New California congressional map promises new battlegrounds


Running for statewide office in California is a pricy proposition, as we saw just last year as deep-pocketed Republican candidates poured millions of dollars into the media in unsuccessful bids for governor and US senator. Next year, thanks to redistricting, congressional races could become very hot.

Redrawing districts is standard operating procedure the year after a census in most states, with the party in power in the state capital holding the cards and drawing lines favorable to its own congressional delegation and hostile to incumbents from the other party.

However, according to a report in The Hill, the California project is based on a voter referendum designed to eliminate gerrymandering that has gone on before.

The result is to inject a great deal of uncertainty into the 2012 elections, although the new boundaries are expected to benefit Democrats. An early guess projects a possible pick-up of from one to three seats.

The Hill suggests that the most endangered incumbents are Democratics Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson. On the Republican side, David Dreier, Elton Gallegly and Ed Royce are expected to face challenges.

In some cases, particularly those of Berman and Royce, the incumbents’ districts have all but disappeared. In many other instances, at the very least incumbents will need to introduce themselves to new constituents they have never before represented.

RBR-TVBR observation: Survival battles mean advertising, which in turn means another good year for broadcasters. However, in California’s case, it will be very hard to match the amount of cash injected into the media economy by Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina the last time an election was held, even in a presidential year.