“If anyone asks regarding my 2012 campaign plans please let them know I'm eyeing the Brian Bilbray congressional seat,” the Democratic former state Assemblymember texted. “Have fun and see you next time.”
But with Saldaña, you never get just one text message. She followed up, breaking down the numbers on the first draft of the new district, drawn up by the California Redistricting Commission: 28-percent decline-to-state voters, 33-percent Democrat, 35-percent Republican. The district, held by a Republican incumbent, would overlap with 45 percent of her old Assembly district. When the commission drew a line through Clairemont, she was separated from the open state Senate seat she had hoped to win.
“The current Senate seat isn't bad, but it drew my neighborhood out by a mile,” Saldaña says in a follow-up telephone interview. “If that changes and I'm in both the Senate and congressional districts, I would still lean towards the congressional. I feel like I've been in Sacramento for six years. It's a very dysfunctional place. All my colleagues who are still up there are pretty miserable.”
Saldaña thinks Bilbray's district (currently District 50, though the number may change) will be the only competitive congressional race in San Diego County, and the demographic change, with a greater number of female voters than male, is particularly suited for a female, Democratic candidate. Saldaña notes that Bilbray supports the Paul Ryan budget plan, which drastically alters the Medicare system and, she says, adversely affects women, who tend to live longer and have fewer resources. Bilbray, as CityBeat previously reported, also recently spread misinformation about Planned Parenthood's funding before voting to cut the reproductive-health organization's grants.
“You look at Bilbray's position on issues that affect women—reproductive choice, Medicare,” she says. “You've got to think that doesn't help with those 20,000 extra women voters.”
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission will publish the second round of maps this week (see update). We might have to upgrade our text-messaging plans.
UPDATE: The Commissions has announced that it won't be releasing a second draft of the maps and instead will publish "visualizations of proposed districts." The commission is scheduled to release the final maps on July 28, and to adopt maps on August 15.