California Democrats are looking to get more volunteers and register new voters as part of their “It Gets Bluer” campaign.
The state party is specifically targeting Riverside and San Bernardino counties because of their changing demographics after the latest Census figures showed the two counties had an increased Latino population. New legislative and congressional district boundaries also appear to give Democrats a slight advantage in gaining seats in one of the state’s traditional Republican strongholds.
Currently, Republicans have a 43 to 36 percent voter registration in Riverside County but that margin is decreasing. In San Bernardino County, Democrats have a 1 percent advantage over Republicans, although only one of the five United States representatives is a Democrat.
“We saw a unique opportunity to grow our party’s base, to help build a Democratic infrastructure there in Riverside and San Bernardino,” California Democratic Party spokesman Tenoch Flores said in an article in The Press-Enterprise.
The Democratic Party, while going to various homes to try and increase volunteer numbers and register new voters, is focusing on Latinos because they are a key constituency of the party. According to the latest Census figures, in Riverside and San Bernardino counties the Latino population has increased to 45.5 percent and 49.2 percent, respectively. Despite the counties having nearly half of their populations consisting of Latinos, no more than one-third of those who are eligible to vote are registered to do so.
According to UC Berkeley’s Statewide Database, a nonpartisan source of redistricting data, about 25 percent of registered voters in Riverside County and about 30 percent in San Bernardino County are Latino. If those who were eligible to vote, registered to vote those percentages could increase to 35 percent in Riverside County and to 41 percent in San Bernardino County.
However, U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) said Republicans also were being aggressive in trying to keep their dominance in the region – Calvert is seeking an eleventh term representing a part of Riverside County in 2012.
“We’ve done everything we can to keep that machine to a minimum,” he said. “It’s not their traditional stomping ground, and I don’t think it will be. They just don’t have the support group out here to do what we’re doing out here.”
That will not keep Democrats – statewide and nationally – from trying to make gains, though, in what they hope will be long-term success in the area even if there is not much change in the short-term.
“It seems to me that Democrats have a long-term advantage there, and may have a considerable advantage even in 2012,” Dave Wasserman, an analyst for the Cook Political Report, said.
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