Blue Wave Reaches 40 House Seats With Another Dem Win In California

State GOP chairman denies voter fraud, says California is "canary in the coal mine" for national Republican Party.

Although predictions that the Democrat blue wave would founder lasted through the early hours of poll results on Election Day, the extent of the wave has been growing in recent weeks as close races have been decided across the country. With the news that Republican David Valadao has been defeated in California’s 21st congressional district, the Republican losses in the House have reached a total of 40 seats.

The win in CA-21 by Democrat TJ Cox brings the total number of California congressional seats flipped by Democrats to seven. This includes four seats in Orange County, which was a Republican stronghold in the past but became a totally Democrat county in 2018.

As with several other California Republicans, Valadao, who has represented his district since 2013, held a lead on Election night and was initially projected to be the winner. However, absentee ballots arriving after Election Day eroded their lead and eventually flipped the seats to the Democrats. On Nov. 6, Valadao led by 5,000 votes but ultimately lost by 862 votes, less than one percent of the total.

Some Republicans have speculated that fraudulent votes have changed the course of races in California, but so far there is no evidence of wrongdoing. California law requires absentee voters to register seven days before the election and mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received within three days of the election. However, vote counting in California can take longer because California accepts ballots that could be rejected in other states. California law requires counties to notify voters of mistakes, such as missing signatures, that would otherwise invalidate a ballot and gives voters time to correct them. Ballots that were sent to the wrong county are also required to be forwarded to correct location.

Some Republicans also blame a new California law that allows “ballot harvesting.” Effective this year, California allows anyone to return signed and sealed absentee ballots to the local election officials. Previously, only relatives could turn in ballots for absentee voters. The law expressly prohibits paying vote collectors for the number of ballots that they turn in but is silent on whether they can receive an hourly wage for their efforts. While the new law may have led to an increase in the number of absentee votes, the law did not favor Democrats over Republicans except in the ability to find volunteers to collect ballots.

The outgoing chairman of the California Republican Party, former state Sen. Jim Brulte, rejected the notion that voting irregularities led to the Republican rout in the Golden State. Brulte told Politico that Republican candidates were warned about changes to California election laws and failed to take appropriate action.

“We personally briefed the candidates, the congressional delegation, the legislators,” Brulte said, but added, “We’ve not been able to find Republicans having a lot of success anywhere related to ballot harvesting.”

Brulte has other concerns about California as well, warning that, “I believe California is the canary in the coal mine — not an outlier.”

In Brulte’s view, the core problem for California Republicans was that “We have not yet been able to figure out how to effectively communicate and get significant numbers of votes from non-whites.”

Brulte pointed out that demographic trends indicate that “the entire country will be majority minority by 2044” and Republicans have failed to appeal to those new voters. Exit polling shows that the Republican base is becoming increasingly white, male, and rural. These changes mean that Republican candidates must “figure out how we get votes from people who don’t look like you,” Brulte says. The problem is pronounced in California but may soon affect such Republican strongholds as Texas, Florida, and Georgia where Republicans won extremely close races this year.

At this point, there is only one undecided House race left. In North Carolina’s 9th district, Republican activists are accused of illegal ballot harvesting that is similar to what is now legal in California. The allegations of electoral fraud in North Carolina could lead to a new election in that district where Republican Mark Harris eked out a 905 vote win over Democrat Dan McCready.

Comments
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centerright
centerright

The CW is that California switched blue after Pete Wilson and Prop 187, and that was the leading indicator for the rest of us. I don't buy this, because that was 1994 and CA already voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. I reject the notion that California is the bellweather for the future of our nation.

But I will say this. The Republican Party has to do something about this unspoken alliance with white supremacy. It's not turning off minority voters, it's turning off white voters. It's turning off young voters--of all ethnicities. Pete Wilson was not a white supremacist sympathizer. Donald Trump is. And all of those warnings us never-trumpers issued in 2016, about the GOP being destroyed for the next 20 years, may be happening.

MistyBat
MistyBat

In 1994, 25 of California's then-52 (now 53) House members were Republicans; by 2016, the GOP delegation had dropped to 14. This year, post-election, that number is 7. The recent vote harvesting law cannot be blamed for this alarming, near quarter-century slide.

"Any Republican who thinks California is an outlier is not paying attention to the dramatic changes that are occurring demographically across the country. They are accelerating in California and they are coming to a neighborhood near you."

~fmr. State GOP Sen. Jim Brulte

AmericaISgreat
AmericaISgreat

I guess no blame falls to the Republican party and their continual lies that they propagate.

FloridaMan
FloridaMan

The worst part of this is that the "slow rolling wave" meant that the shock of a 40 seat loss was magnitudes less than it'd have been if we got it all on Election Day. It basically saved Trump's bacon and let him slip away with almost no blame for this mess, which he certainly made. If Trump wasn't the President, we'd have kept the House. Without Trump, the Democrats have NOTHING!.

DriverZn
DriverZn

To me the story of 2018 was the collapse of the GOP in the suburbs. 538 has a good analysis of where Trump does well, and where he does poorly.

Basically urban and rural districts are no longer competitive. The suburbs which are still competitive, are rapidly swinging from being a GOP stronghold to a Dem strength.

At this point the #1 predictor of which way a region will vote is population density. Dense area vote Dem, sparse area vote GOP. The point where a given density switch from GOP to Dem seems to be going lower over time.