- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

The tightest congressional races in California and the leading same-party races, at a glance:

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MOST COMPETITIVE:

7th Congressional District (suburbs to the south and east of Sacramento):

Democratic Rep. Ami Bera versus Republican Doug Ose, a former congressman. This is turning into one of the most expensive congressional races in the country, with outside groups pouring more than $10 million into the race, mostly on negative campaign ads.

Bera is a freshman lawmaker who won the district by about 2 percentage points in 2012.

Ose served three terms in Congress before declining to seek re-election in 2004. He’s a real estate developer who has lent his campaign about $1.5 million.

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26th Congressional District (Ventura County and a sliver of Los Angeles County):

Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley versus Republican Jeff Gorell.

Democrats enjoy a 7.5 percentage point edge among registered voters, but Republicans have a candidate with strong name recognition who has served as a local prosecutor and as a member of the state Assembly.

In recent weeks, two GOP-aligned groups have jumped into the race to help level the financial playing field between the two sides. Previously, only Democratic groups were running ads in the district. The spending from both sides reinforces the polling results, which show a tight race.

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52nd Congressional District (San Diego):

Democratic Rep. Scott Peters versus Republican Carl DeMaio.

Peters serves a congressional district in which Republican voters outnumber Democrats by about 5,600. He is one of the few Democrats nationally to get the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

DeMaio used to serve on the San Diego City Council and narrowly lost in a race for mayor. He’s demonstrated that he is a strong fundraiser and communicator, but he also has a knack for generating controversy.

Outside groups have spent more than $6.2 million in this race, making it the second most expensive in the state in terms of independent expenditures.

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COMPETITIVE:

21st Congressional District (Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties):

Republican Rep. David Valadao versus Democrat Amanda Renteria.

Valadao represents a district in which Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters by more than 17 percentage points. Yet, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declined to follow through on reservations for ad buys on local television, which points to Valadao’s strength. Other outside interest groups, with the exception of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have stayed out, too. The Chamber spent $250,000 on television and digital ads supporting Valadao in October.

Vice President Joe Biden campaigned recently for Renteria, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

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31st Congressional District (San Bernardino County):

Republican Paul Chabot versus Democrat Pete Aguilar.

Republican Gary Miller is retiring, boosting Democratic prospects in a district where they have a 6 percentage point edge among registered voters.

Chabot, a veteran, has emphasized his military service but he is greatly outgunned financially. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC have invested more than $1 million to boost the prospects of Aguilar, currently the mayor of Redlands. Republican groups have stayed out of the race.

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36th Congressional District (Riverside County, mostly the Coachella Valley):

Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz versus Republican Brian Nestande.

Ruiz, a former emergency room doctor, defeated Republican Mary Bono Mack in 2012. He now faces her former chief of staff, who serves in the state Assembly. Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats in the district. Outside interest groups have largely stayed out of the race, and the ones that have weighed in are overwhelmingly trying to help Ruiz win a second term.

Nestande has to overcome a huge financial disadvantage to win.

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POTENTIALLY COMPETITIVE:

3rd Congressional District (eight counties north and west of Sacramento)

Democratic Rep. John Garamendi versus Republican Dan Logue, a former county supervisor and member of the state Assembly, in a district where Democrats have a 9 percentage point edge among registered voters.

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10th Congressional District (Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties):

Republican Rep. Jeff Denham versus Democrat Michael Eggman, an almond and honey farmer, in one of the state’s most evenly divided districts. Republicans have a 2.7 percentage point edge among registered voters.

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24th Congressional District (Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties):

Democratic Rep. Lois Capps versus Republican Chris Mitchum, son of the late actor Robert Mitchum.

Democrats made a last-minute, $99,000 radio ad buy to boost Capps, the clearest signal yet that this race could be close. Democrats have a voter registration edge of about 3.5 percentage points, but low turnout could negate that advantage.

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TOP SAME-PARTY RACES:

4th Congressional District (primarily Placer and El Dorado counties):

Rep. Tom MClintock versus fellow Republican Art Moore, an Iraq War veteran.

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17th Congressional District (Santa Clara and part of Alameda County):

Rep. Mike Honda versus fellow Democrat Ro Khanna, a patent attorney. Honda is getting help from more traditional Democratic players such as unions. Khanna is getting help from some of the leading figures in Silicon Valley, setting up a high-dollar clash that has gotten every bit as negative as when Republicans and Democrats go at it.

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25th Congressional District (Los Angeles and Ventura counties):

Republicans Tony Strickland and Steve Knight are vying to succeed Rep. Buck McKeon, who is retiring. Two candidates who have served in the California Legislature are competing in a district that is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. That requires them to promote their ability to compromise in an effort to appeal to Democrats and independent voters.

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