Michael Barone

Republicans won the top two spots in an eastern Los Angeles basin district that looked very marginal. They also won more votes than Democrats in a Long Beach and Orange County district staked out by a Democratic state senator.

That gives Republicans one guaranteed seat and one clear shot that Democrats hadn't counted on. And the primary returns suggest they'll do better -- and may nearly sweep -- the new districts in the Central Valley.

In a 70 percent Hispanic district west of Fresno, the single Republican won 57 percent of the vote. In the Merced-based district to the north, a Democratic incumbent won only 41 percent and several Republicans split 49 percent.

In one northern district, around Modesto, Republicans led in popular votes 48 to 34 percent, with the rest for the son of former Democratic Rep. Gary Condit. In the next district, around headed-for-bankruptcy Stockton, Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney got only 48 percent and two Republicans 52 percent.

And in the Sacramento suburbs, Republican incumbent Dan Lungren, a perennial Democratic target, led the sole Democrat 53 to 41 percent.

The Central Valley was once prime Democratic territory. I remember visiting the law office of a Democratic honcho in Modesto who had autographed pictures of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy.

But the Valley, the richest agricultural area in the world, has had half or more of its water cut off by environmentalists intent on protecting the 3-inch delta smelt in the Sacramento River Delta. Cutting off people's livelihood for a minnow is not popular.

The numbers tell us that many of the Valley's growing number of second- and third-generation Latino voters feel this way, too. And almost no one there likes Gov. Jerry Brown's lunatic high-speed rail project.

The bottom line is that Tuesday was not a good day for the Democrats. Not in Wisconsin, not even in California.

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM