Fair skies for GOP

Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Created: 01/16/2010 10:22:37 PM PST

With one local assemblyman termed out and another announcing he will not run for re-election, Inland Valley voters will see at least two newcomers elected to the state Assembly this year.

Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Don Kurth and Fontana Councilwoman Acquanetta Warren are among several Republican candidates to replace termed-out Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Rancho Cucamonga. Claremont Mayor Corey Calaycay is among those considering a run for the seat that beleaguered Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Claremont, is giving up.

The political climate this year appears more favorable to Republicans than it has in recent election cycles.

But because of gerrymandered districts, voters shouldn’t expect any local seats in Congress or the state Legislature to change party hands, according to one expert.

Like most election cycles, the “real action” will be in the June primary, not in the November general election, said Claremont McKenna College political science professor Jack Pitney.

Except for the two Assembly seats up for grabs this year, all Inland Valley incumbents are seeking re-election to the House of Representatives, the state Senate and the Assembly.

After this year’s election and the 2010 Census, district boundaries will be redrawn.

For state legislative districts, boundaries will be redrawn by an independent 14-member citizen commission. The races in newly redrawn districts might be more competitive between Democrats and Republicans than they have been in recent campaigns.

“No one really knows how it’s going to work,” Pitney said.

Congressional boundaries are set to be redrawn by the state Legislature – as they were following the 2000 Census – but a state proposition could be on the ballot in November to give the task to the commission formed to redraw districts for the state Legislature.

Following the redistricting process, the Inland Empire could gain seats because of population growth in the past decade, Pitney said.

Pitney said he does not expect national organizations to provide financial support for local congressional candidates.

Nationally, Democrats are expected to spend money protecting incumbents in tight re-election battles, and Republicans are expected to spend money targeting those seats, Pitney said.

“Democratic prospects for taking Republican seats are much grimmer than they were in 2008,” Pitney said. “Some Republicans had close calls, and Democrats were hoping they could take those seats in 2010. But … the national Democrats are going to have to focus on defense, not offense.”

The nomination period for primary candidates begins Feb. 16 and ends March 12.

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