California's SD 19 (Santa Barbara) should be a district where Republicans are concentrating some of their efforts to prevent a Democratic super-majority in the House, but the Republican candidate Mike Stoker lags behind former CA Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) in fundraising. When State Senator Tony Strickland (R) opted to run for US Congress, he left open a seat that could help the Democrats gain the necessary 27 seats for a two-thirds majority in California's upper house.
However, the district hasn't been a Democratic stronghold, but after a recent redistricting, Jackson appears to have a slight advantage in not just fundraising, but also name recognition. Back in 2008 she lost the district to State Senator Tony Strickland by less than 900 votes.
The district is fairly evenly split amongst Democrats, Republicans, and Decline-to-State voters, but the money isn't there, yet Mike Stoker led in the primary. According to the CA Secretary of State, Stoker won the June 5 primary over Jackson 44.9% to 41.6%, respectively. That would bode well for the former Santa Barbara Supervisor, but if you include Democrat Jason Hodge coming in a distant third with 13.5%, you would see a much closer general election come November 6.
In a May Q&A posted on IVN, Mike Stoker pointed out his bi-partisan accomplishments and laid out stark contrasts between himself and Ms. Jackson.
...I am the only candidate supporting Democrat Governor Jerry Brown’s Pension Reform proposal. My two Democrat opponents [Jackson and Hodge] are opposed... I am the only candidate focusing on Budget Reform and Regulatory Reform to help make California more business friendly.
The November election will be an interesting test for a district with two same-party candidates with large amounts of votes where one did not make it to the general election. Mike Stoker could be overcome by Jackson if she gains the 13% of the June vote that went to fellow-Democrat Jason Hodge. To overcome this obstacle Mike Stoker plans to avoid the discussion of special interests and contribution to attract independent-minded voters.
Regardless of Stoker's move to gather independents, there may be too many Democrats in the district for him to win and Hannah-Beth Jackson may give the Democrats an extra seat toward the super-majority they are seeking in the Legislature.