Retiring Rep. Wally Hergerís (R) successor in this rural, Republican-leaning Northern California district will likely be decided today. The heavy favorite is state Sen. Doug LaMalfa (R), whom Herger endorsed on the day of his retirement announcement in early January. LaMalfaís biggest challenge is to make sure he finishes ahead of former state Sen. Sam Aanestad (R). There are enough Democrats here that Hergerís 2010 opponent, Jim Reed (D), will likely advance and possibly even finish with the most votes, but a Republican will win in November.
Itís a race for second place in this coastal, heavily Democratic district. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D), a leader in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is retiring, opening perhaps the most liberal district in the country. State Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D) will likely finish first and is favored to win in November, followed by one of a handful of other Democrats: activist Norman Solomon, former tech executive Stacey Lawson and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams. However, itís possible investment firm adviser Dan Roberts (R) will take enough Republican votes to advance.
A Republican will represent this open High Desert district, which stretches from inland Southern California near Los Angeles all the way to the Nevada border. But with so many candidates, itís impossible to call which two will emerge from the primary and from which party. Ten of the 13 candidates vying for this safe Republican seat are Republican. The top GOP contenders are state Assemblyman Paul Cook, San Bernardino County Commissioner Brad Mitzelfelt, Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron, anti-immigration activist Gregg Imus and accountant Phil Liberatore, who loaned his campaign $250,000.
Itís unlikely there will be any general election scenario here other than freshman Rep. Jeff Denham (R), an Air Force veteran, versus former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez (D). The intrigue comes from the independent bid of Chad Condit, the son of former Rep. Gary Condit (D). Condit would have to overcome any remaining scars from the scandal that led to his fatherís primary defeat in 2002. This Modesto-area district, among the most competitive in the state, includes much of Gary Conditís former territory.
Rep. Pete Stark (D) is not in danger of losing in the primary in this Northern California seat southeast of San Francisco. But a poor showing against Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell (D) on Tuesday could portend trouble in November. The 80-year-old recently announced the endorsement of President Barack Obama, which he hopes will overshadow a string of embarrassing gaffes that breathed life into Swalwellís challenge, once seen as a long shot.
Itís unclear how competitive Democrats will be here in November even if the national partyís preferred candidate, Fresno City Councilman Blong Xiong, is able to advance in the three- candidate primary field. State Assemblyman David Valadao (R) will be the favorite to win this open seat against Xiong or John Hernandez (D), the CEO of the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. But a Xiong primary loss could take this district off the map completely for Democrats. If Xiong pulled off an upset, he would be the first Hmong-American elected to Congress.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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