California Democrats focus on normally safe GOP House seats

Democratic plans to target half of California’s 14 Republican members of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections represent a high-stakes bet that President Trump’s continuing unpopularity in the state will filter down to even the strongest GOP candidates.

There’s going to be a backlash in the state from voters still outraged that the GOP businessman was elected at all and others upset with Trump’s plans for the nation, said Robin Swanson, a spokeswoman for the California Democratic Party.

“Donald Trump lost California by more than 4 million votes,” she said. “When Republicans align themselves with his unpopular policies, it’s going to stick.”

Democrats plan to spend the money to make that happen.

California’s seven GOP targets represent nearly a third of the 24 seats Democrats need to take control of the House and return San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi to the speakership. Nationwide, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has identified 59 Republican-held districts they believe can be flipped.

There are some familiar names on the Democratic hit list. Jeff Denham of Turlock (Stanislaus County), David Valadao of Hanford (Kings County) and Steve Knight of Lancaster (Los Angeles County) were all targets in 2016, and Darrell Issa of Vista (San Diego County) barely held on to his seat.

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