Out with vineyard owner Mike Thompson, in with rancher John Garamendi.
It looks increasingly as if Davis may lose a seven-term congressional Democratic representative in favor of the former lieutenant governor now in his first term in the House, if new district maps are approved next month.
In addition to most of Yolo County, minus West Sacramento, the proposed district includes all or portions of Solano, Sacramento, Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Sutter and Yuba counties.
The current 1st District juts east to include Yolo County’s cities, but otherwise runs from around Napa in the south up the North Coast to the Oregon border.
“Overall, I think (the new district) makes some sense,” said Al Sokolow, a retired UC Davis political science professor and UC Cooperative Extension research specialist. He has been monitoring the redistricting process.
“It’s a more compact district than the current district, which is a heck of an area for a representative to cover,” said Sokolow, a Davis resident. “If we’re seen as a Central Valley ag community, I also think we share more common interests with Solano County and areas to the north, which are all agricultural areas.”
The district also contains a larger portion of the Interstate 80 corridor, stretching west almost to Vallejo, with its auto and rail transportation interests, and also may bring together areas facing more common water issues.
Sokolow said that while Yolo County surely would rather see West Sacramento inside the district, the change makes sense for the city, “which is very much oriented toward Sacramento.” Under the proposed maps, West Sacramento would join the district represented by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento.
In terms of political composition, the proposed new district around Davis is likely to be more varied than the currently deep blue 1st District. It includes rural areas currently represented by Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, and Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, as well as Travis and Beale Air Force bases.
The only incumbent residing in the district is Garamendi, however, who Sokolow said likely would “be in good shape” in a general election, based on party registration.
“Regardless of where the lines land for a future district, I will continue to fight for the interests of our region,” said Garamendi, of Walnut Grove. “We’re all in this together, and I will make sure Northern California’s voice is heard loud and clear in Congress.”
His current district, the 10th, stretches from Dixon to Livermore and is a mix of East Bay and valley interests. It includes portions of Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento and Solano counties.
Garamendi’s long political track record includes serving as lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, two terms as state insurance commissioner and 16 years in the Legislature, including a stint as Senate majority leader.
For three years, he served as deputy U.S. secretary of the interior during the Clinton administration.
Thompson has declined to comment on the new maps until they are complete. The proposed maps would see him lose the North Coast and end up in a more compact district that adds Vallejo and Martinez, which has been represented by his Democratic colleague, Rep. George Miller, since 1974.
Sokolow said he believes the Citizens Redistricting Commission has done well with its congressional maps.
“The people in the city of Davis might have a slightly different point of view, because they’ll feel they have more in common with the liberal attitudes of the North Coast,” he said, adding, “We’re just gonna have to learn to live with those folks from Yuba City and Marysville.”
— Reach Cory Golden at [email protected] or (530) 747-8046.