Sabato's Crystal Ball

California (03) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Amerish Bera, physician

Republican candidate: Dan Lungren, incument

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: August 3, 2010

Republican incumbent Dan Lungren hopes to prevail against Democratic challenger Ami Bera, a physician, and win a 9th term. But Bera is proving to be a tough opponent with his fundraising prowess and attempts to claim that Lungren is serving his own political interests rather than those of constituents. Interestingly, Bera has outraised Lungren with over $1,100,000 in the bank while Lungren trails behind with slightly over $800,000. In a year when incumbents are vulnerable, Lungren is hanging on for his political life. This race Leans Republican.

Background:

Republican incumbent Dan Lungren is fighting for another term to continue a Republican win streak in the District that dates back to 1998. First elected in 2002, Lungren’s electoral support has slipped in recent years, going from 62 percent of the vote in 2002 to only 49.5 percent in 2008. However, relatively strong minor party turnouts still enabled Lungren to win by nearly 6 percent over 2008’s Democratic challenger, Dr. Bill Durston. Currently, Durston is making a third attempt to unseat Lungren, along with physician Amerish Bera , Sacramento Municipal Utility Director Bill Slaton, and Elk Grove city councilman Gary Davis. Perennial Libertarian candidate and potential game-changer, Douglas Tuma, has also tossed his hat into the ring.

The Sacramento suburbs strongly supported George W. Bush in each of his election runs, but in 2008 they permitted a narrow, half-percent win by Barack Obama. Tuma could play a pivotal role in keeping this election close if he can continue to draw 3-4 percent of voters away from Lungren, and perhaps capture more by exploiting the passion of today’s conservative movements. While it appears that Lungren’s support may be eroding, the Democratic opposition is going to need a booster shot from Dr. Durston to get over the malaise. This one Leans Republican.