These California districts voted big for Biden, but Republicans are optimistic about their chances in 2018
Democrats are set to pick up eight Republican-held seats in California’s 2018 midterm election – and Democrats are optimistic they can make much bigger gains against Republicans than in 2014
With California’s midterm elections less than a year away, it was easy to forget the state’s historic political divide.
Now the political dynamics are suddenly front and center as Democrats look to pick up eight Republican-held seats in November’s midterm election cycle. The number was surprising enough, but what is even more notable is the electoral map of 2018 – not just in California, but across the country.
And to Democrats, it all suggests an increasingly confident path to taking back control of the Senate this fall. In the last two midterm elections, Democrats lost two Senate seats in California – both in the state’s most conservative regions – and it’s now in play for eight.
“In this year, we are looking at eight Republican seats in the next two races,” said Bill Carrick, a veteran Democratic strategist in Los Angeles. The districts include four open seats, and in one it is being vacated by a longtime Republican incumbent.
The Democrats will have their work cut out for them when it comes to running up the score this fall, but the outlook for California is hopeful. In last year’s election, the state gave Democrats just over 1 million more votes – and Republicans held on to three of nine congressional seats.
This time, California’s Republican Party has also found its footing in a state that President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016. In 2014, Democrats won every county in the state from San Diego to the border with Mexico. And while Republicans still hold large majorities in statewide elected offices, their control of the Legislature has collapsed, falling to just 25 of 100 seats.
The state’s GOP, like the nation’s, is experiencing demographic changes that have helped shape California’s new electorate.
While the California state electorate is still overwhelmingly white – 80 percent white – this year it will be more diverse. Nationally, about 40 percent of the electorate is now nonwhite – up from 27 percent in 2014 – and more