Ed Royce
Steve Knight
Darrell Issa
Dana Rohrabacher
Mimi Walters
Jeff Denham
David Valadao
Duncan Hunter
Devin Nunes
Tom McClintock
Salud Carbajal
Ami Bera
Scott Peters
Raul Ruiz

As a crucial primary nears, track the California races that could flip the House

By Christina Bellantoni, Julie Westfall and Allison Wisk

Design by Joe Fox and Priya Krishnakumar


Next update:

California's June 5 primary will set the course for which congressional districts will be battlegrounds — or missed opportunities — this fall. With just over two months to go, we've updated our rankings of the most competitive contests in the state. The stakes in the midterm elections couldn't be higher: control of the U.S. House. Democrats consider 10 Republican-held districts here to be battlegrounds and can't win the House without winning at least a few of them.

Retirements in Southern California have created two open-seat races that could make that task a bit easier. On the other hand, the Republicans running to replace them might fare better against crowded fields of Democratic hopefuls, many of whom are seeking office for the first time. California’s top-two primary system could threaten Democrats, too, as Republican candidates could grab the top two spots in certain races and advance to the general election, shutting Democrats out.

Taking multiple factors into account, The Times’ California politics editors have ranked the hottest races by the intensity of the fight ahead. We’ll be updating our rankings, and subscribers to the Essential Politics newsletter will be the first to learn what’s changed.

Most competitive

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Factors we are considering in our rankings:

  • Reelection margins over time: How much have they won by?
  • Recent presidential results
  • Demographic changes over time
  • Voter registration trends

    Are there more Democrats than there have been previously or more people who don’t want to identify with a political party?

  • Overall fundraising picture

    How much money the incumbent has in the bank versus the strongest challenger, the rate at which the challenger is raising money and the total amount of money raised by challengers

  • Terms in office

    Incumbency is a dominant predictor of election outcomes

  • Primary vote performance

    After the June primary, we will look at how the incumbents performed in the overall vote

  • Wild cards

    Among the possibilities: Strength of challengers, scandals, controversial votes, unforeseen news events and Times reporting

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Note: Candidates who drop out after the filing deadline will still appear on the ballot, but they’ll be eliminated from our candidate lists.