----------PAST KEY RACES----------
California’s 3rd District is, in effect, three different districts. The southernmost portion, where about half of the population lives, is in Solano County and is part of the San Francisco Bay area. The second portion lies in Yolo County, just west of Sacramento, and includes UC-Davis. Both of these are solidly Democratic, giving Barack Obama around 65 percent of the vote in 2008. But the more rural counties to the north went for John McCain by around eight points in 2008; they provide something of a counterweight to the south.
The resulting district leans Democratic, but not overwhelmingly so: Obama won 55 percent here in 2008 and 54 percent in 2012. Unsurprisingly, Rep. John Garamendi faced a spirited challenge in 2012 in Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann. The result was reasonably close; Garamendi won, 54 percent to 46 percent, mimicking the presidential vote.
In theory, that would leave Garamendi vulnerable in a year like this, when the president is unpopular and coattails are minimal. Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue has raised a reasonable amount of money, but indications that Garamendi is truly in trouble simply haven’t surfaced yet. Garamendi won 54 percent of the vote in the primary; this was predictive of the eventual result in 2012, and suggests that he will win again, albeit by an uninspiring margin.