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California's congressional districts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

California's Congressional districts since 2013.

California is the most populous U.S. state and as a result has the most representation in the United States House of Representatives, with 53 Representatives. Each Representative represents one congressional district.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Congressional Elections: Crash Course Government and Politics #6


Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government and Politics, and today we're going to talk about what is, if you ask the general public, the most important part of politics: elections. If you ask me, it's hair styles. Look at Martin Van Buren's sideburns, how could he not be elected? Americans are kind of obsessed with elections, I mean when this was being recorded in early 2015, television, news and the internet were already talking about who would be Democrat and Republican candidates for president in 2016. And many of the candidates have unofficially been campaigning for years. I've been campaigning; your grandma's been campaigning. Presidential elections are exciting and you can gamble on them. Is that legal, can you gamble on them, Stan? Anyway, why we're so obsessed with them is a topic for another day. Right now I'm gonna tell you that the fixation on the presidential elections is wrong, but not because the president doesn't matter. No, today we're gonna look at the elections of the people that are supposed to matter the most, Congress. Constitutionally at least, Congress is the most important branch of government because it is the one that is supposed to be the most responsive to the people. One of the main reasons it's so responsive, at least in theory, is the frequency of elections. If a politician has to run for office often, he or she, because unlike the president we have women serving in Congress, kind of has to pay attention to what the constituents want, a little bit, maybe. By now, I'm sure that most of you have memorized the Constitution, so you recognize that despite their importance in the way we discuss politics, elections aren't really a big feature of the Constitution. Except of course for the ridiculously complex electoral college system for choosing the president, which we don't even want to think about for a few episodes. In fact, here's what the Constitution says about Congressional Elections in Article 1 Section 2: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature." So the Constitution does establish that the whole of the house is up for election every 2 years, and 1/3 of the senate is too, but mainly it leaves the scheduling and rules of elections up to the states. The actual rules of elections, like when the polls are open and where they actually are, as well as the registration requirements, are pretty much up to the states, subject to some federal election law. If you really want to know the rules in your state, I'm sure that someone at the Board of Elections, will be happy to explain them to you. Really, you should give them a call; they're very, very lonely. In general though, here's what we can say about American elections. First stating the super obvious, in order to serve in congress, you need to win an election. In the House of Representatives, each election district chooses a single representative, which is why we call them single-member districts. The number of districts is determined by the Census, which happens every 10 years, and which means that elections ending in zeros are super important, for reasons that I'll explain in greater detail in a future episode. It's because of gerrymandering. The Senate is much easier to figure out because both of the state Senators are elected by the entire state. It's as if the state itself were a single district, which is true for states like Wyoming, which are so unpopulated as to have only 1 representative. Sometimes these elections are called at large elections. Before the election ever happens, you need candidates. How candidates are chosen differs from state to state, but usually it has something to do with political parties, although it doesn't have to. Why are things so complicated?! What we can say is that candidates, or at least good candidates, usually have certain characteristics. Sorry America. First off, if you are gonna run for office, you should have an unblemished record, free of, oh I don't know, felony convictions or sex scandals, except maybe in Louisiana or New York. This might lead to some pretty bland candidates or people who are so calculating that they have no skeletons in their closet, but we Americans are a moral people and like our candidates to reflect our ideals rather than our reality. The second characteristic that a candidate must possess is the ability to raise money. Now some candidates are billionaires and can finance their own campaigns. But most billionaires have better things to do: buying yachts, making even more money, building money forts, buying more yachts, so they don't have time to run for office. But most candidates get their money for their campaigns by asking for it. The ability to raise money is key, especially now, because running for office is expensive. Can I get a how expensive is it? "How expensive is it?!" Well, so expensive that the prices of elections continually rises and in 2012 winners of House races spent nearly 2 million each. Senate winners spent more than 10 million. By the time this episode airs, I'm sure the numbers will be much higher like a gajillion billion million. Money is important in winning an election, but even