Our Fifty State Tour brings us to the largest state in the nation and its grand electoral vote prize. California’s 55 EVs far outnumber every other state (Texas is 2nd with just 38). And its deep blue lean makes it a nice bankable stash for whomever wins the Democratic nomination each presidential cycle. The 2016 California presidential election will be no exception. No Republican has won here since George Bush won the presidency in 1988.
Coincidentally, that year also saw the last Republican to win a seat in the U.S. Senate from California, and even though this year’s California senate election features the first open seat contest since 1992, Democrats are highly favored to retain the seat. Outgoing Senator Barbara Boxer is retiring after four terms. Due to a special election, she and fellow Senator Dianne Feinstein were both first elected in 1992. In case you were wondering, Republican Pete Wilson won that 1988 senate election. He would serve just one term before winning the governorship of California in 1994.
With so many people and so many electoral votes, California congressional elections are plentiful as well each cycle. However, redistricting has made relatively few of them competitive. In 2016, I’ve identified three seats, one currently held by a Democrat, the other two by Republicans, which may be close. Democrat Ami Bera represents the very neutral 7th district, but he’s proven to be a skillful campaigner. The Central Valley features a heavily Hispanic 21st district where Republican David Valadao has benefited from poor voter turnout among the Latinos there. And just north of Los Angeles, Republican Steve Knight’s demographically changing 25th district might give him trouble this year as it becomes more Democratic.
Finally, if you’re keen on the elections in the Golden State, be sure to visit EP’s California elections page for a handy list of all the races. In addition, you’ll find there election results for president, U.S. Senate and House and California governor all the way back to 1980.