California's 15th Congressional District elections, 2012

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California's 15th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Eric Swalwell Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Mike Honda Democratic Party
Mike Honda.jpg

California U.S. House Elections
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2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of California.png
The 15th Congressional District of California held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Eric Swalwell won the election.[1]

This is the 15th Congressional District prior to the 2010 redistricting.
Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
March 9, 2012
June 5, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: California has a top-two primary system, in which the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go on to the general election.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by May 21. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 22.[2]

See also: California elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Mike Honda (D), who was first elected in 2000.

This was the first election which used new district maps based on 2010 Census data. California's 15th Congressional District is located in the western portion of the state and includes much of Alameda County.[3]

Blanket primary

This was the first election year in which California's Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act was in effect. Because of this, all candidates for a seat competed in one blanket primary. The two candidates who received the most votes then advanced to the general election on November 6.

The proposition's intent was to encourage primary competition, which backers of the act said would lead to more moderate legislators being elected. Despite this intention, only a few centrists successfully advanced to the general election. The primary results did reflect an increase in competition, with California's percentage of contested primaries being much higher than the nationwide average.[4]

However, the increase in competition also led to an increase in campaign spending, due to the fact that competition within political parties lasted for the entire year rather than ending after the primary. Experts predict that this will only increase the power of the special interest groups that fund the campaigns.[4]

Raphael J. Sonenshein, executive director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., said the following, "It's hard to argue it's a better system where the incumbent congressman has a huge war chest and nobody else has any money... At least now we can make him spend it."[4]

As a result of the blanket primary, nine congressional districts had same-party candidates battling in the November 6 general election. Of those, seven were between Democrats.[5]

There were also over a dozen same-party races in the state legislature in November.[5]

Candidates

General election candidates

Democratic Party Pete Stark
Democratic Party Eric Swalwell Green check mark transparent.png


June 5, 2012, primary results

Election results

General election

U.S. House, California District 15 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngEric Swalwell 52.1% 120,388
     Democratic Pete Stark Incumbent 47.9% 110,646
Total Votes 231,034
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Primary election

U.S. House, California District 15 Open Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngPete Stark (D) Incumbent 42.1% 39,943
Green check mark transparent.pngEric Swalwell (D) 36.2% 34,347
Christopher Pareja (NPP) 21.7% 20,618
Total Votes 94,908

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

The 15th District was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[8][9]

Registration statistics

As of October 23, 2012, District 15 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the California Secretary of State:

California Congressional District 15[10]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 15 335,248 161,532 78,461 95,255 Democratic 105.88% 21.97%
"Party advantage" is the percentage gap between the two major parties in registered voters. "Change in advantage" is the spread in difference of party advantage between 2010 and 2012 based on the congressional district number only.

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. California's 15th District became more Republican because of redistricting.[11]

  • 2012: 65D / 35R
  • 2010: 71D / 29R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measures each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. California's 15th Congressional District has a PVI of D+15, which is the 72nd most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 69-31 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 63-37 percent over George W. Bush (R).[12]

Campaign contributions

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2012 elections season. Below are candidate reports.

Eric Swalwell

Eric Swalwell (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[13]April 14, 2012$89,072.97$101,030.24$(96,792.16)$93,311.05
Pre-Primary[14]May 24, 2012$93,311.05$54,879.94$(97,013.98)$51,177.01
Running totals
$155,910.18$(193,806.14)

District history

Candidate ballot accecss
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2010

On November 2, 2010, Mike Honda won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Scott Kirkland in the general election.[15]

U.S. House, California District 15 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMike Honda Incumbent 67.6% 126,147
     Republican Scott Kirkland 32.4% 60,468
Total Votes 186,615

See also

External links

References