Republicans targeting Garamendi in 2014 election
Voter registration: 41.1 percent Democratic, 32 percent Republican, 21.6 percent with no party preference.
Major cities: Yuba City, Marysville, Woodland, Davis, Fairfield, Vacaville.
Major institutions: University of California, Davis; Beale Air Force Base; Travis Air Force Base.
Main industries: Agriculture, military, small businesses.
Last election, 2012: Garamendi (D), incumbent: 54.2 percent; Vann (R), challenger, 45.8 percent.
Republicans have already signaled they'll try to take the 3rd Congressional District seat again next year, and a familiar name said she's looking into giving it another shot.
Colusa County Supervisor Kim Vann, who lost to incumbent US Rep. John Garamendi in November, said she has begun looking into another run, after previously saying voters would see her name on a ballot again.
"It really deserves as much thoughtfulness as I can give it," said Vann, a Republican who had some observers calling the 3rd District race last year a potential GOP pickup, even though voter registration tilts to Democrats. She ultimately lost to Garamendi, 54.2 percent to 45.8 percent.
Vann may have taken notice of a memo circulated by the National Republican Congressional Committee last week putting the district on its target list for 2014, citing among other factors Democratic incumbents who don't fit their constituencies.
"I think we'll see Garamendi continue to vote with his party and with former Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi," said Ian Prior, a regional spokesman for the NRCC.
California Republicans had a tough time in 2012 because of the popularity of Democratic President Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, Prior said, a factor that won't be in play next year.
And what happens in Congress on such issues as agriculture, health care reform and military spending will also put Garamendi under a critical eye from voters back home, Vann said.
The chair of the political science department at California State University, Chico, said that in a midterm year, it's more likely Republicans could take a potential swing seat, particularly if Congress and incumbents are in low favor.
"But if they don't like Congress, and Republicans are the ones in charge, it could go the other way," said Professor Charles Turner.
Given the nearly two years until the election, and that there's no defined opponent yet for Garamendi, he said, the race's contours are far from clear.
Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said he won't spend much time in the interim thinking about the race.
"My thoughts are totally on representing my district and confronting the many challenges before us," Garamendi said, listing jobs, economic development, flood protection and support of the district's two air bases among them.
"If others want to deal with a campaign that's 20 months away, I'll leave them to it."
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