A look at California CD4

On October 16, 2007, in General, by Neil Stevens
California CD4

It’s not often that California has a race for conservative Republicans to get excited about, not when the statewide elections are dominated by Democrats in LA County and the SF Bay Area, and local elections are boring thanks to the lockdown gerrymander in place here.

But with Eric Egland stepping up fundraising for his challenge to Rep. John Doolittle in the Republican primary, we now have a race to watch. So here’s a look at California’s District Four, as background information to tell us what we call can expect from this part of the state.

Geographically, District four is a large district in the far northeast corner of the state. It is a relatively un-gerrymandered district, containing all of Modoc, Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, and El Dorado counties, as well as as portions of Butte and Sacramento counties. This is mostly undeveloped country, looking far more like Oregon or Nevada than anything most are used to seeing in California. It borders Reno and Lake Tahoe in Nevada, and some national forests in Oregon.

Here are some vote percentages for this district that speak volumes:

House 2006John Doolittle 49.1%Charlie Brown 45.9%Dan Warren 5.0%
Governor 2006Arnold Schwarzenegger 72.2%Phil Angelides 22.8%Art Olivier 1.1%Peter Camejo 2.6%
Senator 2006Dick Mountjoy 50.2%Dianne Feinstein 44.3%Michael S. Metti 1.9%Todd Chretien 1.4%
House 2004John Doolittle 65.4%David I. Winters 34.6%
President 2004George W. Bush 61.3%John Kerry 37.4%Michael Badnarik 0.4%David Cobb 0.3%
Senate 2004Bill Jones 55.6%Barbara Boxer 40.1%Jim Gray 1.7%Don Grundmann 0.7%
House 2002John Doolittle 64.8%Mark Norbert 31.9%Allen Roberts 3.2%
Governor 2002Bill Simon 58.5%Gray Davis 30.6%Gary Copeland 2.1%Peter Camejo 5.6%

Yes, those third parties are capable of making a difference in this district, as seen by the defections from Doolittle versus other Republicans. That’s in part because the district contains part of the not-so-sovereign State of Jefferson, a long time home of libertarian activism.

However as seen by other races, especially in 2004, this district is capable of coming together when it is motivated for the right Republican.

In addition, that cuts both ways. Democrat Charlie Brown also has to watch his back for Libertarian Dan Warren if he runs again, because Warren runs as sort of a fusion Green/California Libertarian: anti-war, anti-illegal immigration, anti-tax, anti-global warming, pro-public financing of elections, all while quoting Ronald Reagan at every opportunity.

But Doolittle’s support is fading, that much is clear, even as support for other Republicans remains. Of all the races above, only Doolittle in 2006 failed to crack 50%, and Charlie Brown in that year was the only Democrat to get within 5 points of the Republican (in a district Doolittle previously won by 33 and 31 points, Schwarzenegger and Simon won by 50 and 28 points, and Bush took by 24 points.

This is Republican country, but it’s not Doolittle country anymore. In a Presidential year, in this district, we should get our pick of Republicans, and that’s why California Republicans need Eric Egland to be our standard bearer in this district come next November, or we risk losing a seat that’s ours by all rights.


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