California Dems likely to pick up handful of U.S. House seats
June 25, 2011 1:11 PM
Natasha Lindstrom
Staff Writer

Proposed redistricting maps should frighten California’s Republicans, according to national GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who argues they’re in danger of losing even more footing in their Democrat-controlled state.

Luntz referred to the first draft maps released by the newly formed California Citizens Redistricting Commission as “the most anti-constitutional lines that I have ever seen in American politics.”

“I look at your redistricting and it irritates me …” he told the audience of about 200 at Thursday’s fundraiser for San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville. “I see what they’re going to do to your state house (Assembly) and you’re state Senate. But the congressional is bad enough and it may result in the Democrats winning control of the House (of Representatives). That’s how bad it is.”

Elections specialist David Wasserman by phone Friday he predicts California Republicans could lose three or four of the 19 seats they now hold in the state’s 53-member House delegation.

But he dismissed Luntz’s statements as a “complete exaggeration.”

“The lines today are completely anti-competitive. In fact, they’re the least competitive in the country,” said Wasserman, House editor of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter analyzing elections and campaigns. “If anything this increases the chances that Republicans would be competitive in a very, very good year for the party, because there would be a wider trading range of competitive districts.”

Democrats are also likely to gain a few seats in Illinois but lose them in North Carolina and Georgia, Wasserman said. They would need 24 seats to retake the House.

“So overall we’re talking about a redistricting wash,” Wasserman said. “What this amounts to from my perspective is a solidification of Democratic dominance on the coasts and a solidification of Republican dominance in the South and the Midwest.”

According to Wasserman, of 265 elections for California’s House seats over the past decade, only one resulted in a shift in partisan control.

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