California's 47th Congressional District elections, 2012

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California's 47th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
June 5, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Alan Lowenthal Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Loretta Sanchez Democratic Party
Loretta Sanchez.jpg

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

Flag of California.png
The 47th congressional district of California will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.
This is the 47th 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 is October 22.[1]

See also: California elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Loretta Sanchez (D), who was first elected in 1996. However, due to heavy redistricting, the current incumbent of the district will most likely no longer remain in the district.

According to a Cook Political Report analysis, the 47th district is one of 13 congressional districts in California that may be competitive in 2012. The analysis rated it as Likely Democratic.[2]

This will be the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. California's 47th congressional district is located in the southern portion of the state and includes part of Orange 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 has also led to an increase in campaign spending, due to the fact that competition within political parties will last 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 will have same-party candidates battling in the November 6 general election. Of those, seven are between Democrats.[5]

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


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been 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

Democratic Party Alan Lowenthal Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Gary DeLong

June 5, 2012, primary results

Race background

California's 47th is considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings. Democrats currently have a 10% edge in registration, but Republicans think it is possible to gain the seat with Gary DeLong, who is portrayed as a moderate Republican. [9]

California's 47th District has been included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identifies districts that the organization has specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[10]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

The 47th district was re-drawn after the 2010 Census. The new district is composed of the following percentages of voters of the old congressional districts.[11][12]

Registration statistics

As of October 24, 2012, District 47 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the California Secretary of State:

California Congressional District 47[13]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 47 358,906 151,927 111,176 95,803 Democratic 36.65% -14.98%
"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.[14]

  • 2012: 56D / 44R
  • 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 47th congressional district has a PVI of D+5, which is the 150th most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 60-40 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 52-48 percent over George W. Bush (R).[15]

Campaign contributions

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

Alan Lowenthal

Alan Lowenthal (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[16]April 15, 2012$169,213.90$172,779.50$(58,777.30)$283,216.10
Pre-Primary [17]May 24, 2012$283,216.10$42,175$(88,503.66)$236,887.44
Running totals

Gary DeLong

Gary DeLong (2012) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[18]April 13, 2012$367,485.58$159,553.71$(122,747.12)$404,292.17
Pre-Primary [19]May 24, 2012$404,292.17$58,269$(143,931.68)$318,629.49
Running totals

Chamber of commerce spending

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will spend a total of $3.3 million on television advertisements aimed at electing ten California Republican congressional candidates, Democratic sources have told Hotline.[20]

In California's 47th congressional district, The Chamber will spend $317,000 to elect Gary DeLong.[20]

District history


On November 2, 2010, Loretta Sanchez won re-election to the United States House. She defeated Van Tran and Cecilia Iglesias in the general election.[21]

U.S. House, California District 47 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngLoretta Sanchez Incumbent 53% 50,832
     Republican Van Tran 39.3% 37,679
     Independent Cecilia Iglesias 7.8% 7,443
Total Votes 95,954

See also

External links


  1. California Secretary of State "Elections FAQ," Accessed July 20, 2012
  2. The Cook Political Report 2012 Competitive House Race Chart
  3. California Redistricting Map "Map" Accessed September 25, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Los Angeles Times, "Few centrists advance in California's new primary system," June 7, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Reuters, "Democrats face Democrats in new California election system," June 6, 2012
  6. "State Senator Announces Bid in New Long Beach District",, June 17, 2011
  7. "UPDATE: Councilmember Gary DeLong Announces Run for Congress, Endorsed By Governor Deukmejian and Supervisor Knabe",, August 17, 2011
  8. "EXCLUSIVE: Former Rep. Steven Kuykendall To Run For 47th Congressional District",, August 24, 2011
  9. New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed August 7, 2012
  10. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  11. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer "California's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  12. Labels & Lists "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  13. California Secretary of State, "Congressional Voter Registration Statistics," May 21, 2012
  14. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Arizona," September 2012
  15. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  16. Federal Election Commission "Alan Lowenthal April Quarterly," Accessed July 10, 2012
  17. Federal Election Commission "Alan Lowenthal Pre-Primary," Accessed July 10, 2012
  18. Federal Election Commission "Gary DeLong April Quarterly," Accessed July 10, 2012
  19. Federal Election Commission "Gary DeLong Pre-Primary," Accessed July 10, 2012
  20. 20.0 20.1 National Journal, "Chamber Drops $3.3 Million for California Repubs," September 27, 2012
  21. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"