THE RACE IS ON: California Congressional Contests Heat Up
Democratic state Sen. Joe Baca won California's 42nd Congressional District seat on Tuesday, defeating GOP contender Elia Pirozzi, 52% to 44%, in a special election to replace the late Democratic Rep. George Brown, the New York Times reports. Although political analysts said the vote "hold[s] few significant clues about what to expect in House races in 2000," Democrats "hailed the Baca victory as a harbinger for next year's elections" (Ayres, 11/18). As Baca prepares to serve out the remainder of Brown's term, the warmups are beginning for other California congressional hopefuls. With the state filing deadline for the 2000 elections only weeks away (Dec. 10), campaign committees are in "the middle of crunch time," CongressDaily/A.M notes. Hotly contested races include:
- 15th Congressional District: CongressDaily/A.M. predicts "major action," as current Republican Rep. Tom Campbell considers vacating the spot in favor of a U.S. Senate run. An open seat in the "Democratic-leaning district" would be a "big opportunity" for the party, but the candidate will have to face down likely GOP contender state Assemblyman Jim Cunneen (San Jose).
- 24th Congressional District: Although Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman will face little serious challenge, "the race is sure to be entertaining" with former Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff Baxter running on the GOP ticket.
- 27th Congressional District: "A marquee race of 2000" will feature a face-off between Republican Rep. James Rogan, former House impeachment manager, and state Sen. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).
- 31st Congressional District: Rep. Matthew Martinez (D) will have to face down an unusually "tough primary challenge" from state Sen. Hilda Solis (D-El Monte).
- 36th Congressional District: Former Rep. Jane Harman (D) may make a comeback attempt, although that possibility is "looking more and more unlikely," rendering Republican Rep. Steve Kuykendall's seat "fairly safe."
- 42nd Congressional District: It remains to be seen whether Baca will be able to hold on to his new position. Rep. Brown's widow, Marta Macias Brown (D), may challenge him once again in the primary.
- 46th Congressional District: Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) will encounter her "toughest opponent yet," as she vies with 1998 state schools superintendent Gloria Matta Tuchman.
- 48th Congressional District: An open seat in the "solidly Republican district" will pit businessman Darrell Issa and perhaps GOP San Diego Mayor Susan Golding against each other. Plus, former 6th District GOP Rep. Robert Dornan may be moving in.
- 49th Congressional District: Former Clinton administration official, attorney Wade Sanders, looks to oust Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray. State Assemblywoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) is also mounting a challenge, with a campaign war chest that already tops $250,000 (11/18).