There are five Congressional races in California that have been considered a toss up and may be considered too close to call on Election Night. Democrats have had their eye on turning these once GOP-strongholds into blue seats. With two retiring Congressmen – Reps. Ed Royce in CA-39 Darrell Issa in CA-49 – Democrats believe they have a chance at turning California even bluer than it already is.
California’s 10th Congressional District
Rep. Jeff Denham (R), who represents part of the Central Valley, faced a neck-and-neck race with local doctor Josh Harder (D). The primary concern amongst voters in the district was water being diverted from Northern California to residents in the southern part of the state.
Denham was expected to receive a boost on the water issue because of his strong support from local farmers and his history of advocating for water rights in the area, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Back in September, a poll conducted by Berkeley had Harder winning by five percentage points. The New York Times most recent poll, which was conducted two to three weeks before midterms, showed Denham closing in on Harder but still predicted Harder winning by two points.
California’s 25th Congressional District
The race between Rep. Steve Knight (R) and his challenger, community organizer Katie Hill has continually gone back-and-forth, depending on which poll you look at. A New York Times poll from mid-September showed Knight winning by two percentage points. A Berkley poll during the same time period showed Hill flipping the district by four points. Another New York Times poll conducted a little over a week before the election showed Knight winning reelection, this time by four points.
Hill has been a favorite amongst far-left progressive groups throughout the course of the campaign. Not long ago, Michael Bloomberg dropped $5.1 million on an ad buy supporting Hill.
Democrats believed that if Hill could knock out Knight that they would see a deep blue wave take place across the nation. That's why celebrities, like Kristen Bell, stumped for the Democrat.
The American Conservative Union, on the other hand, included this district in a massive ad buy geared towards protecting King.
California’s 39th Congressional District .
Current Rep. Ed Royce (R), who represents a district made up of Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in the southern part of the state, decided to retire after this term, creating a vacancy. Democrats automatically began eyeballing the district in hopes of turning a Republican stronghold into a blue seat.
Former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R) faced off with U.S. Naval Officer and Frito-Lay manager Gil Cisneros (D) for Royce's seat.
Cisneros came under fire for creating a website claiming Kim skirted tax laws. It was also brought to voters' attention that Ciseros was begging for "urgent donations" despite winning $266 million in the 2010 lottery, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
According to Ballotpedia, CD-39 is one of 25 Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, which is why Democrats had their eye on the seat.
Kim was endorsed by key Republican players in California, including Rep. Royce, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Darrell Issa. Other notable endorsements include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, California State Sheriffs' Association, NFIB and Susan B. Anthony List.
Cisneros was endorsed by various groups, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, California Teachers Association, The Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign, SEIU California, the Giffords group. Other notable endorsements include former President Barack Obama, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Congressman Ted Lieu, Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.
If Kim wins she'd be the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress.
California’s 45th Congressional District .
Rep. Mimi Walters (R) faced a tough reelection race against Democratic challenger Katie Porter, a law professor at UC-Irvine.
A July poll conducted on behalf of the Porter campaign found that Walters was likely to win by one point. In mid-August, a poll conducted on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee found Porter would win by three points. A poll conducted a week later on behalf of End Citizens United also said Porter would win the race, but this time by one point. The New York Times conducted a poll at the end of September, which found that Porter was likely to win by five percentage points. Another mid-September poll, this time conducted by Berkeley, found that Porter was likely to win by seven points. A mid-October poll from Public Opinion strategies flipped the script and found that Walters would win by four points.
Major national players spent big money on this race. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dropped $3.1 million on TV ads in October, The Hill reported. According to Ballotpedia, the National Association of Realtors spent almost half a million dollars on mailers and $875,000 on an ad buy supporting Porter. Other outside groups who played in this election include EMILY's List, End Citizens United, Giffords gun control group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
The Congressional Leadership Fund dropped numerous ads in favor of Walters and against Porter:
The National Republican Congressional Committee also dropped an ad, attacking Porter's stance on healthcare:
Walters received endorsements from organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Tax Reform, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners, as well as various local officials.
Porter received notable endorsements from President Barack Obama, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Kristin Gillibrand, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Reps. Judy Chu, Ted Lieu, John Garamendi. Organizations such as EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood, the Democratic Conservation Alliance PAC, NARAL Pro-Choice America, SEIU, the Progressive Turnout Project, and the Progressive Action PAC also backed Porter.
California’s 49th Congressional District .
Rep. Darrell Issa is another California Republican who decided to retire after this term. Republican State Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey and Democratic attorney Mike Levin duked it out for Issa's seat.
In a New York Times poll conducted in mid-September, Levin was ahead by 10 points. A Berkley poll conducted during the same timeframe showed Levin beating Harkey by 14 points. In October, a New York Times poll put Levin ahead again, this time by 14 points. An KGTV poll conducted a few days before the election showed Levin's lead at seven points.
Harkey was endorsed by Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Reps. Darrel Issa, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters, Dana Rohrabacher, Steve Knight and other members of the California Republican caucus. Other notable endorsements include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Susan B. Anthony List and various public safety organizations.
Levin received endorsements from The San Diego Union-Tribune and the San Diego City Beat. Other notable endorsements include President Barack Obama, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Boxer and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Leftist groups, like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Human Rights Campaign and various labor unions also backed Levin.