| We talked earlier about the freak race in California's 44th District, where Democrat Bill Hedrick is running only 4600 votes short of GOP crumb-bum Ken Calvert with 100% of precincts reporting.
Well, it turns out that calling this race for Calvert is a bit premature, as neither side is declaring victory:
Inland Rep. Ken Calvert clung to a small lead over challenger Bill Hedrick late Wednesday, as officials counted votes in the tightly contested 44th Congressional District.
Neither side claimed victory nor conceded defeat.
As of Wednesday evening, Calvert, R-Corona, had about 51.4 percent of the vote and Hedrick, a Democrat and longtime Corona-Norco school board member, had 48.6 percent. All of the precincts have reported, but thousands of late absentee and provisional ballots had yet to be tallied.
"At this point, we honestly think our votes are in the provisional ballots," Hedrick said late Wednesday. "If all the votes are counted and we come up short, I can accept that. But we want every ballot counted."
Even if Hedrick falls short here, it looks like this district will be ripe for a challenge in 2010 based on its demographic changes:
By far the closest Inland congressional contest in recent years, the election was a tale of two counties. Hedrick won handily in the Riverside County portion of the district, which includes Riverside, Corona and Norco, while the portion of the district that covers south Orange County went heavily for Calvert.
Calvert's low vote tally in his home county is indicative of a shift in voter registration in favor of Democrats. The fast-growing area has seen increases in both parties in recent months, but the Democrats are growing at a faster clip than the GOP, voter registration figures show.
As Crisitunity noted, this is the second-fastest growing congressional district in California, with the majority of this growth being Hispanic. Calvert better keep an eye on his rear-view mirror.
UPDATE by Crisitunity: Here's the actual demographic data on what's happening in CA-44. Interestingly, this district is also #5 on the list of greatest gain in median household income in the 2000-2007 period (which, I'd guess, is mostly coming from the Orange County portion of this district).