One local Democrat is singing the blues over the new redistricting draft maps released on June 10. As in, the Santa Clarita Valley becoming bluer or more Democratic.
Traditional political strongholds such as the 25th Congressional District, the 17th State Senate District and the 38th Assembly District all went under the red revision pen of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. And the Republican powerbase may be crumbling according to the immediate past President of the Democratic Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, Michael Cruz.
“You know, the Republican party has lost a lot of voter registration numbers. And the Democrats have been making gains,” said Cruz.
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Particularly vulnerable according to Cruz is the 38th Assembly District currently held by former Santa Clarita City Councilman Cameron Smyth.
“If the 38th goes through as proposed. The numbers I saw: Democrats would be 38% of registered voters, Republicans would be 37% of registered voters and the rest would declined to state and other third parties,” said Cruz.
Smyth admits the 38th has the potential of being a tight race.
“It could. The seat right now is only a 3 point Republican seat already. So, it’s a fairly competitive seat or it’s seen as a competitive seat now,” Smyth said.
Complicating election prognostication is the new open primary law.
On June 9, 2010 California voters approved Proposition 14, known as the open primary measure, which allows the top two vote getters in the primary election to advance to the general election without regard to party affiliation. The change could result in two candidates from the same party running against each other for some state and federal races without having to run against the other party.
However, no one is certain what the future hold for keeping Republican control of local elections.
“I think right now all the staff and all the political people are scrambling right now to add up the numbers. To see what, if these maps hold, what it would look like. Certainly I think combining the redistricting commission and the top two primary is going to change somewhat the maps of Sacramento,” Smyth said.
Cruz focuses on party registration numbers. And that makes him a happy member of the blue man group.
“If you break it down by the actual precinct polling places there are certain areas that are going bluer. For example Stevenson Ranch and West Ranch definitely votes more Democratic. Fair Oaks Ranch area votes Democratic. Those areas are going to be incorporated into the city,” Cruz said.
Smyth, who terms out in 2012, is looking beyond party affiliation.
“The most important thing is making sure that you have candidates that fit the district, regardless of party registration. You need candidates that are a good fit,” Smyth said.
Final redistricting maps and future elections will determine whether stronghold Republicans will be seeing red or singing a different kind of blues.