One Pundit Says Lungren is Dead Meat, Kind Of

But When - 2010 or 2012? Lungren v. McClintock? Republican Congressman Dan Lungren’s lackluster non-majority victory in California’s Thir...

But When - 2010 or 2012? Lungren v. McClintock?

Republican Congressman Dan Lungren’s lackluster non-majority victory in California’s Third Congressional District in 2008 gave rise to a reinvigorated Democratic effort to oust the three term conservative.

Smelling blood, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has made Lungren, along with fellow California Republican Congress members Mary Bono Mack and Ken Calvert, primary targets in 2010. Lungren will likely face Democratic challenger Dr. Ami Bera, who has already raised a large war chest.

With Bera’s funding and the DCCC’s campaign, Lungren will face a formidable challenge. Add to this the changing demographic composure of the district and Lungren will have his hands full.

As any political observer will undoubtedly note though, a lot of things can happen between now and November and Lungren could beat down the challenge. So if Lungren prevails in 2010, why is 2012 perilous for Lungren?

In a word, the census.

2010 is a census year and with it comes reapportionment of congressional districts. For members of the California that task will be left to the California Assembly.

That, according to writer and political pundit John Wildermuth, could make 2012 a difficult year for Lungren.
If Lungren does survive the election, look for the Democrat-controlled Legislature to paint a bulls-eye on his back in the redistricting that will follow this year’s census, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looking on approvingly.

In a separate story published last fall, Tony Quinn speculated that if California loses a congressional seat, or simply shifts borders around if no changes in our congressional delegation, Democrats could eliminate one Bay Area Congressional seat and shift it to the Sacramento area. Then they could redistrict the third and combine it with McClintock’s seat in the first district forcing the two to face-off in what would surely be a nasty primary.
The most likely victim is 78-year-old Rep. Pete Start (D-Fremont). Collapsing his district will solve the population problem and will allow Democrats to play some games. They will pull Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) westward to absorb some of Stark’s Democrats, thus making his marginal seat safely Democrat. They will also be able to move GOP Rep Dan Lungren’s marginal Sacramento seat into Yolo County, making it into a Democratic seat. Lungren’s GOP base can be combined with the neighboring district of Rep Tom McClintock (R-Placer), setting up a GOP primary between Lungren and McClintock for the remaining district.

So in northern California, the Democrats will replace a Bay Area Democratic district with a new Democratic district in the Sacramento area, and combine two Republicans into single seat.

This only works, however, if you can shift excess Republican population southward, and that will require a huge rippling of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Central Valley. But it can be done.
Of course for this scenario to play out lots of things need to happen.

First Lungren needs to win reelection in 2010, which we see is no slam dunk. If Lungren wins in 2010, would he and McClintock be willing to face-off under this scenario in 2012?

Could former Democrat candidates for the third, Elk Grove City Council Member Gary Davis and SMUD Director Bill Slaton, pulled out of the primary race against Bera (their money problems aside) based on some political calculus looking forward to 2012?

It will be interesting to see how the census shakes out in 2010 and the ramifications it has for Elk Grove’s congressional representation in the coming teen decade

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