By Becky Hogan
GOP Representatives in California are an endangered species—just 15 of the state’s 53 congressional districts have a Republican Representative in office.
And many of those districts are prime targets for Democrats in 2014 who need just 17 seats to regain control of the House of Representatives.
In fact, Democrats hold every statewide office and a super-majority in both chambers of the state Legislature.
As a result, California’s Republican congressmen are increasingly diverging from the party’s platforms for fear of becoming extinct by 2014. And this couldn’t be truer than when it comes to immigration reform. The majority of Republican districts in the Golden State are at least 25% Hispanic and GOP congressmen, like Rep. David Valadao and Rep. Jeff Denham, say they like the Senate immigration reform bill and are open to a pathway to citizenship.
According to the California Department of Finance, Hispanics will soon equal Whites in the state by the end of 2013.
So, while some Republicans in other parts of the US might argue there’s no need to tackle immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, California Republicans have greater urgency about the issue.
When compared to their Democratic counterparts, Republicans are also turning to social media to reach constituents too.
We looked at averages of Democrat and Republican Representatives on social media, and it’s clear the GOP in California has been more aggressive on social media. Republicans outpace Democrats for average Facebook Likes, but this trend is even more pronounced on Twitter where Republicans average almost 2,000 more followers. (We also removed Darrell Issa and Nancy Pelosi from the averages since their strong national presence skews the data.)
Republicans will have to seek other ways to woo voters in order to maintain their seats in the state and social media is one way that they can make their immigration platforms known to voters.
We expect that the California GOP will become even more active on social media platforms as 2014 gets closer.
Interestingly, Republicans Representatives are also getting more state media coverage than Democrats over the past month–perhaps a sign that the GOP is in the media spotlight as the House considers immigration legislation after the August recess.
Is this trend in California a precursor to what will happen on the national level? We’ll keep an eye on how the parties are responding to demographic shifts and turning to social media to reach voters.