more important, statistically, is already being in Congress. Let's go to the Thought Bubble. The person holding an office who runs for that office again is called the incumbent and has a big advantage over any challenger. This is according to political scientists who, being almost as bad at naming things as historians, refer to this as incumbency advantage. There are a number of reasons why incumbents tend to hold onto their seats in congress, if they want to. The first is that a sitting congressman has a record to run on, which we hope includes some legislative accomplishments, although for the past few Congresses, these don't seem to matter. The record might include case work, which is providing direct services to constituents. This is usually done by congressional staffers and includes things like answering questions about how to get certain government benefits or writing recommendation letters to West Point. Congressmen can also provide jobs to constituents, which is usually a good way to get them to vote for you. These are either government jobs, kind of rare these days, called patronage or indirect employment through government contracts for programs within a Congressman's district. These programs are called earmarks or pork barrel programs, and they are much less common now because Congress has decided not to use them any more, sort of. The second advantage that incumbents have is that they have a record of winning elections, which if you think about it, is pretty obvious. Being a proven winner makes it easier for a congressmen to raise money, which helps them win, and long term incumbents tend to be more powerful in Congress which makes it even easier for them to raise money and win. The Constitution give incumbents one structural advantage too. Each elected congressman is allowed $100,000 and free postage to send out election materials. This is called the franking privilege. It's not so clear how great an advantage this is in the age of the internet, but at least according to the book The Victory Lab, direct mail from candidates can be surprisingly effective. How real is this incumbency advantage? Well if you look at the numbers, it seems pretty darn real. Over the past 60 years, almost 90% of members of The House of Representatives got re-elected. The Senate has been even more volatile, but even at the low point in 1980 more than 50% of sitting senators got to keep their jobs. Thanks, Thought Bubble. You're so great. So those are some of the features of congressional elections. Now, if you'll permit me to get a little politically sciencey, I'd like to try to explain why elections are so important to the way that Congressmen and Senators do their jobs. In 1974, political scientist David Mayhew published a book in which he described something he called "The Electoral Connection." This was the idea that Congressmen were primarily motivated by the desire to get re-elected, which intuitively makes a lot of sense, even though I'm not sure what evidence he had for this conclusion. Used to be able to get away with that kind of thing I guess, clearly David may-not-hew to the rules of evidence, pun [rim shot], high five, no. Anyway Mayhew's research methodology isn't as important as his idea itself because The Electoral Connection provides a frame work for understanding congressman's activities. Mayhew divided representatives' behaviors and activities into three categories. The first is advertising; congressmen work to develop their personal brand so that they are recognizable to voters. Al D'Amato used to be know in New York as Senator Pothole, because he was able to bring home so much pork that he could actually fix New York's streets. Not by filling them with pork, money, its money, remember pork barrel spending? The second activity is credit claiming; Congressmen get things done so that they can say they got them done. A lot of case work and especially pork barrel spending are done in the name of credit claiming. Related to credit claiming, but slightly different, is position taking. This means making a public judgmental statement on something likely to be of interest to voters. Senators can do this through filibusters. Representatives can't filibuster, but they can hold hearings, publicly supporting a hearing is a way of associating yourself with an idea without having to actually try to pass legislation. And of course they can go on the TV, especially on Sunday talk shows. What's a TV, who even watches TV? Now the idea of The Electoral Connection doesn't explain every action a member of Congress takes; sometimes they actually make laws to benefit the public good or maybe solve problems, huh, what an idea! But Mayhew's idea gives us a way of thinking about Congressional activity, an analytical lens that connects what Congressmen actually do with how most of us understand Congressmen, through elections. So the next time you see a Congressmen call for a hearing on a supposed horrible scandal or read about a Senator threatening to filibuster a policy that may have significant popular support, ask yourself, "Is this Representative claiming credit or taking a position, and how will this build their brand?" In other words: what's the electoral connection and how will whatever they're doing help them get elected? This might feel a little cynical, but the reality is Mayhew's thesis often seems to fit with today's politics. Thanks for watching, see you next week. Vote for me; I'm on the TV. I'm not -- I'm on the YouTube. Crash Course: Government and Politics is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives at Crash Course is made by all of these nice people. Thanks for watching. That guy isn't nice.


