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3 California Democrats to get extra help in congressional races

January 18, 2012 | 12:11 pm

Three California candidates will be included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” effort to win back the House majority this fall, party campaign leaders announced Wednesday.

Mark Takano, a teacher and elected board member of the Riverside Community College District, is running in the new, open 41st Congressional District, while physician Ami Bera will reprise his challenge to Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) in the newly drawn 7th District and NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez will take on Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater) in the newly drawn 10th District.

They are among 18 congressional candidates across the country who already have demonstrated strong fundraising and campaign organization and have shown they “are problem solvers who will represent new priorities when elected to Congress,” the Democratic campaign committee said in a news release announcing its top candidates.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-New York), the committee chairman, also named several competitive California districts the organization will  be targeting in hopes of adding them to the Democrats’ column. They are  three open seats — for the 26th District in Ventura County, the 31st District in the Inland Empire, the 47th District in Long Beach — and the newly drawn 52nd District seat currently held by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad).

Candidates chosen for the Red to Blue program are offered financial, communications, grass-roots and strategic help. Officials said this is the earliest the program has been implemented in an election cycle.


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