Sabatos Crystal Ball

California Races

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California (04)

Outlook: Leans Republican


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Watch List” of the next 25 House races worth keeping an eye on.

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted,Rep. John Doolittle (R) won reelection over Charlie Brown (D) with 49% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Rep. John Doolittle (R) will win reelection over Charlie Brown (D). Doolittle’s ethical troubles have been the linchpin of Brown’s campaign in this very reliably Republican northern California district, but we don’t think the damage to Doolittle have been severe enough to cost him his seat this year.


Candidates

John Doolittle (I) – Republican – Total Raised: $ 2,131,619.55| Total Spent: $1,533,696.80
Website

Charles Brown – Democrat

Charles Brown – Democrat – Total Raised: $1,172,780.95 | Total Spent: $791,140.64
Website

California (11)

Outlook: Toss-up


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Ferocious FIFTY” list of the 50 most competitive House races in the nation.

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Jerry McNerney (D) unseated Rep. Richard Pombo (R) with 53% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Jerry McNerney (D) will unseat Rep. Richard Pombo (R). Our sources on the ground tell us that momentum is firmly in McNerney’s court and that late campaign help from Bill Clinton and scores of environmental groups is giving Resources Committee Chair Pombo a run for his money. Schwarzenegger’s get-out-the-vote operation may yet save Pombo, but we will go out on a limb and tap McNerney to win in an upset.

June 29, 2006 Update:

National Democrats had expected airline pilot Steve Filson to win the right to take on GOP Rep. Richard Pombo this fall, but instead, businessman Jerry McNerney, a favorite of liberal activists, swept the June 6th primary here handily. As is so often the case, the favorite of national insiders failed to gain in-district traction, and now the insiders will have to rally around the candidate they had snubbed at first.

Pombo can breathe a little bit easier now that he faces a decidedly liberal and poorly-funded opponent: McNerney’s largest support has come from fundamentally left groups such as MoveOn, and Pombo closed out the first quarter with over 12 times McNerney’s cash on hand. Still, Pombo’s biggest threat will likely not come directly from McNerney but rather will come in the form of a blistering independent expenditure campaign led by a cadre of environmental interest groups such as the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. These groups have loathed Pombo’s tenure as chair of the House Resources committee, and will spend freely to keep this district competitive. When all is said and done, we expect that more voters here will be voting AGAINST Pombo rather than FOR McNerney.


February 2006 Outlook:

Seven-term GOP Rep. Richard Pombo has carried this Stockton-based district easily for over a decade, but of late Democrats have accused him of ethics lapses and want very badly to target this seat in 2006. Although Pombo should easily dispatch liberal, anti-war Republican primary opponent former Rep. Pete McCloskey, his chief opposition for an eighth term is likely to be a Democrat: either former Top Gun Steve Filson, who has had the inside track to Washington support, or businessman Jerry McNerney, who has amassed considerable labor and grassroots backing in the district. Though a draining Democratic primary is possible, both Filson and McNerney would surely seek to take Pombo to task for alleged taxpayer-funded family vacations to national parks. Still, Pombo holds a huge fundraising advantage and will have all the resources he needs to rebut Democratic charges of impropriety.

Candidates

Richard Pombo (I) – Republican – Total Raised: $3,470,598.12 | Total Spent: $2,585,840.10
Website

Jerry McNerney – Democrat – Total Raised: $1,571,661.46 | Total Spent: $1,257,664.51
Website

California (26)

Outlook: Likely Republican


November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Rep. David Dreier (R) won reelection over Cynthia Matthews(D) with 57% of the vote.


Candidates

David Dreier (I) – Republican – Total Raised: $930,955.00 | Total Spent: $379,319.95

Cynthia Matthews – Democrat – Total Raised: $22,246.54 | Total Spent: $16,189.03

California (50) (Open Seat)

Outlook: Leans Republican


This race is part of the Crystal Ball’s “Watch List” of the next 25 House races worth keeping an eye on.

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) won reelection over Francine Busby (D) with 54% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) will win reelection over Francine Busby (D). Is it possible that Busby could win this match-up against Bilbray the one time out of three she wasn’t really even trying? We doubt it, but the year is bad enough for the GOP to continue to keep an eye on the results here.

July 13, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Republican Brian Bilbray prevailed in the June 6th runoff, and Democratic contender Fran
cine Busby
has indicated she will run a lower-key campaign headed into November. If she couldn’t claim victory after running full speed ahead this summer, it’s difficult to see how she’ll be able to win running a half-hearted race in the fall.


March 2006 Background:

Unfavorable media attention rocked this suburban San Diego area district late last year when it was revealed that ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham had bought a new home $900,000 under market value and had accepted other grossly improper gifts from now-disgraced MZM head Mitchell Wade in exchange for delivering key contracts through a defense appropriations subcommittee. Following Cunningham’s surprise acknowledgment and emotional resignation from Congress, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for an April 11th open primary and June 6th runoff, if necessary.

Unlike the special election held last year in the 48th District to the north in which the Republican field was fairly cut and dry, the special to be held in this similarly GOP-leaning district will feature a Republican free-for-all. Likely top party finishers on April 11th include State Sen. Bill Morrow, former neighboring Congressman Brian Bilbray, and former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian.

Democrats locally and in Washington are hoping that their chances here will be aided by the sour taste Cunningham left in many voters’ mouths, and have coalesced around Francine Busby, a local college professor who took only 36 percent of the vote against the incumbent in 2004. Already, however, she has raised significantly more money than she spent all of last cycle, and she is sure to receive plenty of Democratic establishment help this time around, with all eyes on southern California. Special elections are apt to produce surprises every once in a while, but for now the eventual GOP nominee is favored in the June 6th runoff.

Candidates

Francine Busby – Democrat – Total Raised: $ 3,370,417.24| Total Spent: $3,076,287.00
Website

Brian Bilbray – Republican – Total Raised: $ 2,026,069.71| Total Spent: $2,104,615.77
Website