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District Profile from Politics in America
The Hispanic-majority and largely blue-collar 20th District reaches from Fresno to Bakersfield, through rural portions of Fresno, Kings and Kern counties. Nearly one-third of Fresno's residents live in the 20th, which takes in much of downtown and Hispanic areas in the southern section of the city.
Federal water projects in the Westlands spawned vast farms with battalions of workers growing a variety of crops, including alfalfa, cotton, fruits, sugar beets, wheat and nuts. Years of over-irrigation damaged some of the once-fertile land, and a public-private partnership hopes to repurpose tens of thousands of acres as solar energy fields. Fresno's agricultural contribution is more industrial, with fruit and other food processing plants, a Foster Farms poultry farm and several dairy farms. Overall, the district has the nation's fourth-largest orchard acreage.
California's 20th District bears much of the heavy burden created by the fast-growing San Joaquin Valley's urban and rural poor population, and it is beset by unemployment and crime. Its residents struggle with the lowest median household incomes in the state and among the lowest rates of formal education nationally. Many district workers are Hispanic and Hmong immigrants who work in the local farming communities that are vulnerable to economic uncertainty during prolonged drought conditions.
Democrats enjoy a distinct voter registration advantage in the 20th overall. Although Democrat Jerry Brown won the district's gubernatorial vote in 2010 with 56 percent, GOP candidate Meg Whitman won by more than 12 percentage points in Republican-leaning Kings County.
Agriculture, dairy, prisons
Naval Air Station Lemoore, 6,008 military, 724 civilian (2011)
Fresno (pt.), 159,688; Bakersfield (pt.), 62,235; Hanford, 53,967; Delano, 53,041
The Fresno Sanitary Landfill is the country's oldest.
|2010||general||Jim Costa (D)||46,247||51.7%|
|Andy Vidak (R)||43,197||48.3%|
|2008||general||Jim Costa (D)||93,023||74.3%|
|Jim Lopez (R)||32,118||25.7%|
|2006||general||Jim Costa (D)||61,120||100%|
|2004||general||Jim Costa (D)||61,005||53.4%|
|Roy Ashburn (R)||53,231||46.6%|
|2002||general||Cal Dooley (D)||47,627||63.7%|
|Andre Minuth (R)||25,628||34.3%|
|Varrin Swearingen (LIBERT)||1,515||2%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 59.6%||John McCain: 38.7%|
|2004||John Kerry: 51%||George W. Bush: 48%|
|2000||Al Gore: 53%||George W. Bush: 42%|