1992: Court ordered districts

The 1990 census gave California seven additional congressional seats. Attempts by the legislature to draw up new districts were unsuccessful, as three different plans drawn up by the Democratic-controlled Legislature were vetoed by Republican governor Pete Wilson. In September 1991 the California Supreme Court took jurisdiction over the redistricting process to break the stalemate.[1][2] Districts were drawn up by a panel of retired judges.

2002: Bipartisan redistricting

After the 2000 census, the California State Legislature was obliged to complete redistricting[3] for House of Representatives districts (in accordance with Article 1, Section 4 of the United States Constitution) as well as California State Assembly and California State Senate districts. It was mutually decided by legislators that the status quo in terms of balance of power would be preserved - a so-called Incumbent Protection Plan.[4] A bipartisan gerrymandering effort was done, and districts were configured in such a way that they were dominated by one or the other party, with few districts that could be considered competitive. In some cases this resulted in extremely convoluted boundary lines.

In the 2004 elections, a win by less than 55 percent of the vote was quite rare. This was seen in only five out of 80 State Assembly seats and two out of 20 State Senate seats up for election. The congressional seats were even less competitive than the state legislative districts - just three of the 53 districts were won with less than 60 percent of the vote in 2004.

2012: Citizens Redistricting Commission

Proposition 11, a California ballot proposition known as the Voters FIRST Act, was approved by the voters on November 4, 2008. It removed from the California Legislature the responsibility for drawing the state's congressional districts, and gave the responsibility instead to a 14-member Citizens Commission.[5] The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of removing the responsibility from the legislature. The proposition also required that the districts drawn up (1) comply with the federal Voting Rights Act; (2) make districts contiguous; (3) respect, to the extent possible, the integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods and "communities of interest"; and (4) to the extent possible, make districts compact. Several of these terms are not defined in law.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had earlier proposed placing the redistricting process in the hands of retired judges, which was on the November ballot as an initiative in a special election (called by the Governor on June 14, 2005), Proposition 77. The special election was held on November 8, 2005. However, the initiative was overwhelmingly defeated, with 59 percent voting no. All initiatives, including those proposed by the Governor's allies and several independent initiatives, failed that year.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission certified final district maps on August 15, 2011, and they took effect with the 2012 election.[6] The new districts are described as more "purple" than "red" or "blue" - that is, more mixed in electoral composition compared to the mostly "safe" districts of the previous decade, where incumbents were almost guaranteed re-election. An interactive map comparing the old districts with the new ones is available via the Los Angeles Times.[7]

These new districts, combined with demographic trends over several decades that favored the Democratic party, resulted in a gain of four House of Representatives seats for California Democrats in the 2012 elections.

Current districts and representatives

List of members of the California United States House delegation, their terms in office, district boundaries, and their political ratings according to the CPVI. The delegation for the 116th Congress has a total of 53 members, with initially 46 Democrats (including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) and 7 Republicans (including minority leader Kevin McCarthy). This represents an increase in the Democrats' hold on California from the preceding 115th Congress; in the 2018 elections, Democrats were elected in 7 previously Republican-held seats. One seat is vacant since the resignation of Democrat Katie Hill on October 27, 2019.

