California accounts for a significant number of the districts identified today by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as the first slate of its “Red to Blue” program, targeted for its “Drive for 25” campaign to win back the House.
The program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support, not unlike the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” program
The DCCC identified 18 races nationwide – including three in California – that have surpassed certain fundraising, organization and infrastructure goals “with candidates that demonstrate they are problem solvers who will represent new priorities when elected to Congress,” according to a news release.
Those California candidates are Dr. Ami Bera of Elk Grove, who’s going for a rematch against Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District; former astronaut Jose Hernandez of Stockton, who wants to take on Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, in the newly drawn 10th Congressional District; and Mark Takano of Riverside, who’s running against Republican John Tavaglione, a Riverside County supervisor, in the newly drawn and incumbent-less 41st Congressional District.
Another four California districts – the 26th, 31st, 47th and 52nd – made the DCCC’s list of 18 Red to Blue Districts in which there’s more than Democratic candidate vying in the primary. The only Republican incumbent in any of those is Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-San Diego, in the 52nd; Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, recently announced he won’t seek re-election in the 26th, and redistricting left the other two without incumbents.
And the DCCC named Raul Ruiz, who’s running in the 36th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, as one of its six “emerging races” that are becoming increasingly competitive.
“These candidates are going to be aggressively holding Republicans accountable for consistently choosing millionaires over Medicare, oil companies subsides over middle class tax cuts and ideology over solutions,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said in the news release. “In 2012, House Republican candidates are going to have to defend the indefensible. Allyson Schwartz, Jared Polis, and Donna Edwards know what it takes to win and will provide top notch leadership to our candidates.”