California's 26th Congressional District elections, 2012

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California's 26th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Julia Brownley Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
David Dreier Republican Party
David Dreier.jpg

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

Flag of California.png
The 26th Congressional District of California held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

State representative Julia Brownley (D) won the election.[1]

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 David Dreier (R), who was first elected in 1980.

According to a Cook Political Report analysis, the 26th District was 1 of 13 congressional districts in California that was at least somewhat competitive in 2012. The analysis rated it as Republican Toss Up.[3]

This was the first election which used new district maps based on 2010 Census data. California's 26th Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state and includes part of Los Angeles County.[4]

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.[5]

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.[5]

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."[5]

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.[6]

There were also over a dozen same-party races in the state legislature in November.[6]

Race background

California's 26th was considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings.[7] This district has long been the territory of Republican representative Elton Gallegly. However, with redistricting and his retirement, Democrats gained an edge in the district and gained control in November. Party leaders initially backed Steve Bennett for the nomination, but he withdrew. In March 2012, they threw their support behind state representative Julia Brownley.[8]

This race was seen as possibly one of the closest U.S. House races in California.

California's 26th District was included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identified districts that the organization specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[9]

Republican challenger Tony Strickland was included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlighted challengers who represented the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[10]

Using the Federal Election Commission's October Quarterly campaign finance filings, the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law published a report on October 22nd focusing on the 25 House races rated most competitive by The Cook Political Report, including the race for California's 26th. The report examines the relative spending presence of non-candidate groups, candidates, and small donors in these races - "which will likely determine which party will control the House."[11]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Julia Brownley Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Tony Strickland

June 5, 2012, primary results

Note: The following candidates withdrew prior to the primary: Steve Bennett and David Pollock

Election results

U.S. House, California District 26 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJulia Brownley 52.7% 139,072
     Republican Tony Strickland 47.3% 124,863
Total Votes 263,935
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
U.S. House, California District 26 Open Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngTony Strickland (R) 44.1% 49,043
Green check mark transparent.pngJulia Brownley (D) 26.9% 29,892
Linda Parks (NPP) 18.3% 20,301
Jess Herrera (D) 6.5% 7,244
David Cruz Thayne (D) 2.5% 2,809
Albert Maxwell Goldberg (D) 1.7% 1,880
Total Votes 111,169

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

The 26th District was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[16][17]

Registration statistics

As of October 23, 2012, District 26 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the California Secretary of State:

California Congressional District 26[18]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 26 341,533 137,231 121,968 82,334 Democratic 12.51% 26.99%
"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. Partisanship figures from 2010 relating to the incumbent are unavailable for this district due to the seat being open.[19]

  • 2012: 54D / 46R
  • 2010: Unavailable

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 26th Congressional District has a PVI of D+2, which is the 172nd most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 58-42 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 51-49 percent over John Kerry (D).[20]

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.

Julia Brownley

Julia Brownley (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[21]April 15, 2012$0$281,078.25$(27,501.99)$253,576.26
Pre-Primary[22]May 24, 2012$253,576.26$268,123.41$(304,378.29)$217,321.38
Running totals

Brownley raised over $740,000 in the third quarter.[23]

Tony Strickland

Tony Strickland (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[24]April 13, 2012$50$787,554$(50,014.93)$737,589.07
Pre-Primary[25]May 24, 2012$737,589.07$174,574$(188,359.87)$723,803.20
Running totals

Chamber of commerce spending

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent a total of $3.3 million on television advertisements aimed at electing ten California Republican congressional candidates, Democratic sources told Hotline.[26]

In California's 26th Congressional District, The Chamber spent $348,000 to elect Tony Strickland.[26]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 2, 2010, David Dreier won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Russ Warner, David L. Miller, and Randall Weissbuch in the general election.[27]

U.S. House, California District 26 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Dreier Incumbent 54.1% 112,774
     Democratic Russ Warner 36.5% 76,093
     American Independent David L. Miller 6.1% 12,784
     Libertarian Randall Weissbuch 3.2% 6,696
Total Votes 208,347

See also

External links

This is the 26th Congressional District prior to the 2010 redistricting.


  1. CNN, "California Districts Race - 2012 Election Center," accessed December 1, 2012
  2. California Secretary of State, "Elections FAQ," accessed July 20, 2012
  3. The Cook Political Report, "2012 Competitive House Race Chart," accessed July 10, 2012
  4. California Redistricting Map, "Map" accessed September 25, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Los Angeles Times, "Few centrists advance in California's new primary system," June 7, 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 Reuters, "Democrats face Democrats in new California election system," June 6, 2012
  7. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 7, 2012
  8., "Dan Walters: Redistricting, top-two primary change California's election game," March 9, 2012
  9. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  10. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  11. Brennan Center for Justice, "Election Spending 2012: 25 Toss-Up House Races," October 22, 2012
  12. The Cook Political Report, "House: Race Ratings," updated October 18, 2012
  13. "Westlake Village man announces plans to run for new 26th Congressional District",, August 17, 2011
  14. Moorpark Patch "Strickland will run for Congress," January 16, 2012
  15. Linda Parks' campaign website
  16. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "California's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  17. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  18. California Secretary of State, "Congressional Voter Registration Statistics," May 21, 2012
  19. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Arizona," September 2012
  20. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Julia Brownley April Quarterly," accessed July 10, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Julia Brownley Pre-Primary," accessed July 10, 2012
  23. Julia Brownley's campaign website, News
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Tony Strickland April Quarterly," accessed July 10, 2012
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Tony Strickland Pre-Primary," accessed July 10, 2012
  26. 26.0 26.1 National Journal, "Chamber Drops $3.3 Million for California Repubs," September 27, 2012
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013