Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

California - 1st District

Incumbent -- Mike Thompson (D) ; Running for re-election

Safe Democratic
Race Ratings Key

CQ Politics rates this race as "Safe," meaning the incumbent party is virtually certain to win the seat.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

The 1st District is notable for its breadth and diversity. Even the weather patterns vary across the district, with a rainy north and arid farmland in the south. It takes about nine hours to travel the length of the district, a journey that starts in Yolo County, across the river from Sacramento, moves through Napa Valley's famous wineries and the northern coast's towering redwood forests, and ends at the Oregon border in Del Norte County, one of the district's three coastal counties.

In the north, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties were a battleground for environmentalists and the timber industry two decades ago, but debates about sustainability policy and carbon credits have largely replaced protests. East of Mendocino, Lake County has a mix of ranching, farming and tourism. Once attractive to retirees for its relatively low cost of living compared with Bay Area cities, the county is trying to rebound from high unemployment and home foreclosure rates.

South of Mendocino, the 1st takes in part of wine-producing Sonoma County and all of Napa County. More than 300 wineries are in the 1st, a large segment of the state's total. In addition to wine sales, winery tours also bring revenue. Napa is the second-most popular tourist destination in California after Disneyland.

Apart from wine, timber and tourism, the 1st's economy extends to commercial fishing in Crescent City, Eureka and Fort Bragg. The University of California, Davis, in Yolo County is a major employer, although just one-quarter of district residents have a college degree.

Politically, the district can show an independent streak, but it remains predominately liberal. Democrats have a substantial lead in voter registration overall, and every county except Del Norte registers more Democrats than Republicans. Barack Obama took 66 percent of the 1st's vote in the 2008 presidential election, and in the 2010 gubernatorial race Democrat Jerry Brown won every county wholly or partly in the 1st.

Major Industry

Agriculture, timber, tourism


Napa, 76,915; Davis, 65,622; West Sacramento, 48,744


At more than 5,000 acres, the campus in Davis is the largest in the University of California system.




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