Election Preview: California's 4th, 11th House Races

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The closest of the two, experts say, is California’s 11th district.  It sprawls across San Joaquin and three other counties and includes Tracy, Lodi and part of Stockton.  Freshman Democrat Jerry McNerney faces Republican Dean Andal (ANN-dall), a former State Assemblyman.  Sacramento State Communications Professor Barbara O’Connor says Andal’s a good candidate, but …
O’Connor: “The Democratic agenda, I think, will prevail in that district.  The leadership has been very careful to give McNerney a fair amount of bills that he can cite as deliverables, and I think the coattails there of Obama will slide him back.” 
Then, there’s the 4th district, which runs from the northeast Sacramento suburbs to the Nevada and Oregon borders.  Nine-term Republican John Doolittle is retiring, and State Senator Tom McClintock, who currently represents part of Southern California, wants to replace him.  The Democratic candidate is Retired Air Force officer Charlie Brown.  O’Connor says the district’s conservative leanings should give McClintock the edge.
O’Connor: “That district is heavily weighted toward the Republican Party.  So absent a major shift, I think Tom McClintock has a distinct advantage in registration, and he certainly has a big campaign team.” 
Besides those two seats, O’Connor says, there simply aren’t any other competitive House races in Northern California – thanks in large part to the way congressional districts are drawn.