By John Hrabe | CalWatchdog
SACRAMENTO – California’s 2012 redistricting already is shaking up state and even federal politics. The candidates’ dogfight for the new 26th congressional district could determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives after the November election — or at least the degree of Republican control.
Gallegly would have had to run an uphill challenge against Rep. Buck McKeon in the new 25th District, based on the 2010 U.S. Census. McKeon has been in Congress since 1993 and is chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee.
Gallegly’s other option was a tough general election fight in the 26th Congressional district. The new Ventura County-based district, which includes Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Camarillo, gives Democrats a slight voter-registration advantage.
However, the district has conservative tendencies and voted in favor of Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage initiative. According to Redistricting Partners’ analysis of the district, it went handily to Obama in 2008 and slightly favored Whitman in 2010.
Gallegly’s retirement creates the opportunity for several county politicians to make their moves on the long-coveted seat. The Democratic side already features five announced candidates: Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett, Moorpark Councilman David Pollock, community activist Zeke Ruelas, businessman David Cruz Thayne and Oxnard Harbor District board member Jess Herrera.