District Representative Party CPVI Incumbent time in office District map
Doug LaMalfa 113th Congress official photo.jpg
Doug LaMalfa (R-Oroville)
Republican R+11 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 1 (since 2013).tif
Jared Huffman official photo.png
Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael)
Democratic D+22 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 2 (since 2013).tif
John Garamendi official photo.jpg
John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove)
Democratic D+5 November 3, 2009 – present California US Congressional District 3 (since 2013).tif
Tom McClintock, Official Portrait.JPG
Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove)
Republican R+10 January 3, 2009 – present California US Congressional District 4 (since 2013).tif
Mike Thompson.jpg
Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena)
Democratic D+21 January 3, 1999 – present California US Congressional District 5 (since 2013).tif
Doris Matsui Official Photo.JPG
Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento)
Democratic D+21 March 10, 2005 – present California US Congressional District 6 (since 2013).tif
Ami Bera official portrait (cropped).jpg
Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove)
Democratic D+3 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 7 (since 2013).tif
Paul Cook, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley)
Republican R+9 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 8 (since 2013).tif
Jerry McNerney (2014).jpg
Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton)
Democratic D+8 January 3, 2007 – present California US Congressional District 9 (since 2013).tif
Josh Harder, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Josh Harder (D-Turlock)
Democratic EVEN January 3, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 10 (since 2013).tif
Mark DeSaulnier-1.jpeg
Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord)
Democratic D+21 January 3, 2015 – present California US Congressional District 11 (since 2013).tif
Official photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.jpg
Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco)
Democratic D+37 June 2, 1987 – present California US Congressional District 12 (since 2013).tif
Barbara Lee official portrait.jpg
Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
Democratic D+40 April 21, 1998 – present California US Congressional District 13 (since 2013).tif
Jackie Speier official photo (cropped).jpg
Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough)
Democratic D+27 April 8, 2008 – present California US Congressional District 14 (since 2013).tif
Eric Swalwell 114th official photo (cropped).jpg
Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin)
Democratic D+20 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 15 (since 2013).tif
Jim Costa official portrait (cropped).jpg
Jim Costa (D-Fresno)
Democratic D+9 January 3, 2005 – present California US Congressional District 16 (since 2013).tif
Ro Khanna, official portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Ro Khanna (D-Fremont)
Democratic D+25 January 3, 2017 – present California US Congressional District 17 (since 2013).tif
Anna Eshoo official photo.jpg
Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton)
Democratic D+23 January 3, 1993 – present California US Congressional District 18 (since 2013).tif
Zoe Lofgren, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)
Democratic D+24 January 3, 1995 – present California US Congressional District 19 (since 2013).tif
Jimmy Panetta official portrait.jpg
Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley)
Democratic D+23 January 3, 2017 – present California US Congressional District 20 (since 2013).tif
TJ Cox, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
TJ Cox (D-Fresno)
Democratic D+5 January 3, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 21 (since 2013).tif
Devin Nunes (cropped).jpg
Devin Nunes (R-Tulare)
Republican R+8 January 3, 2003 – present California US Congressional District 22 (since 2013).tif
House Maj. Leader Kevin McCarthy official photo.jpg
Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield)
Republican R+14 January 3, 2007 – present California US Congressional District 23 (since 2013).tif
Salud Carbajal official photo (cropped).jpg
Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara)
Democratic D+7 January 3, 2017 – present California US Congressional District 24 (since 2013).tif
25th Vacant EVEN October 27, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 25 (since 2013).tif
Julia Brownley official photo.jpg
Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village)
Democratic D+7 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 26 (since 2013).tif
Judy Chu official photo (cropped).jpg
Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park)
Democratic D+16 July 14, 2009 – present California US Congressional District 27 (since 2013).tif
Adam Schiff official portrait (cropped).jpg
Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)
Democratic D+23 January 3, 2001 – present California US Congressional District 28 (since 2013).tif
Tony Cárdenas 114th Congress (cropped).jpg
Tony Cárdenas (D-Pacoima)
Democratic D+29 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 29 (since 2013).tif
Brad Sherman official photo.jpg
Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks)
