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Better Know A District


California’s seventh district is one of the most Congressionally competitive districts within the state. This competitiveness is due to the redistricting following the 2010 census ("California's 7th Congressional District Election, 2016."). The Sacramento suburbs, which used to be strongly Republican, has recently been introduced to heavy Democratic influence when the Democrats gained two State Assembly seats in 2010 ("Competitive California Congressional Districts."). The newfound competitiveness is rooted in the 2012 election when Ami Bera, the current incumbent won against the previous GOP incumbent, George Miller, who was the district’s representative from 1975-2013. While Bera won against Miller in 2012, he “barely [survived] against another former Republican congressman in 2014” (Press).

Similar to most of the western states, prior to Spanish explorers in the 1800s, the Sacramento valley was inhabited by Native American tribes. However, “the County was incorporated in 1850 after rapid population growth due to the 1849 California Gold Rush” ("California's 7th Congressional District."). Following came major fare from wagons, stagecoaches, and steamboats until 1969, when the Transcontinental railroad and its impact on the Sacramento County increased agricultural advancements ("California's 7th Congressional District."). Under Roosevelt’s administration, response to the economic emergency included Tower Bridge, constructed in 1935, and other construction projects. Following World War II, California State University, Sacramento opened in 1947 which prompted an influx of youth to the area. California’s 7th Congressional district has strong focal points in the professional, scientific, and management industries as well as educational services to include health care and social assistance. The current demographics of Sacramento County can be seen below in the following charts with a total population estimated at 739,069.

Sex and Age

Estimate

Male

360,676

Female

378,393

0-19 years of age

188,151

20-54 years of age

349,313

55-84 years of age

186,668

85+ years of age

15,937

Median age (years)

38.5

Race

Estimate

White

476,982

Black or African American

56,435

American Indian and Alaska Native

3,350

Asian

119,759

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

7,593

Hispanic or Latino

117,592

Two or more races

49,542

Some other race

25,408

Place of Birth

Estimate

Native

604,400

Born in United States

593,458

State of residence

453,579

Different state

139,879

Born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s)

10,942

Foreign born

134,669

Veteran Status

Estimate

Civilian population 18 years and over

586,629

Civilian veterans

46,919

Disability State of Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population

Estimate

Under 18 years with a disability

7,392

18 to 64 years with a disability

44,788

65 years and over with a disability

40,997

Source: 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

The district is considered competitive primarily because of the redistricting that occurred, giving the upper hand to the Democratic party. While democrats “hold a three percentage point registration edge over Republicans, a fifth of voters have no party preference” (Press). Incumbent Ami Bera won re-election to his third term in 2016, defeating Sacramento County Sheriff, Scott Jones ("California's 7th Congressional District Election, 2016."). While the race was certainly tight and close, “heading into the election, Bera had a significant edge in total fundraising” ("California's 7th Congressional District Election, 2016."). Similarly, Bera was one of the initial fourteen members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline Program yet was also reported for campaign finance fraud. Bob Bera, Ami Bera’s father, “pleaded guilty of violating campaign finance laws” ("California's 7th Congressional District Election, 2016."), forcing Ami Bera to return the illegal contributions to the U.S. Treasury and having Bob Bera sentenced to a year in prison and fined $100,000” ("California's 7th Congressional District Election, 2016."). Regardless of Bera’s hiccup during the 2016 election, he managed to pull out the votes against Jones and win his third term as representative.

Congressman Bera grew up in California and attended the University of California, Irvine pursuing a medical career. Practicing within the Sacramento area, Bera claims to have “put his medical experience to work for his community, serving Sacramento County as Ch