California 50: By the Numbers

April 16, 2006 · 12:10 AM EDT

Democrats are claiming victory after Francine Busby’s 44% showing in Tuesday’s special election to replace Rep. Duke Cunningham (R). But her fight to get over 50% in the June 6 run-off in the San Diego-area congressional seat is certainly uphill.

Busby’s showing was equivalent to John Kerry’s performance in the 50th District in the 2004 presidential contest, when he lost to President Bush 56% to 44%. But the district has a much longer history of supporting Republicans.

George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the district 54% to 34% in 2000, despite losing California by eleven points. In 1996, Bob Dole carried the district 55% to 45% while losing statewide 51% to 38%.

In the 1998 governor’s race, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) defeated Gray Davis (D) 52% to 48% in the district (he lost statewide 58% to 39%), and four years later, GOP nominee Bill Simon lost statewide (47% to 42%) but defeated Gov. Davis 56% to 37% in the 50th C.D.

The best performance by a Democrat in the district appears to be Sen. Dianne Feinstein back in 2000, when she won the district 48% to 45%, while winning statewide 56% to 37% and out-spending her Republican opponent $10.3 million to $4.3 million.

But in a one-on-one race in June, 48% won’t be enough for Busby and the Democrats to take the seat.

This item first appeared on Political Wire on April 13, 2006.