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Redistricting Floods Calif. With Competition

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza remains atop the retirement-watch list, leaving the fate of his district up in the air.

Republicans already have a candidate in the 21st in Assemblyman David Valadao. Should Cardoza retire and Costa run in the 16th, Valadao could be matched up with highly touted Democratic state Sen. Michael Rubio.

The NRCC also is targeting Rep. Jerry McNerney in the new 9th district and Rep. John Garamendi in the new 3rd district, which got considerably more competitive.

McNerney was the only successful California challenger in the past decade to flip a seat's party control, defeating former Rep. Richard Pombo in 2006. His new district is actually slightly more friendly than his current one, but the NRCC is enthusiastic about its recruit there 24-year-old law student Ricky Gill, who had raised $446,000 through June 30.

Should it get the right candidates and should the political landscape move further in the GOP's favor, Shields said the NRCC will take a look at the district of Rep. Loretta Sanchez and the open 41st district, which Democrats are also targeting.

California Democratic consultant Paul Mitchell cited several districts his party will be looking to pick up next year. They include: Rep. Dan Lungren's Sacramento-area 7th district; freshman Rep. Jeff Denham's 10th district; the 25th district, in which GOP Reps. Buck McKeon and Elton Gallegly live; the open 26th district in Ventura County; Rep. Mary Bono Mack's 36th district; Rep. Darrell Issa's 49th district; and the 52nd district, where Rep. Brian Bilbray is running.

The 32nd district, where Rep. David Dreier (R) lives but is unlikely to run, leans Democratic and is a likely Democratic pickup.

Some of the GOP districts already include top Democratic recruits, including the well-financed Ami Bera, who is challenging Lungren for the second cycle in a row. Lungren beat Bera by 7 points in a good year for the GOP.

To avoid a Member-vs.-Member race in the 30th district, Rep. Henry Waxman (D) has said Rep. Brad Sherman (D) should move over to the neighboring 26th, which is likely swing territory.

However, Sherman has given no indication that he will do that to end his battle with Rep. Howard Berman (D). And he could possibly face another incumbent in the 26th, with Gallegly possibly running in that district as well.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Amber Moon kept to the national talking points but said redistricting has presented Democrats with "new opportunities" to unseat GOP incumbents.

Still, the NRCC's Shields is optimistic: "The idea that we would be able to go there and play offense is something we're excited about."

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