California's 24th Congressional District elections, 2012

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California's 24th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Lois Capps Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Elton Gallegly Republican Party
Elton Gallegly.jpg

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

Flag of California.png
The 24th Congressional District of California held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Former 23rd District incumbent Lois Capps (D) won the election.[1]

This is the 24th 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 Elton Gallegly (R), who was first elected in 1986.

According to a Cook Political Report analysis, the 24th District was one of 13 congressional districts in California that was at least somewhat competitive in 2012. The analysis rated it as Likely Democratic.[3]

This was the first election which used new district maps based on 2010 Census data. California's 24th Congressional District is located in the southwestern portion of the state and includes the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, as well as western Ventura 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]


General election candidates

Democratic Party Lois Capps Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Abel Maldonado

June 5, 2012, primary results

Note: The following candidate withdrew prior to the primary: Tom Watson[9]

Election results

General election

U.S. House, California District 24 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngLois Capps Incumbent 55.1% 156,749
     Republican Abel Maldonado 44.9% 127,746
Total Votes 284,495
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race background

California's 24th was considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings. Incumbent Lois Capps faced a strong challenge from former Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado. Redistricting potentially offered Republicans a chance to steal the seat in 2012.[10]

Due to redistricting, the district was nearly evenly split between registered Democrats and Republicans, with a fifth of voters being unaffiliated. As a result, both candidates had to appeal to a much broader voter base.[11]

Republican challenger Abel Maldonado 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.[12]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

According to the Washington Post, the 24th is a new battleground as Democrats and Republicans seek to gain control of the House. 23rd District incumbent Lois Capps, displaced into the 24th with redistricting, will find herself running in a district that is nearly evenly split Democratic and Republican. She formerly had a Democratic advantage in the double-digits.[13]

The 24th District was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[14][15]

Registration statistics

As of October 23, 2012, District 24 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the California Secretary of State:

California Congressional District 24[16]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 24 343,951 131,698 121,390 90,863 Democratic 8.49% 25.91%
"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 24th District became more Republican because of redistricting.[17]

  • 2012: 54D / 46R
  • 2010: 63D / 37R

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 24th Congressional District has a PVI of D+3, which is the 163rd 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, John Kerry (D) won the district 51-49 percent over George W. Bush (R).[18]


Ad attacking Lois Capps

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.

Lois Capps

Lois Capps (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[19]April 12, 2012$1,030,962.81$525,905.52$(234,211.81)$1,322,656.52
Pre-Primary[20]May 24, 2012$1,322,656.52$127,458.34$(356,986.41)$1,093,128.45
Running totals

Abel Maldonado

Abel Maldonado (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[21]April 13, 2012$640,298.87$194,216$(341,920.94)$492,593.93
Pre-Primary[22]May 24, 2012$492,593.93$88,261$(260,371.46)$320,483.47
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.[23]

In California's 24th Congressional District, The Chamber spent $118,000 to elect Abel Maldonado.[23]

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, Elton Gallegly won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Timothy J. Allison in the general election.[24]

U.S. House, California District 24 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngElton Gallegly Incumbent 59.9% 144,055
     Democratic Timothy J. Allison 40.1% 96,279
Total Votes 240,334

See also

External links


  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. "Lois Capps running for re-election",, July 29, 2011
  8. "Afternoon Fix: RNC staffs up, Mitch Daniels defends himself",, February 24, 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 "GOP hopefuls eager to oust Capps",, October 20, 2011
  10. New York Times, "House Race Ratings," accessed August 7, 2012
  11., "California Incumbents Face New Challenges In November," July 18, 2012
  12. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  13. Washington Post blog, "The 10 House districts that might surprise you," May 11, 2012
  14. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer, "California's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  15. Labels & Lists, "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  16. California Secretary of State, "Congressional Voter Registration Statistics," May 21, 2012
  17. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in California," September 2012
  18. Cook Political Report, "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" accessed October 2012
  19. Federal Election Commission, "Lois Capps April Quarterly," accessed July 10, 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Lois Capps Pre-Primary," accessed July 10, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Abel Maldonado April Quarterly," accessed July 10, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Abel Maldonado Pre-Primary," accessed July 10, 2012
  23. 23.0 23.1 National Journal, "Chamber Drops $3.3 Million for California Repubs," September 27, 2012
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013