|The result actually shouldn't have been that surprising. Two districts which were considered swing, SD-27 and 31, went 59.5% and 57.5% Obama in 2008. SD-27, which is Ventura county based, went 55.8% Obama in 2012, while SD-31, Riverside county based, went the other way to 58.8%. The Republican candidates in the two beat Mitt Romney by 2.2% and 3.5% respectively. They were too Democratic this year. If they were up in 2010, they would've been competitive. Of course both will only be up in Presidential years and that could mean neither will be an opportunity in 2016. Since it moved more Obama in 2012, I'm fairly certain SD-31 won't be.
Romney got 44.6% in SD-5, similar to the 44.2% he got in SD-27. Bill Berryhill got 49.5%, while Todd Zink tallied 46.4%. Berryhill also ran in the wrong year. I'm not sure how big an opportunity it'll be in 2016.
Fortunately, 2014 will be a mid-term with Jerry Brown, not Barack Obama or Dianne Feinstein, on the top of the ticket.
With Jim Nielsen winning the special on Tuesday, Republicans will have incumbents in SD-4, 8, 16, 36, and 38, all very Republican districts. SD-28 is an open seat, but also safe Republican. Here are the other districts:
SD-12 - Obama got 55.7% in this Merced centered district. That's similar to SD-5 and SD-27 two districts that Republicans lost in 2012. As I mentioned above, however, Republicans came close in both races. While those were open seat affairs, this one has a Republican incumbent, Anthony Cannella. CD-16 is also Merced based. The GOP ran a no name against incumbent Jim Costa. Costa outspent the no name 2 to 1 and he still fell 2.4% short of Barack Obama.
I think the district favors the Democrats, but Republicans can win here.
SD-14 - This is also a Central Valley district, a Hispanic majority one similar to David Valadao's CD-21. Obama also dropped 2% here and got 54.6%. As with that district you had the strange occurrence that Meg Whitman got creamed here while Carly Fiorina won by a few points. Democratic incumbent Michael Rubio might run here, although he may live just outside the district. Of course, if he challenges Valadao this district is definitely open.
I think this district also favors Democrats, especially if Rubio runs, but it's one the GOP can win.
SD-34 - Fortunately this Orange County district will definitely be open. It has heavily Democratic Santa Ana, all of Little Saigon, which was divided for congress, and Republican beach cities. The bad news is that Barack Obama, inexplicably, improved here. The reason I can't explain it is because Obama dropped dramatically in the neighboring OC districts 36 and 37.
He got 54.6%, exactly what he got in SD-14. Unlike that district, however, Meg Whitman won here and actually won by a little more than Carly Fiorina. Depending on the candidates this one could favor the GOP.
Unlike 2012, 2014 won't be a disaster. Democrats didn't come close to winning any district Barack Obama lost in 2012 and he managed only 46.4% in the best of the 6 Republican districts. At worst, the GOP treads water. Unfortunately, that'd mean another cycle of 29D-11R. For Republicans to end the Democratic 2/3 super majority, however, they'll have to win all three competitive districts. While I think that unlikely, it's far more likely in 2014 than it would be in 2016.
Republicans will need to win at least 1 to have any shot at doing so in 2016. In 2016, they'll only have a shot at taking two Democratic districts, SD-5 and 27. They barely lost SD-5 and should be able to compete there, especially with Barack Obama off the ticket. The only reason they'll have a shot in SD-27 in 2016 is because Democrat Fran Pavley will be termed out. Of course that means that if the GOP is fortunate enough to capture CD-26 in 2014, Pavley will be the Democratic candidate in 2016.