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California - 5th District

Incumbent -- Doris Matsui (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

State politics and triple-digit temperatures dominate the 5th District, located in California's Central Valley. The 5th is home to the state capital, Sacramento, and reaches east and south to include a few upper-middle-class suburbs such as Arden-Arcade and Elk Grove (both of which are shared with the 3rd District).

Sacramento first attracted fortune hunters after gold was found on the banks of the nearby Sacramento River in 1848. In recent decades, the presence of cheaper land kept local housing prices below those of San Francisco and elsewhere in the area, and the cost of living was only slightly above the national average. A national housing market crisis, however, forced foreclosure on many district residents.

State government has provided the lion's share of the district's employment, but state and city budget shortfalls have led to layoffs and an unstable economic environment. Sacramento is home to a California State University campus, and, outside of government, the city's largest employer is the University of California, Davis, medical center.

Other key employers include large technology firms such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard, but high-tech sectors have struggled with high unemployment rates. The nearby Port of Sacramento (located in the 1st), which handles more than 1 million tons of cargo each year and is linked to the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean, is another economic driver.

The city works to lure tourists to the Old Sacramento neighborhood on the waterfront, home to museums, restaurants, shopping and an annual jazz festival. The California State Fair also attracts visitors.

The 5th is racially diverse, with Hispanic, Asian and black residents accounting for roughly half of the district's total population. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown won 68 percent of the 5th's vote in 2010.

Major Industry

State government, technology, health care

Cities

Sacramento, 466,488; Florin (unincorporated), 47,513; Arden-Arcade (unincorporated) (pt.), 41,485

notable

The Crocker Art Museum, located in downtown Sacramento, was founded in 1885 and is the oldest public art museum west of the Mississippi River.

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