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New voter registration data: County Dems slightly increase lead

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You want numbers? We got numbers. And also some tidbits of political news...

VOTER REGISTRATION -- Secretary of State Debra Bowen yesterday released the first pre-primary voter registration report, and it shows that the numbers of registered Democrats and Republicans in Ventura County continued to fall in 2013, but Republicans more precipitously than Democrats. As has been the trend for several years, the only group of voters to increase in number are those who state no party preference.

The report reflects registrations as of Dec. 31. The previous report was as of Feb. 10, 2013, so the following comparisons basically reflect changes that occurred in 2013, the year following a presidential election.

Countywide, Democrats slightly increased their advantage in share of registered voters, from 2.6 percentage points to 3.0 points. Of the county's 423,051 registered voters, 38.5 percent are Democrats and 35.5 percent are Republicans. Those with no party preference account for 20.6 percent.

In absolute numbers, Democrats lost 3,702 voters in 2013, Republicans lost 5,114 and there was a 360-voter gain among those with no party preference.

And what about the numbers with actual potential political consequences -- those in competitive congressional and legislative districts?

It's pretty much the same story, as Democrats slightly increased their advantages, percentage-wise, in both the 26th Congressional District and the 44th Assembly District.

In the 26th CD, the Democratic advantage increased by half a percentage point and now stands at 5.9 percentage points (39.9 percent Democrats, 34.0 percent Republicans and 20.6 percent no-party-preference).

The Democratic gain in the 44th AD was slightly smaller, at three-tenths of a percentage point. It now breaks down like this: 38.1 percent Democrats, 35.8 percent Republicans, 20.9 percent no-party-preference.

In the less-competitive 25th Congressional District, where some Democrats see a possibility of picking up a seat in the election to replace retiring Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, it was Republicans who gained a little ground, increasing their advantage by one-tenth of a percentage point. There, Republicans account for 38.9 percent of voters, Democrats 35.2 percent, and no-party-preference 16.3 percent.

GOOD NEWS FOR TONY STRICKLAND? -- An interesting report comes today from CalNewsroom blogger John Hrabe, who cites an email from from Sen. Steve Knight's district director that suggests Knight may be having difficulty raising money to compete against Strickland in the 25th Congressional District primary.

To help assess the credibility of that report, I should note that while Hrabe was once a political operative for Strickland, he has since moved on to become a credible blogger who has demonstrated above-average journalistic standards among those who practice his craft.

Speaking of Strickland, his campaign reports endorsements from two Republican local political leaders in Lancaster, the portion of the district that is nearest Knight's home base of Palmdale. The endorsements come from three-term City Councilman Ron Smith and former Mayor Bishop Henry Hearns, who served 24 years on the Lancaster council.

On the Democratic side of the 25th CD primary, Simi Valley podiatrist Lee Rogers has released a list of more than 100 people he describes as community leaders who have endorsed him. Rogers asserts the list includes Democrats, Republicans and independents.

FREE PIZZA AND T-SHIRTS -- Republican Rafael Dagnesses, the Santa Rosa Valley businessman running in the 26th Congressional District, is making an offer for potential volunteers that includes free pizza and t-shirts.

He will be hosting a meeting for volunteers Sunday at 4 p.m. at his campaign headquarters, at which the shirts will be delivered and the pizza consumed. His campaign headquarters is at 65 W. Easy Street, Suite 102, in Simi Valley.

FIREFIGHTER GROUPS BACK IRWIN -- Democrat Jacqui Irwin, running in the 44th Assembly District, announced today that she has received endorsements from the Ventura County Firefighters Association, the Oxnard Firefighters Association and the California Professional Firefighters, the umbrella group for firefighters' unions statewide.

GORELL IS COVERED NOW -- Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, a Republican candidate for Congress in the 26th District, was criticized by some late last year for a taxpayer-paid mailer he sent to constituents regarding the Affordable Care Act that suggested they go a website set up by the Assembly Republican Caucus to find additional information -- rather than to the CoveredCA.com site that both provides information and allows consumers to sign up for health plans.

He's now on the same page with the state health insurance purchasing exchange.

Gorell's office is sponsoring an "information forum" on March 5 that will include representatives from Covered California, the United Way of Ventura County, the Ventura County Public Health Department and private insurance agents. The stated purpose: "to help people find an appropriate health care plan for themselves and their families" before the March 31 deadline to purchase policies.

The event will take place from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Ventura County Community Foundation Nonprofit Center, 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., Camarillo.

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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
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