----------PAST KEY RACES----------
For most of the 20th century, California had a coastal split: The Republican coastline versus the Democratic interior. Today the partisanship has switched, but the ideologies remain intact. These were progressive Republicans on the coast and conservative Democrats in the interior; today they are progressive Democrats on the coast and conservative Republicans in the interior.
Michael Huffington was the last moderate Republican to hold this district. Andrea Seastrand, who had attributed California’s fires and earthquakes to God’s wrath, won it in the 1994 tsunami but lost it in 1996 to Democrat Walter Capps. Capps passed away in 1997, and his wife, Lois Capps, won the district in a special election.
The post-2000 redistricting made the district safely Democratic, but the post-2010 redistricting left Capps with a more moderate constituency. It still leans Democratic, but not by much. She held off a strong challenger in 2012 in former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and was expected to cruise to re-election in 2014. But Democrats are reportedly hurrying funds to the district to shore her up against actor Chris Mitchum. It would probably take a substantial wave to upset Capps in a D+4 district, although Mitchum could be helped by the lack of a competitive race upticket and the expected dropoff in Hispanic participation in an off-year election.