Race Ratings Change: GOP Chances Improve in California's 52nd

DeMaio is running for Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There aren’t many congressional races where a challenger is running ahead of an incumbent in the polls more than a year and a half before Election Day, but that’s the situation in California’s 52nd District.

Two polls (one GOP survey in the spring and a media survey in June) show former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, running ahead of Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.

DeMaio narrowly lost last year’s race to become mayor of San Diego and enjoys much higher name identification than the average new congressional challenger. Peters has been in office for less than a year and is not yet a household name.

DeMaio seriously considered switching tracks in order to run in the special election for San Diego mayor. But he reaffirmed his intent to run for Congress, and GOP strategists couldn’t be happier. DeMaio announced he raised $325,000 in the third quarter and had $700,000 on hand at the end of September. Peters had $526,000 in the bank at the end of June.

This looks like one of Republicans’ top takeover opportunities. California’s 52nd District is now rated Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic, bumped down from Lean Democratic, by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.