SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS RADIO) – With less than two weeks before Election Day, control over the House of Representatives may lie in the hands of a half dozen battleground seats in California.
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"When you think about the battle for control of Congress, a lot of people don’t think California," political sociologist Mindy Romero, Director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy at the USC Price School of Public Policy, told KCBS Radio. "But really, we've got about 10 or so somewhat competitive seats out of the 84 competitive seats, we have about half a dozen that are quite competitive, so the battle for control of Congress is right through California, specifically the Central Valley."
Veteran California Republican campaign consultant Mike Madrid, who co-founded the Lincoln Project, said he believes it will be clear what party will win the House before California is counted due to the state’s month-long tally time. "There are probably about five or six truly competitive seats in California that will be determinative, that could go one way or the other. The margin is going to be bigger than five or six for whatever party takes control, so my strong sense is it won’t be a red or blue wave either way," he explained.
Of California's battleground races, Carla Marinucci, longtime political writer formerly with Politico and the San Francisco Chronicle, said she has her eye on David Valadao — the only Republican in California who voted in favor of Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment. Valadao is up against Democrat Rudy Salas. Mike Garcia (R) and Christy Smith (D) also topped her list along with John Duarte (R) and Adam Gray (D), and Scott Baugh (R) versus Katie Porter (D).
"I think people will be biting their nails," Marinucci said. "(Porter) is one of the most popular Democrats here in California and a huge fund-raiser, but Scott Baugh has been a stalwart down there in Orange County among the Republican party. Those are just some of the dramas that we're going to be watching."
In 2020, Republicans captured four Democratic-held congressional districts in California. This year, they hope to overturn more, Marinucci said.