The seven congressional districts targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hardly qualify as low-hanging fruit. While Hillary Clinton won all of them, voters in these California districts have remained largely conservative in their overall voting behavior, according to an analysis prepared exclusively for POLITICO by Darry Sragow and Rob Pyers of the California Target Book, which handicaps races in the state.
“You have to remember something,” said Mike Madrid, a Republican consultant in California. “The Democrats were absolutely convinced that running against Trump down-ticket was going to create the biggest Democratic blue wave of all time, and it did not work at all … What we’re really seeing in America right now is incredibly intense, wired up Democratic base that’s lighting its hair on fire and driving the media narrative, but it’s not driving polling data, and you’re not seeing it in increased turnout in elections.”
Denham and his Republican peers may not be as vulnerable as the presidential numbers suggest. In five of the seven districts, voters opposed a school construction bond measure that passed statewide, and voters in every district went against a bid to repeal the death penalty. A prescription drug pricing initiative that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders championed last year failed by a wide margin in each of the districts, according to the California Target Book analysis.