California is central to the Democrats’ hope to flip the 23 Republican districts nationwide needed to gain the majority in the House of Representatives
The free-for-all in 49th Congressional District straddling San Diego and Orange counties, represented by retiring Republican Darrell Issa, is in the middle of it all. Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote in the 49th and six other California Republican districts, and the Democratic Party is making a push in all of them.
While not one of the prime Democratic targets, the East County 50th District held by embattled Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter also is being watched for how well, or poorly, Democrats do.
Democrats came surging into the year with high expectations fueled by dissatisfaction with, in some cases hatred of, President Donald Trump. That momentum has been tempered by a shifting political landscape and the worry that there are simply too many Democrats on the ballot in some races, potentially splitting the vote to the benefit of Republicans.
There’s the potential — considerable in some districts, less so in others — that Democratic candidates could get shut out of November because of the state’s primary system, where the top two vote-getters advance regardless of party affiliation.