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Monday, May 14, 2012

State Might Have More Women, Minorities Than White Men in 2013 Congressional Caucus

Posted By on Mon, May 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

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There's a decent chance that in 2013, white men will not rule California's congressional caucus for a change.

Currently, 28 of California's 53 representatives are white men. Of the other 25, 19 are women, nine of whom are minorities, and six are minority men.

Because of redistricting, handled by an independent commission, California's "potential scope of the upheaval" is "easily the largest anywhere in the nation," the New York Times concluded in February. At least six representatives are retiring and 10 races are competitive.

On Sunday, the Chronicle reported that David Wasserman, the House editor for the non-partisan newsletter Cook Political Report, said he expects the caucus to be 46 to 48 percent white men by 2013, which would mean that women and minority men gain two to four seats in November.

Many of the anticipated demographic changes reflect the state's rapidly growing Hispanic population, particularly in southern California's central corridor. According to the 2010 census, California is 40.1 percent white, 37.6 percent Hispanic, 13 percent Asian, and 6.2 percent black.

The boundary shake-up has produced four open seats in districts that are majority Hispanic: 71 percent in the 21st, 69 percent in the 51st and the 29th, and 56 percent in the 41st. The open 31st district is 49 percent Hispanic. Three Hispanic men and a white woman are among the candidates in the open 26th, which is 43 percent Hispanic and 46 percent white. And in the 36th, where Hispanics now outnumber whites, Democrat Paul Ruiz is challenging Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

The Democratic Party hopes to gain a seat in the Central Valley's10th District as well, where Jose Hernandez is challenging Republican incumbent Jeff Dunham. Hernandez received a $10,000 contribution from national Democratic SuperPac AmeriPac.

Two Indian-Americans are also in the political hunt. Ami Bera, a Democrat, is once again going after Rep. Dan Lungren's Seventh District seat in Sacramento. Lungren topped Bera by seven points in the 2010 Republican wave. Rohit Khanna, former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Commerce Department, has raised $1.2 million in preparations for a run at the 15th District in Fremont. However, he has said that he will only run if Rep. Pete Stark, who's been in the House for 40 years, retires. Only one Indian-American, Dalip Singh Saund, has ever served in the House, from '57 to '63.

And for the question you are all wondering: Which state with the highest percentage of women and minorities in its congressional caucus? Hawaii, with 100 percent. Both of the state's representatives are Asian-American women.

The California primary is June 5.

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Albert Samaha

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