Predictions of a “blue wave” in the 2018 midterms didn’t produce a Democrat tsunami in California last Tuesday, but new predictions from the Cook Political Report suggest Republicans shouldn’t let their guard down just yet.
Rep. Darrell Issa held on to his seat in 2016 by a thread after the Democrats decided to make his seat a major target. Now that Issa is on his way out and Tuesday’s general election narrowed his replacement to two, Republican California Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey will face off against Democrat lawyer Mike Levin in November.
A new prediction from the Cook Political Report suggests the 49th congressional district seat that spans portions of San Diego and Orange counties that was a toss-up is now lean Democrat, according to the Hill.
Issa won just 50.3 percent of the vote in the 2016 3-way primary election. Democrats heavily targeted the district, using President Barak Obama himself to hold a fundraiser for Issa’s Democrat challenger Doug Applegate. Despite the Democrats’ efforts, Applegate lost by a less than one percent margin.
Hillary Clinton took a slight edge in the 2016 presidential general election in the 49th congressional district with 50.7 percent.
Voter registration in the 49th district 15 days before the 2016 general election was divided 37.79 percent Republican, 31.2 Democratic, 25.48 No Party Preference, and the rest were registered with one of several other minor parties.
Issa won a much greater 60.2 percent in the 2014 midterm general election during Obama’s second term in office.
Voter registration for the 49th district just ahead of the 2014 general election was divided 40.18 percent Republican, 28.82 Democratic, 25.49 No Party Preference, and the remainder split between several minor parties.
While the No Party Preference registration remained virtually unchanged as a percentage of the district’s registrants, Republican registration declined and Democratic increased by approximately the same amount, just over two percent.
The Cook Political Report moved Republican incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter’s seat from lean Republican to Solid Republican. The FBI has been investigating Hunter for alleged misuse of campaign funds, but on Tuesday he still garnered 48.7 percent of the primary election vote compared to 16.3 percent for the next highest vote getter Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar.
After Republican David Valadao won 64.2 percent on Tuesday against his only challenger Democrat TJ Cox, the Cook Report moved the 21st congressional seat from lean Republican to likely Republican.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana