District CA-10 Victory Plan
CA-10 is located in the northern San Joaquin Valley and includes cities and communities along the Highway I-99 corridor, such as Turlock and Modesto in Stanislaus County and Stockton in San Joaquin County. A lot of families are struggling in CA-10, with almost half of all children accessing their health care through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Flip the 14 believes CA-10 presents one of the best opportunities in the country for Democrats to flip a key Congressional seat from red to blue.
CA-10 is represented by Congressman Jeff Denham, who is a loyal foot soldier for the Trump agenda, even though he represents one of the most contested districts in America. Denham has repeatedly voted to take health insurance away from thousands of his constituents, and he voted to replace Medicare as we know it with a voucher to purchase private insurance. The Modesto Bee refused to endorse Denham in 2016, citing his support for Trump as “a disqualifier.” Many of the respected political prognosticators, including the Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Scott Lay’s Around the Capitol, identify this district as a tossup.
Jeff Denham was first elected to Congress in 2010, in what was then CA-19. Following redistricting after the 2010 census, Denham was elected in 2012 to the newly redrawn CA-10. From 2012-2016 he has consistently received around 51-56% of the vote in CA-10, while his Democratic challenger received around 43-48% of the vote. Democrats were within striking distance in 2012 and 2016. Democrats have a slight registration edge in CA-10: registration in CA-10 is 39% Democrat, 36% Republican, and 25% other (decline-to-state or 3rd party). The total number of registered voters in the district is 329,613.
One of the most crucial elements in any campaign or field plan is the “win number,” which is the estimate of how many votes we need to ensure victory on Election Day (50%+1 of the turnout). Everything done during a campaign, from knocking on doors to calling for volunteers, should be in pursuit of reaching that win number. Looking at turnout from previous mid-term elections, as well as other factors, our analysis projects a 2018 turnout of 204,063 or 62% in CA-10. This would make the Win Number 102,033.
To identify the voter deficit that we need to address, we identify all high propensity Democratic voters in CA-10, who have voted in every general election for the past 3 election cycles (39,639 voters) and utilize this number as one of our core assumptions to project the 2018 Democratic performance and our baseline universe. We assume that we can expect around 95% of these voters (37,657 votes) to turn out in November 2018. An additional 32,173 voters have voted in 2 of the past 3 general elections, so we should expect 66% of them to turn out as they have demonstrated a 66% chance of voting. This means an additional or 21,234 more votes. This gives us a starting point of 58,891 votes for our baseline universe.
With a baseline universe of 58,891 voters, we project a voter deficit of 43,141. The voter deficit can be mitigated by converting new Republican and Decline-to-State voters and by increasing Democratic turnout performance throughout the district. The candidate, the Democratic Party, and independent Resistance groups will all be working to recruit and turn out voters to overcome this voter deficit.
This can be done using the following four approaches: 1) increasing Democratic turnout, 2) focusing on higher conversion rates among swing-voter targets, 3) reducing Republican enthusiasm, and 4) increasing Democratic registration. The most successful operation will include a combination of all four.