From the San Jose Mercury News:
House Democrats’ path to power starts in Elk Grove, Calif., heads down to sunny Modesto and then rolls through the Central Valley to Riverside as the state’s friendly redrawn congressional districts and a number of GOP retirements offer Democrats their best opportunity for victories in November.
Republicans acknowledge that Democrats will gain seats in a highly intense election year, especially with President Barack Obama and the economy on the upswing. But capturing 25 seats nationwide and retaking House control after two years in the minority? That’s nothing but California dreamin’, Republicans say.
Tea partyers and voter frustration with Obama’s policies helped Republicans deliver a sound drubbing to Democrats in 2010. The GOP won a net of 63 seats, seized the majority and elected Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as speaker. The GOP currently holds 242 seats to 192 for the Democrats with one vacancy—former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Arizona seat, which will be filled in a special election June 12.
Despite those numbers, Democrats envision gains in California, with the potential for four to eight seats. Illinois, Florida and Texas are fertile territory to increase their numbers. Even though Texas’ new election map remains in limbo, Democrats saw potential gains in the Republican-drawn version and figure court-approved boundaries will only get better as they take into account the state’s growing Hispanic population.