‘It’s better than typing my thoughts on Facebook.’
Braving the blistering Southern California sun, Patti Adams and her daughter, Olivia, set out to erect signs for Mai Khanh Tran, a political neophyte running for Congress in the 39th District.
Ms. Adams, a 53-year-old educator, typifies the newly engaged Californian Democrats: She watched elections from the sidelines all her life, she said. Then Donald J. Trump’s presidential victory and his policies on health care, education, immigration and the environment compelled her to change from an informed voter to a campaign activist.
A resident of Diamond Bar, a diverse, middle-class community outside of Los Angeles, Ms. Adams said that she saw in Dr. Tran a candidate whose views aligned with hers and who was not tainted by special interests. Ms. Adams has done policy research, made voter calls and prepared mailers for Dr. Tran, a Vietnamese refugee and pediatrician raised in California.
“It has been so empowering for me,” she said, as she drove around with a stash of signs in her silver Dodge Caravan van. “It’s better than typing my thoughts on Facebook.”
Then, spotting a prime spot at a busy intersection near a strip mall, she got out to plant a sign.
A Republican incumbent is under pressure in the Antelope Valley.
Democratic strategists view the sprawling 25th District — one of the few bastions of conservatism in Los Angeles County — as one of their best opportunities nationwide to flip a seat.
Mrs. Clinton won the district in 2016, and Democrats see vulnerabilities in the voting record of the Republican incumbent, Representative Steve Knight: He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and in favor of the tax law. That might not sit well in a largely working- and middle-class district that could be hit hard by new regulations that limit deductions in high-tax states like California.
And younger, more left-leaning families who were priced out of the Los Angeles housing market have moved into the district, diversifying the population, which is now nearly 40 percent Latino.
“This is the Democratic stronghold,” said Bryan Caforio, one of the leading Democratic candidates in the race. “There are more Democrats in the Antelope Valley than anywhere else.”
The 49th District is heading toward a nail-biter.
The primary in the 49th District — one of the most hotly pursued seats by Democrats — remains a nail-biter shortly before Election Day.
The 49th runs along the coast, stretching from the southern tip of Orange County down past Encinitas toward San Diego. Campaign ads in the district have been heavy on ocean scenery and personality, if light on policy.
Democrats are seeking to flip the district from Republican control as part of their plan to win the House in November. But a glut of Democratic candidates and a sharp gap in Democratic voters threatens to split the vote enough to keep liberals out of the general election altogether.
Polls in the district have delivered contradictory signals about who is likeliest to proceed to the general election. The candidates who have most recently ranked in the top two include the Democrats Mike Levin, Doug Applegate and Sara Jacobs, along with the Republicans Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey.
The tossup status of the race harks back to the 2016 election, when Representative Darrell Issa, the Republican incumbent, won by fewer than 2,000 votes even as voters in the area backed Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Trump by 7 percentage points. Mr. Issa is not running for re-election.
Democrats face a crowded field in the Central Valley.
Jerry Kinkey, 71, is precisely the type of voter that Democrats are counting on this year. He also offers a cautionary tale for the long list of Democrats fighting it out for a spot on the November ballot.
In the driveway of his home in Tracy, on the western fringe of the 10th District, Mr. Kinkey, a registered Republican and a Vietnam veteran, said he had flipped in this election. He voted by mail last week.
He dropped his support of Jeff Denham, the Republican incumbent, because Mr. Denham voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The top Democratic contenders to unseat him include Josh Harder, a former technology venture capitalist who has raised $1.5 million for his campaign; Virginia Madueño, the former mayor of the small city of Riverbank; and Sue Zwahlen, an emergency room nurse.
So which Democrat did Mr. Kinkey pick?
There were so many names on the ballot, he can’t remember. “I had to wing it,” he said.
If you shrank California’s political dynamics down to a single constituency it might look something like the 10th District, a patchwork of liberal-leaning cities and more conservative rural farming communities east of San Jose. There are rows and rows of peach and cherry trees, almond groves and cattle farms. And there are also fast-growing cities like Tracy and Manteca, which increasingly serve as bedroom communities for the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2016, Mr. Denham, a businessman, squeaked past his Democratic challenger, Michael Eggman, a beekeeper. (Mr. Eggman is running again.)
Mr. Denham, who has raised $3 million, is widely considered a shoo-in on Tuesday. There is also the seemingly remote possibility of two Republicans advancing in the jungle primary: Ted Howze, a veterinarian active in Republican politics in the city of Turlock, is challenging Mr. Denham, although federal filings show he has not raised any money.
All eyes are on November in the 21st District.
In the 21st District, where tumbleweeds blow across the freeway that cuts through miles and miles of peach and almond farms, the suspense is not around who will win Tuesday’s primary, but on just how motivated Democrats are to flip this district from red to blue come November.
Only two names are on the ballot in this congressional race, so both will advance: Representative David G. Valadao, the Republican incumbent since 2013, and the Democratic challenger, T.J. Cox, an engineer and businessman from Fresno. For now, Mr. Cox has been phone banking at his field office in Hanford, not far from where Mr. Valadao has been meeting with constituents and the California Farm Bureau.
Though this Central Valley district has long been represented in Congress by Republicans, there are nearly 40,000 more Democrats registered to vote than Republicans, and Mrs. Clinton beat out Mr. Trump here in 2016.
News credit : Nytimes