OC remains key battleground in 2022 midterms

Orange County, California – Demographic changes combined with a significant and continuing decline in population have altered the political landscape of California politics.

The park’s diverse district changes, along with significant district shifts in Representative Katie Porter’s 45th congressional district and Devin Nunes’ exit from politics, have delivered a wrench in the 2022 midterm.

What you need to know

  • California lost one seat in Congress, reducing its influence from 54 to 53.
  • Political advisor Tab Berg said the California delegation is not known to work together, dismissing the significance of losing the seat
  • The shift reduced the number of areas touching Orange County from seven to six
  • Republicans take two Orange County seats in 2020, seats the National Party will likely invest heavily to keep

Changes were expected, as was the relative delay in the arrival of a full list of candidates. As districts — and the power that each party has in them — come into focus, candidates will continue to run.

But the change of territories, which led to Nunes’ retirement, also prompted Porter to be re-elected in a newly drawn territory that still contains her hometown of Irvine.

“It’s not clear that more coastal Democrats will be interested in the arguments about economic justice that I made as Elizabeth Warren’s reserve,” said Tony Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Irvine in California.

The county will also lose another territory as the Alan Lowenthal region of California, which contains Long Beach, moves north.

Shifts, taking place across the country, often disrupt the best-laid plans of the party that holds the White House. The election this year follows a rapid pace of legislation pushed by Democrats, including everything from the tax credit for children, additional vaccines for foreign countries, and infrastructure that contains funds for broadband, bridges and roads.

Midterm elections often represent a danger to the ruling party. With the Democrats in control of the White House, some political scientists believe that the Republicans are more likely to take over the Senate and appear to pose a serious threat to control of the House of Representatives as well. Every seat counts, and both parties will support every weak candidate with millions of dollars.

Other states use their legislatures to redistrict as critics point to the danger of bias toward the party in control of the majority. California’s redistricting is intended to avoid such criticism.

Republicans are very fortunate to have this independent redistricting commission. Otherwise, we’d have three more Democrats, maybe five, Smith said.

Orange County, as it has been in recent years, is one of the most important battlefield counties in the country.

Republicans took two county seats by narrow margins. Smith said Yong Kim, of California, appears to be in a stronger position than Republican Michelle Steele.

But the main questions remain. With redistricting delays due to the pandemic, candidates are still weighing their options.

It remains unclear what the challenge will be for Porter, a major fundraiser and progressive star.

“I think Katie Porter will face a tougher test,” said Tab Berg, a political consultant based in Sacramento. “Raising money is great, but you’ve seen a handful of candidates raise a bunch of money and win a third of the vote.”

Adding to Democrats’ concerns is dwindling approval numbers for President Joe Biden. Global events, including heightened tensions with Russia with the emergence of chaos in Kazakhstan and the long-running pandemic, have added to management challenges.

The problems that former President Donald Trump faced in the middle of the term included the spread of the epidemic and severe job losses linked to the epidemic as restaurants closed. But despite losing the election, the Republicans settled in the House of Representatives while, most likely, the party lost control of the Senate.

What happens in the rest of the country may depend on Biden’s acceptance rates, Smith said. But the Golden State remains a Democratic stronghold.

“As long as Biden is popular in California and Newsom is popular in California, there shouldn’t be big changes,” Smith said.


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