawn District 13.

Three challenge Rich Gordon in Assembly race
Palo Alto Online
As Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, asks District 24 residents to return him to the state Assembly for another two years, three challengers with no experience in elective politics are telling voters they can do a better job representing their interests in Sacramento. It's a near certainty that Gordon, a first-term incumbent assemblyman and former three-term San Mateo County supervisor with wide name recognition, will be the top vote-getter in the June primary. But even so, under California's open primary rules, one of the three challengers will also win a spot on the November ballot. On the June 5 ballot in addition to Gordon are Chengzhi "George" Yang, 35, of Menlo Park, a Republican and a software engineer; Joseph Antonelli Rosas, 22, of Sunnyvale, a network-security adviser who has no party affiliation; and Geby Espinosa, 47, of Mountain View, a Democrat and a small business owner.

4 candidates seek to unseat Rep. Loretta Sanchez
The Orange County Register
Four candidates will challenge Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the 46th Congressional District primary election June 5. They are John J. Cullum, a Republican; Pat Garcia, a Republican; Jerry Hayden, a Republican; and Jorge Rocha, who indicated no party preference. Sanchez represents the 47th District, which spans Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove and Fullerton. The new 46th includes western and central portions of Orange County, including portions of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove and Orange. Under the open primary system approved by voters in 2010, any voter can vote for any candidate regardless of party affiliation, and the top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election.

Be prepared for quirky primary
The Press-Enterprise
Think you’ve got California’s quirky, new “top-two primary” figured out? You can vote for any candidate of any party in any race, right? Not quite. There are a few nuances that might surprise you. The June 5 primary is the first major election to be conducted under the new rules. Starting at the top, if you think you’re going to be able to vote for whichever presidential candidate you please, you’ll be disappointed. Only Republicans will be able to vote for Mitt Romney, Ron Paul or one of the other GOP candidates. Democrats can vote for Barack Obama. But no-party-preference voters (formerly known as decline-to-state) also will be able to vote on Democratic ballots. They’ll have to ask for them, or they’ll receive ballots with no presidential candidate.

Congressional veteran Henry Waxman faces slate of newcomers in South Bay's realigned 33rd District
The Daily Breeze
Rep. Henry Waxman, a veteran of 19 terms in Congress but a fresh face in the South Bay this year, faces light competition against a field of seven relatively unknown candidates in the June 5 primary. The diverse set of contenders are jockeying are for the coveted opportunity for a one-on-one battle with the veteran Westside congressman in November. Waxman faces challenges from fellow Democrats Bruce Margolin, Zein Obagi and Tim Pape; Republican Christopher David; Green Party candidate David Steinman, Libertarian Steve Collett; and independent candidate Bill Bloomfield. The top two vote-getters in the so-called jungle primary - regardless of party - will move on to the general election.

A Watershed Primary Approaching for California
Ventura County Star
No, the Republican presidential primary to be held in California June 5 will not have particular importance, with Mitt Romney all but crowned the Republican nominee against Democratic President Barack Obama. But that takes nothing away from the watershed nature of the upcoming vote, one of those events that marks the opening of an era. Here are some things that will happen for sure: The primary will create many November runoffs pitting two Democrats or two Republicans for seats in Congress or the Legislature. From now on, it won't necessarily be a requirement to declare loyalty to any particular political party to achieve at least a modicum of electoral success. The results will demonstrate more clearly than ever that the California Republican Party is a weak shell of its former self, as there will be many districts with no GOP runoff entrant.

Candidates in 32nd Assembly race share views on key issues
The Bakersfield Californian
The 32nd Assembly race is one of the more competitive in the Central Valley this year, with four contenders vying to represent an area that will cover all of Kings and parts of Kern counties. The Californian asked the candidates about a range of issues, from the state's high-speed rail plans to health care in the Central Valley, to give voters an idea of where they stand. The candidates for the 32nd Assembly seat include Jon McQuiston, a 21-year Navy veteran who's retiring as a Kern County supervisor after 16 years on the board.