Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 – 12:00 am

Two sagas have dominated national politics this year – the federal government’s partial shutdown because of a partisan stalemate and the very rocky launch of the national health care program.

The first, polls indicate, damaged Republicans’ image among voters while the second has driven President Barack Obama’s approval rating sharply downward.

Both parties, therefore, will enter the 2014 congressional campaigns with political baggage, although at the moment, at least, the health care imbroglio appears to be having more impact on the national consciousness.

There’s no California Senate election next year, but the state has the nation’s largest congressional delegation, saw a big turnover in House seats in 2012 – largely because of new districts drawn by an independent commission – and will have an unusually large number of targeted seats in 2014.

More than a half-dozen California seats are in the cross hairs of strategists in both parties, and their propaganda machines are running in high gear, trying to tie the targeted incumbents to the two dominant issues.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to pin the government shutdown on three Republicans it sees as vulnerable, Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford and Gary Miller of Diamond Bar.

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