Sabato's Crystal Ball

California (45) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Likely R

Democratic candidate: Stephen Pougnet, Mayor of Palm Springs

Republican candidate: Mary Bono Mack, incumbent

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: August 3, 2010

Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack was able to fend off a Tea Party challenge from Clayton Thibodeau and will be facing Democratic nominee Stephen Pougnet in the fall. In what appears to be her first serious challenge since 2002, Mack recently agreed to hold an August 19th debate with her opponent. Still, Mack has the advantage of having a strong fundraising effort so far, with over $1 million in the bank. This race remains Likely Republican.

Background:

Popular Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack is facing off against Democratic Mayor of Palm Springs, Stephen Pougnet. Mack has collected 58 percent of the vote or more in each of her last four elections, but her margins of victory have been gradually declining—in 2000 she won by 17 percent, a 4 percent drop from her tally in 2006 and a 16 percent drop from 2004. The recent trend has given some encouragement to Pougnet, but national Republicans are trying to reverse any downward trend by enlisting her in a financial support program. Pougnet enjoys bipartisan support in Palm Springs and has been a staunch advocate of alternative energy and gay rights, but Mack has yet to make a serious political error during her tenure in office. This one is Likely Republican.