Lessons to learn from the 2012 Congressional races

In a year in which a very unfavorable redistricting plan left numerous GOP House members in California vulnerable, Gilliard Blanning client Jeff Denham was the only California GOP incumbent targeted by national Democrats who won his seat.

With IEs included, the 2 sides spent over $12 million competing in the 10th district, where Denham ran against astronaut-turned-politician Jose Hernandez. Denham ran significantly ahead of the top of the ticket in the district, which Barack Obama won in both 2008 and 2012.

Jeff Denham is a tireless candidate who knows how to win difficult elections. A big part of our strategy was to localize the race and not get caught up in running on national issues, which were all favoring the Democrats.  There can be tremendous pressure in congressional races to run campaigns that conform to the national narrative. It is almost always a losing strategy, especially in California.

The losses that happened in other districts in 2014 now need to be turned into opportunities. The right candidates, and smart campaigns, should give us four more Republican seats from California after 2014.

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