THE BLOG

Representative Scott Peters Needs Bigger Turnout to Win Reelection

07/01/2014 02:53 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2014

Despite the U.S. Constitution legally binding all 435 seats of the House of Representatives to go up for reelection every two years, an astoundingly low number of races are considered toss-ups in this November's election.

According to The Rothenberg Political Report, a "non-partisan newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns, Presidential politics, and political developments," only 1.6% of all the seats in the House of Representatives are considered to be "Pure Toss-up" meaning the seat is considered up for grabs. An astonishing 428 seats, or 98.4% of all elected officials in the U.S. House, are very or likely safely in the hands of incumbents. Republicans currently hold a 34 seat advantage.

This is thanks in large part to gerrymandering tactics conducted by the Republican Party in the previous decade. The Democratic Party garnered over a million more congressional votes than their GOP counterparts in the 2012 election, yet Republicans maintained commanding control of the House of Representatives. Thanks to Republicans picking up 675 legislative seats in the 2010 election, 12 state legislatures fell into their control. The GOP thus redrew four times as many congressional redistricting lines as Democrats and set up a massive advantage in congressional races.

One of those seven seats considered to be a pure toss-up is the 52nd Congressional District in San Diego County, where incumbent Democrat Scott Peters is up for his first reelection campaign. According to non-profit San Diego investigative news organization inewsource, if Peters wants to retain his seat in this November's election, he will need a bigger turnout of voters to win reelection.

In the June primary Peters was the lead vote getter, receiving 42% of the total votes. His nearest competitor was Republican Carl DeMaio, who received 35% of the vote. Republicans Kirk Jorgensen and Fred Simon received 18% and 4% of the votes, respectively. Combined, Republicans garnered a total of 57% of the vote. If DeMaio receives all the votes cast for Republicans in the June primary and turnout is similar, Peters will be a one-term congressman.

"It fits the general trend which is the lower the turnout goes, the more Republican skewed the turnout is," said Thad Kousser, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. "I think (Peters) absolutely has to be worried about turnout and working on turnout. He can't just slide by on Obama's coattails this time."

inewsource created a data map that shows not only a higher turnout in the primaries for Republicans, but how the candidates fared in each individual precinct of the district.

The blue precincts indicate where Democrat Scott Peters won a majority of the vote. The red precincts indicate where the three Republican candidates combined to win a majority of the vote. The purple precincts indicate where Democrat Scott Peters tied with the three Republican candidates. The black precincts are where no votes were cast for the candidates.

The data shows that Peters needs a bigger turnout in the November election to win reelection. Click here for the full data map and here for the full inewsource story.