Democratic D+18 January 3, 1997 – present California US Congressional District 30 (since 2013).tif
Pete Aguilar Official Portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
Pete Aguilar (D - Redlands)
Democratic D+8 January 3, 2015 – present California US Congressional District 31 (since 2013).tif
Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk)
Democratic D+17 January 3, 1999 – present California US Congressional District 32 (since 2013).tif
Congressman Ted W. Lieu Official Photo.jpg
Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
Democratic D+16 January 3, 2015 – present California US Congressional District 33 (since 2013).tif
Jimmy Gomez official portrait (cropped).jpg
Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles)
Democratic D+35 July 11, 2017 – present California US Congressional District 34 (since 2013).tif
Norma Torres 115th official photo.jpg
Norma Torres (D-Pomona)
Democratic D+19 January 3, 2015 – present California US Congressional District 35 (since 2013).tif
Raul Ruiz, official portrait, 113th congress.jpg
Raul Ruiz (D-Coachella)
Democratic D+2 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 36 (since 2013).tif
Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles)
Democratic D+37 January 3, 2011 – present California US Congressional District 37 (since 2013).tif
Linda Sánchez official photo.jpg
Linda Sánchez (D-Whittier)
Democratic D+17 January 3, 2003 – present California US Congressional District 38 (since 2013).tif
Gil Cisneros official portrait.jpg
Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda)
Democratic EVEN January 3, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 39 (since 2013).tif
Lucille Roybal-Allard official photo.jpg
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles)
Democratic D+33 January 3, 1993 – present California US Congressional District 40 (since 2013).tif
Mark Takano 113th Congress official photo.jpg
Mark Takano (D-Riverside)
Democratic D+12 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 41 (since 2013).tif
Ken Calvert official photo.jpg
Ken Calvert (R-Corona)
Republican R+9 January 3, 1993 – present California US Congressional District 42 (since 2013).tif
Congresswoman Waters official photo.jpg
Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles)
Democratic D+29 January 3, 1991 – present California US Congressional District 43 (since 2013).tif
Nanette Barragan official portrait.jpg
Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro)
Democratic D+35 January 3, 2017 – present California US Congressional District 44 (since 2013).tif
Katie Porter, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Katie Porter (D-Irvine)
Democratic R+3 January 3, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 45 (since 2013).tif
Lou Correa official portrait.jpg
Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana)
Democratic D+15 January 3, 2017 – present California US Congressional District 46 (since 2013).tif
Alan Lowenthal 113th Congress Portrait.jpeg
Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach)
Democratic D+13 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 47 (since 2013).tif
Harley Rouda, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach)
Democratic R+4 January 3, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 48 (since 2013).tif
Mike Levin.jpg
Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano)
Democratic R+1 January 3, 2019 - present California US Congressional District 49 (since 2013).tif
Duncan D. Hunter official photo (cropped).jpg
Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine)
Republican R+11 January 3, 2009 – present California US Congressional District 50 (since 2013).tif
Juan Vargas official photo.jpg
Juan Vargas (D-San Diego)
Democratic D+22 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 51 (since 2013).tif
Scott Peters official portrait 116th Congress.jpg
Scott Peters (D-San Diego)
Democratic D+6 January 3, 2013 – present California US Congressional District 52 (since 2013).tif
Susan A. Davis 113th Congress.jpg
Susan Davis (D-San Diego)
Democratic D+14 January 3, 2001 – present California US Congressional District 53 (since 2013).tif

Historical district boundaries

See also


  1. ^ "Supreme Court takes over remapping job". Sacramento Bee. September 26, 1991. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  2. ^ "Court Remap Plan Could Cut Democrats' Clout in California". Washington Post. December 4, 1991. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  3. ^ The word "gerrymandering" is replaced with redistricting as the word "gerrymandering" refers, by definition, to the redrawing of districts to the advantage of a single party or for partisan gain
  4. ^ "Latinos May Gain Few Seats in Redistricting; Politics: Their push for more representation in Congress clashes with Democrats' desire to protect incumbents as district boundaries are redrawn". Los Angeles Times. August 26, 2001. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  5. ^ "Citizens Commission website: background". Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  6. ^ Redistricting Commission
  7. ^ "California's citizen commission final district maps: Find out what's changed where you live". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
This page was last edited on 1 November 2019, at 09:41
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