Republican and Democratic operatives might be dreaming of spending the fall in San Diego as California’s 52nd District becomes entrenched as one of the most competitive races in the country this cycle. Democratic Rep. Scott Peters defeated GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray in 2012 but is facing a very serious challenge from former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio.
This race just doesn’t fit the regular mold. Peters finished the year with $1.1 million in campaign funds compared to $986,000 for DeMaio. Usually, challengers need considerable resources to overcome a name identification gap. But after a high-profile (though unsuccessful) bid for mayor of San Diego, DeMaio may actually start the race with higher name ID than the incumbent.
Barack Obama carried the district in both 2008 and 2012, but heading into a midterm election when turnout will likely dip, it’s just hard to see Peters having a distinct advantage in the race right now. California’s 52nd District is now rated by Rothenberg Political Report /Roll Call as Pure Tossup , switching from Tossup/Tilt Democrat.