While Republicans performed well in the 2014 elections, bolstering their numbers in the House of Representatives to a modern-era high of 247 seats, they had a dismal performance in California. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) came up short in the few California seats where it committed significant resources, while in a host of other seats where it didn’t spend a dime, the GOP candidate narrowly lost.
The NRCC today has announced a list of 19 incumbent Democrats in Congress whom they are targeting in the 2016 elections. On that list are a number of Democrats who were narrowly elected with minimal or no opposition from the Republican Party, including Reps. John Garamendi (CA-03) and Pete Aguilar (CA-31).
Here’s what I wrote in a column late last year about those two districts:
CA-3 – Incumbent Democrat John Garamendi, former Lt. Governor of California, beat back a strong challenge from termed-out conservative Assemblyman Dan Logue in this district north and west of Sacramento. With the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) asleep at the switch, Logue never was targeted in his race, and fell about 7,500 votes shy of topping Garamendi, losing with 47.5% of the vote.
CA-31 — Many said this Inland Empire seat, after redistricting, couldn’t elect a Republican — and that it stayed in GOP hands this long only because U.S. Rep. Gary Miller drew a GOP opponent in the 2012 runoff general election. Apparently the NRCC bought that, because one presumes that a late survey in this seat would have shown how competitive the race was to succeed Miller. The NRCC didn’t invest in the election of Republican Paul Chabot at all. Chabot ended up losing by about 3,000 votes, with about 48.4% of the vote.
Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines a mulligan as, “a free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played.”
I guess the NRCC is looking to take some mulligans in California next year.