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VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders what younger California Democrats will do, what with septuagenarians occupying in the governor's office and claiming both U.S. Senate seats as well as the House minority leadership role.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen has until Dec. 14 to certify the election for candidates running for something other than president, but one by one, the nail-biters have been dropping off the list.

The last two California House races were settled late last week, with Democratic challengers Ami Bera and Scott Peters edging out Republican incumbents Dan Lungren and Brian Bilbray, who conceded, respectively, in the 7th and 52nd districts.

This means that as of January, Democrats will hold 38 of California's 53 congressional seats, with Republicans holding the other 15. All in all, 39 incumbents will return to the 113th Congress.

The state's delegation will include 14 members -- 11 Democrats and three Republicans -- who are new to Washington. Among them are eight current or former state legislators: Republicans Doug LaMalfa, Paul Cook and David Valadao, and Democrats Jared Huffman, Julia Brownley, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Alan Lowenthal and Juan Vargas.

In addition to Bera and Peters, the other newcomers include Democrats Eric Swalwell, Tony Cardenas, Mark Takano and Raul Ruiz.

Bera and Peters weren't the only Democrats who bested incumbents running for re-election. Ruiz edged out GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Swalwell beat fellow Democrat Pete Stark, and Negrete McLeod bested fellow Democrat Joe Baca.

Then there were the incumbent vs. incumbent races, both of which pitted two Democrats against each other down in the south state, where Janice Hahn beat Laura Richardson, and Brad Sherman won over Howard Berman.

Word was last week that Sherman withdrew his bid to become ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as Politico reported here, a sign he won't be forgiven anytime soon for one of the biggest money-sucking slugfests of the election.

As for Sacramento's musical chairs, a timely office pool might bet on when Negrete McLeod and Vargas will resign from the state Senate seats to allow for special elections to fill their seats.



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