Key House Races in California
Three seats are up for grabs, and the races are very tight.
Three U.S. House races in California are rated as toss-ups. They could well be part of a Republican wave in November. On the other hand, if the wave falters, these seats could be crucial to control of the House, or to how much of a Republican margin Kevin McCarthy will be able to work with next year.
CA-13. This district is just south but well-inland from the Bay Area. This is an open seat, so neither candidate has the advantage of incumbency. The Democrat, Adam Gray, touts his service to the district in the state assembly. His website says nothing about the environment but touts his efforts to prevent water from being diverted from the district for environmental purposes. The Republican, John Duarte, is a nursery owner who made a name for himself as an opponent of Obama’s WOTUS rule.
CA-22. This district starts south of Bakersfield, runs east of downtown, and then balloons out to the northwest of the city. The Democrat, Rudy Salas, doesn’t have an issues tab and speaks mostly about the benefits he’s brought to the district as a state legislator. The website is unusually bare-bones. The incumbent, David Valadao, is one of the few Republicans voting to impeach Trump who survived their primaries. He has a lifetime LCV score of 7%. His website speaks about California’s ability to produce more oil and gas as well as renewables. He also pledges to protect the area’s water imports.
CA-27. This district is part of north LA County. The incumbent Republican, Mike Garcia, Garcia is being challenged by Christy Smith. Smith’s website is the only one to devote serious attention to environmental issues. She calls for “building a fully renewable and clean energy infrastructure using wind and solar to create good mortgage-paying jobs and combat the climate crisis so we can ensure our community is a place where families can live and thrive for generations to come, before it’s too late.” Before going to Congress, he was a navy pilot and a defense industry executive. He says was motivated to run for Congress “after seeing the threat of Sacramento’s high taxes and job-killing policies spreading to the federal level.” During his short time in Congress, his LCV score has been 17%. Many of Republican members of Congress had relatively good scores last year for some reason. (For instance, Kevin McCarthy had an LCV score of 13% for 2021 but lifetime score of 4%.) Garcia had only one prior year to balance 2021.
With the exception of Christy, none of these candidates seems likely to become an important voice for environmental or energy policy if they are elected. Given current political polarization, their party affiliations are probably more important to policy outcomes than their personal attributes.