Depending on final Congressional maps, Matsui could face more challenging electorate in 2022




Since winning her first election to the U.S. House of Representatives for California's 5th District in a 2005 special election, Rep. Doris Matsui (D - Sacramento) has never faced a serious challenger. In 2005 she won with 68-percent of the vote and, without exception in every election since then, has never won less than 70-percent of the vote.

However, Matsui, who now represents California's 6th Congressional District, could face a more challenging electorate in 2022 based on the most recent maps released by California Citizen Redistricting Commission. The new map for the 6th district shows a geographic shift to eastern portions of Sacramento County, including Citrus Heights, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, and Rancho Cordova.

Currently, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, and Rancho Cordova, which are considered more conservative areas, are included in the 7th Congressional District, which is represented by Rep. Ami Bera (D - Elk Grove). While Bera has won every election since 2012, it has been by narrow margins, which has necessitated Bera to take more moderate positions than Matsui, much to the consternation of progressive in-district Democrats. 

Of significance, the 6th district shifts east come as more liberal Sacramento strongholds in Land Park are removed and placed into what is now the 7th Dsitrict. While the more liberal voting areas in the 6th District are now placed in the 7th district, conservative rural portions of south Sacramento County will also be placed in the 7th, so it should remain a moderate swing-type district.

While there are no known declared candidates, there are Republican city council members in Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova who could challenge Matsui. Another possibility could be former Republican representative Doug Ose, who unsuccessfully challenged Bera in 2014 and had entered the gubernatorial recall election but dropped out. 

Regarding demographics, the new configuration for the 6th District would by percent be 58.3 white, 16.9 Latino, 11.2 Black, and 10.6 Asian. According to Ballotpedia, the current composition of the 6th District by percent is 38.3 white, 28.7 Latino, 17.5 Asian, and 12.2 Black.

In 2012, 2014, and 2016 the National Republican Congressional Committee targeted Bera with substantial support for former Rep. Dan Lungren, Ose, and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, respectively, but did not support Republican challengers Andrew Grant in 2018 or Buzz Patterson in 2020.  The NRCC did not respond to an inquiry if they will target Matsui in 2022.   

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission must approve all maps for the California Board of Equalization, California Assembly, California Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives by December 27.  


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