California's 31st Congressional District elections, 2012

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California's 31st Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Gary Miller Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Xavier Becerra Democratic Party
Xavier Becerra.jpg

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

Flag of California.png
The 31st Congressional District of California held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

Former 42nd District incumbent Gary Miller (R) won the election.[1]

This is the 31st 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 Xavier Becerra (D), who was first elected in 1992.

According to a Cook Political Report analysis, the 31st 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 31st Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state and includes the southwestern corner of San Bernardino 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]

Candidates

General election candidates

Republican Party Bob Dutton
Republican Party Gary Miller Green check mark transparent.png


June 5, 2012, primary results

Election results

U.S. House, California District 31 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngGary Miller Incumbent 55.2% 88,964
     Republican Bob Dutton 44.8% 72,255
Total Votes 161,219
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
U.S. House, California District 31 Open Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngGary Miller (R) Incumbent 26.7% 16,708
Green check mark transparent.pngBob Dutton (R) 24.8% 15,557
Pete Aguilar (D) 22.6% 14,181
Justin Kim (D) 13.5% 8,487
Renea Wickman (D) 6.7% 4,188
Rita Ramirez-Dean (D) 5.7% 3,546
Total Votes 62,667

Race background

Incumbent Gary Miller was a part of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, a program to help House Republicans stay on offense and increase their majority in 2012.[13]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

The 31st 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 24, 2012, District 31 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the California Secretary of State:

California Congressional District 31[16]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 31 294,019 119,964 103,904 70,151 Democratic 15.46% -319.52%
"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 31st District became more Democratic because of redistricting.[17]

  • 2012: 54D / 46R
  • 2010: 42D / 58R

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 31st Congressional District has a PVI of D+2, which is the 179th 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 52-48 percent over John Kerry (D).[18]

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.

Bob Dutton

Robert Dutton (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[19]April 13, 2012$0$107,566$(68,633.28)$38,932.72
Pre-Primary[20]May 24, 2012$38,932.72$34,719$(44,767.22)$28,884.50
Running totals
$142,285$(113,400.5)

Gary Miller

Gary Miller (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[21]April 13, 2012$1,074,004$209,623.42$(113,938.77)$1,169,688.65
Pre-Primary[22]May 23, 2012$1,169,688.65$123,447.51$(438,488.16)$854,648
Running totals
$333,070.93$(552,426.93)

Endorsements

Gary Miller was endorsed by the California Republican Party in his battle with former State Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton. The state GOP sent a number of mailers attacking Dutton, who "led Senate Republicans during parts of 2010 and 2011, sat on the party’s board of directors, and has raised money for the party and its causes over the years, including contributing $100,000 to last summer’s effort to overturn Senate lines deemed unfair to the GOP." Dutton's spokesman Chris Orrock said the following of the party, "For what Bob has done for this party over the last 12 years, holding the caucus together during a very difficult period, and raising the money, for them to put their name on a hit piece is disgusting."[23]

District history

Candidate ballot accecss
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2010

On November 2, 2010, Xavier Becerra won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Stephen C. Smith in the general election.[24]

U.S. House, California District 31 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngXavier Becerra Incumbent 83.8% 76,363
     Republican Stephen C. Smith 16.2% 14,740
Total Votes 91,103

See also

External links

References

  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
  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. "Lewis to retire after redistricting makes seat more favorable to Democrats", examiner.com, January 12, 2012
  8. LomaLinda Patch "Loma Linda Native Joins Race for Congressional Seat," accessed March 10, 2012
  9. Roll Call "Redlands Mayor to Run for Congress," accessed March 10, 2012
  10. "ELECTIONS 2012: Wickman seeks congressional seat", pe.com, October 13, 2011
  11. Loma Linda Patch "Sen. Dutton's Entry Adds Intrigue to Race," January 19, 2012
  12. "Lewis to retire after redistricting makes seat more favorable to Democrats" examiner.com, January 12, 2012
  13. NRCC "Patriot Program 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, "Robert Dutton April Quarterly," accessed July 10, 2012
  20. Federal Election Commission, "Robert Dutton Pre-Primary," accessed July 10, 2012
  21. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Miller April Quarterly," accessed July 10, 2012
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Gary Miller Pre-Primary," accessed July 10, 2012
  23. The Press-Enterprise, "ELECTION 2012: State GOP slams Dutton in mailers," October 24, 2012
  24. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013