July 25, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

California - 15th District

Incumbent -- Michael M. Honda (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

Home to one-third of San Jose's residents, the 15th touches the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay in the north, then descends inland through Silicon Valley to still-rural but fast-growing farm towns and the San Benito County border. Fruit orchards that once covered much of the district were converted into housing and businesses after World War II.

The population is predominately affluent, although wealth here is vulnerable to economic uncertainty. It also has a high percentage of white-collar workers and has one of the state's lowest percentages of service industry workers.

Lying in the heart of Silicon Valley, the 15th is home to several prominent technology firms -- Apple in Cupertino and Intel in Santa Clara -- and Internet ventures like online auction house eBay in San Jose and Netflix in Los Gatos. Recent job growth at some high-tech employers have boosted the local economy, but periodic downturns in the technology industry, particularly within smaller companies, can affect the wealthy suburbs west of San Jose. The software and semiconductor sectors have benefited from federal funding and relationships with research universities.

Agriculture also is important here. Gilroy, located in the southern part of the district and known as the "Garlic Capital of the World," is home to several food processing plants. Singapore-based Olam International bought the ConAgra plant that produces vegetables.

The diverse 15th, which is home to many foreign-born residents, includes the nation's second-highest percentage of Asian residents (36 percent) and a sizable Hispanic population (21 percent). Illegal immigration is a key policy issue, but voters in the 15th tend to be liberal on social and environmental issues. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a wide margin, and Jerry Brown won 60 percent of the district's 2010 gubernatorial vote.

Major Industry

Computers, biotechnology, health care, agriculture

Cities

San Jose (pt.), 303,958; Santa Clara (pt.), 116,450; Milpitas, 66,790

Notable

Two tons of garlic are consumed during Gilroy's annual Garlic Festival, which features garlic french fries, garlic ice cream -- and free gum.

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