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A new appraisal by the National Republican Congressional Committee claims that state-by-state redistricting has enhanced GOP chances of retaining control of Congress by making 16 seats held by Democrats vulnerable, including four in California.

The NRCC memo written by its executive director, Guy Harrison, was revealed in a National Journal article Wednesday.

The memo says that Democrats Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, Jim Costa of Fresno and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove are potentially vulnerable. It also lists the vacant 21st Congressional District in the lower San Joaquin Valley as winnable by a Republican. Costa would have been the 21st District incumbent, but opted to move into the 16th District after Democratic Congressman Dennis Cardoza decided to retire.

The memo did not, however, list the 26th Congressional District in Southern California, which has been widely seen as a potential battleground, as a target.

That appraisal comports with the general views of most political oddsmakers, but there's also a consensus that Democrats will see a net gain in California congressional seats as a result of the redistricting by an independent commission because a number of GOP congressmen are retiring.

Moreover, at least two Republican congressmen, Dan Lungren in suburban Sacramento and Jeff Denham in the upper San Joaquin Valley, are considered to be as vulnerable as the Democrats Harrison lists.

Harrison's memo says that redistricting, which is done by legislatures in most states, made 14 Republican-held seats more competitive. He cited changes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia as being particularly favorable to Republicans. Democrats must pick up 25 seats to retake control of the House.


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