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Another Ventura County battleground?

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The "Target Book," a respected political publication that analyzes district-level political contests in California, has added Ventura County's 37th Assembly District to its list of possible targets in the fall Assembly campaigns.

The race pits incumbent Republican Audra Strickland of Moorpark against Democratic challenger Ferial Masry of Newbury Park.

Co-publisher Tony Quinn told me today that the district was added based on the fact that there will be "a strong Senate race" in a Senate district that overlaps most of the Assembly District. That race features Audra Strickland's husband, Tony, as the Republican nominee.

Quinn noted that Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein carried the 37th District in 2004 "despite its Republican bent."

Assembly Democrats, who are in the majority, are expected to make an all-out effort in the fall in an improbable attempt to capture six seats now held by Republicans. If they succeed, that would give them the two-thirds majority they would need to pass a budget with GOP support. One contested seat will be that now held by Democrat Nicole Parra, but Quinn noted that Democrats may have "shot themselves in the foot" this week when Speaker Karen Bass exiled Parra to a new office outside the Capitol as punishment for her refusal to vote for the Democratic budget proposal on Sunday. Parra has further angered Democrats by saying kind words about the Republican candidate seeking to replace her.

Democrats now will likely need to target an additional district, and Quinn said the 37th was added this week as "a possible target, but the least likely of the possible targets."

If a seat is selected as a target, that means Democratic leaders in Sacramento would commit money to Masry's campaign.

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com