Image courtesy of the Associated Press: http://politi.co/1tOHRQO
Is Central California becoming more conservative and are other parts of the Golden State turning conservative?
Is it possible?
ABC30 Action News Political Analyst Tony Capozzi says "The Valley is becoming more conservative despite voter registration."
You may only need to look at the map of California's Congressional Districts and the House race between incumbent Democrat Jim Costa and his Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra to reach a conclusion of your own.
The 16th Congressional District where Costa was trying to claim a 6th term... favors a Democrat in voter registration.
Yet... once again, Costa finds himself locked in another "nail-biter" in his bid to win re-election.
First, he battled Andy Vidak.
Now, two years later... it's Johnny Tacherra.
As of this writing, Costa is leading Tacherra by only 86 votes with thousands of votes still to be counted in Merced, Madera, and Fresno Counties.
If Costa hangs on, the 16th Congressional District will stay a "blue" island in a sea of "red".
From nearly top to bottom, the interior of California is GOP Red in regards to the state's Congressional Districts.
15 Republicans currently represent California in Congress and most of them come from the interior of the state.
The large population centers of the Bay Area, Coastal California, and greater Los Angeles remain solid "blue".
Look at the California Congressional District map.
If Tacherra wins...District 16 turns "red"... as will District 7 unless Democratic incumbent Ami Bera holds on to his current slim lead over Republican challenger and former Congressman Doug Ose.
Democrats Jerry McNerney (Dist 9) and John Garamendi (Dist 3) will return to Congress, but McNerney won by 4000 votes and Garamendi by less than 6000 votes.
Tony Capozzi says many Democrats found themselves in trouble in recent elections despite voter registrations that favor them.
He adds that even if a voting district leans 50-to-55% Democratic in voter registration... it's still considered a conservative district because Democrats traditionally don't get out the vote.
Capozzi believes Democrats in the Central Valley and the state's interior are a different breed than Democrats back east or on the California Coast.
They're not as liberal.
Capozzi also says if Costa loses...three reasons are to blame: The unpopularity of President Obama, Democrats failed to get out the vote, and California's most popular Democrat, Governor Jerry Brown, did not mount a major re-election campaign which might have rallied Democratic voters.
Speaking of the Governor's race... another map of California voted highlights the red/blue political struggle in the state.
Image courtesy of the Associated Press: http://politi.co/1u7WHFG
Governor Brown won the heavily populated urban centers of the coast, but Republican Neel Kashkari won the less populated interior counties of California.
The Red vs Blue battle extends to the State Legislature where Democrats are still the majority, but not the super majority.
Republicans knocked several incumbent Democrats from their seats on Election Night and kept their rivals from regaining their super majority status in the State Senate and Assembly.
The GOP lawmakers will now have more of a say in policy and budget issues.
Of course, all this could swing the other way in two years when voters focus on a Presidential election and the down-ticket races.