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California - 9th District

Incumbent -- Barbara Lee (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

Across the bay from San Francisco, the 9th District is anchored by Oakland and Berkeley, two racially diverse, liberal communities.

A majority of district residents live in Oakland, which is more than one-fourth black. Oakland's unemployment rate is above the national average and crime is a major concern, while areas in the city's eastern hills tend to be wealthy and less diverse. Urban revitalization efforts and downtown development lured new residents and businesses into the area and bolstered the local economy, but statewide budget shortfalls have hampered continued growth. The city may struggle to finance a new stadium and keep the Athletics baseball team in Oakland.

The 9th also includes the fast-growing bayside city of Emeryville, which is home to commercial development and biotech firms. Other high-tech companies include animation studio Pixar, educational technology developer LeapFrog, and software and wireless technology firms.

Just north of Oakland, Berkeley is home to the flagship campus of the University of California system and looks out over the bay from the Berkeley Hills. The rest of the district includes smaller communities such as Albany, a liberal suburb at the north end of the district; Piedmont, a residential city entirely surrounded by Oakland's hills; and unincorporated sections of Alameda County southeast of Oakland: Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland and Fairview.

With a core constituency in left-leaning Oakland and Berkeley, the 9th is a Democratic stronghold where Republicans account for less than 10 percent of registered voters. Barack Obama had his best showing in the state here in the 2008 presidential election, capturing 88 percent of the district's vote, and former Oakland mayor Jerry Brown took his statewide highest percentage (85 percent) and total number of votes here in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Major Industry

Biotech, shipping


Oakland (pt.), 390,687; Berkeley, 112,580; Castro Valley (unincorporated) (pt.), 61,284; Ashland (unincorporated), 21,925


The synthetic element Berkelium was created at UC-Berkeley.




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