District CA-4 Victory Plan
By area, CA-04 is one of the largest congressional districts in Northern California, stretching from South Lake Tahoe all the way to Sacramento County and south to Yosemite. One of the hallmarks of CA-04 is a wealth of environmental beauty and natural resources. In addition to the Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks, and the California portion of Lake Tahoe, the district also includes the Sierra, Stanislaus, Eldorado, and Tahoe National Forests.
CA-04 is represented by Congressman Tom McClintock, the most rigidly ideological member of the California Republican delegation. McClintock regularly attacks immigrants, opposes progressive taxation, denies climate change, and does little to nothing to protect the natural wonders that exist across CA-04. Several political prognosticators, including Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, identify this seat as swingable (albeit likely Republican).
Republicans have a significant registration edge in CA-04: registration in CA-04 is 44% Republican, 29% Democrat and 27% other (decline-to-state or 3rd party). The total number of registered voters in the district is 431,901. Democrats combined with decline-to-state voters outnumber Republicans 56% to 44%. A winning strategy in this district requires boosting Democratic turnout, registering new Democratic-leaning voters, and persuading decline-to-state and third-party voters to vote Democratic.
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 298,113 or 68% in CA-04. This would make the Win Number 149,057.
To identify the voter deficit that we need to address, we identify all high propensity Democratic voters in CA-04, who have voted in every general election for the past 3 election cycles and utilize this number as one of our core assumptions to project the 2018 Democratic performance and our baseline universe. We assume that 95% of these voters will turn out in November 2018. We also include voters who have voted in 2 of the past 3 general elections; we assume 66% of them to turn out as they have demonstrated a 66% chance of voting. Combining these gives us a starting point of 80,574 votes for our baseline universe.
With a baseline universe of 80,600 voters and a Win Number of 149,000, we project a voter deficit of 68,483. 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.