| Democrats have scored a legit recruit to take on imperiled GOP Rep. Dan Lungren. From the Sacramento Bee:
Gary Davis, first-term city councilman for Elk Grove, said he will formally announce his candidacy today for the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Republican Rep. Dan Lungren of Gold River.
Davis, who served as Elk Grove mayor in 2008, led a push for greater citizen involvement in city decision-making after his election to the council in 2006.
As a Democrat, he must win in the 2010 California Democratic primary to face Lungren in the general election.
Davis said he began considering a run for the federal seat in mid-2008 after Lungren declined to transmit $11.6 million in funding requests from the city to the subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations for consideration. At the time, the congressman's staff said it was determined that Elk Grove's requests were not likely to win approval.
Davis said his final decision to run came in recent weeks after Lungren voted against a bill to authorize grant money to put more cops on the street.
He called running "the right thing to do."
Lungren's 3rd District, once a GOP bastion that went for Bush by 17 points in 2004, has seen some pretty dramatic demographic changes in recent years. Much of its new growth has come from minority demographics, and that sea change is making its mark on the district's voter registration composition.
By the end of 2004, Republicans held a voter registration advantage of 169,464 to the Democrats' 139,848 in the 3rd District. Since then, the district has both hemorrhaged Republicans and added Democrats to its voter rolls; while Republicans still outnumber Democrats here, the margin has been cut to 161K-153K. The cherry on top, of course, was Barack Obama's slim win of the district's presidential vote last November, while Lungren himself only won his race by 5.5% against Democrat Bill Durston (who has opted not to seek a rematch this cycle).
Davis will still have to prove that he's got chops, but with a base in the district's major population anchor, he looks good on paper -- and the broader political winds appear set to give him a fighting chance in 2010.