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California's 23rd Congressional District elections, 2012

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California's 23rd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

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

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

Flag of California.png
The 23rd congressional district of California held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.

22nd district incumbent Kevin McCarthy (R) won the election.[1]

This is the 23rd 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 Lois Capps (D), who was first elected in 1998.

This was the first election which used new district maps based on 2010 Census data. California's 23rd congressional district is located in the south-central portion of the state and includes parts of Kern and Tulare counties.[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 of California's 53 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

Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals will be added when official election results are certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Republican Party Kevin McCarthy Green check mark transparent.png
Independent Terry Phillips


June 5, 2012, primary results

Election Results

General election

U.S. House, California District 23 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngKevin McCarthy Incumbent 73.2% 158,161
     Independent Terry Phillips 26.8% 57,842
Total Votes 216,003
Source: California Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

The 23rd district was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[7][8]

Registration statistics

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

California Congressional District 23[9]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 23 310,733 92,331 145,613 72,789 Republican 57.71% 127.51%
"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 23rd District became more Republican because of redistricting.[10]

  • 2012: 34D / 66R
  • 2010: 35D / 65R

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 23rd congressional district has a PVI of R+18, which is the 29th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 63-37 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 71-29 percent over John Kerry (D).[11]

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.

Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[12]April 15, 2012$2,515,651.20$731,256.59$(667,010)$2,579,897.79
Pre-Primary [13]May 24, 2012$2,579,897.79$190,665.65$(188,203.98)$2,582,359.46
Running totals
$921,922.24$(855,213.98)

Terry Phillips

Terry Phillips (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[14]April 14, 2012$0$9,233.18$(2,718.83)$6,514.35
Pre-Primary [15]May 24, 2012$6,514.35$4,848.50$(4,264.51)$7,098.34
Running totals
$14,081.68$(6,983.34)

District history

2010

On November 2, 2010, Lois Capps won re-election to the United States House. She defeated Tom Watson, John V. Hager, and Darrell M. Stafford in the general election.[16]

U.S. House, California District 23 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngLois Capps Incumbent 57.8% 111,768
     Republican Tom Watson 37.6% 72,744
     Independent John V. Hager 2.9% 5,625
     Libertarian Darrell M. Stafford 1.7% 3,326
Total Votes 193,463

See also

External links

References