New registration trends suggest Kern County, once a red dot in a blue state, could soon be home to a majority of registered Democrats.
10 years ago, the Golden Empire was home to 134,849 registered Republicans compared to just 108,860 registered democrats. Members of the Grand Old Party outnumbered Dems by more than 25,000.
In 2014, that margin shrunk to less than 10,000.
Now, roughly two months to go until primary Election Day, the margin stands at just 4,812.
On this last day of 2019, the numbers stand at 136,910 registered Republicans and 132,098 registered Democrats. Another 96,250 registered as no party preference.
“In the next few years, we could come full circle,” said Mark Salvaggio, an independent political observer who served five terms on the Bakersfield City Council.
He believes changing demographics have shaped and will continue to shape Kern voter registration numbers in the next decade.
“Democratic registration has increased over the last decade because of the growth of the Latino population. Kern county is now 53% majority Latino. That trend is going to continue to rise,” Salvaggio said.
Even so, he said we may not see a change in who is elected. That, according to Salvaggio, is due to gerrymandering — a legal process by which governing political parties draw up legislative districts to help keep their party’s candidates in power.
“Because of the gerrymandering of the various districts, you’re not going to see any change. Mccarthy is safe. Fong is safe. Grove is safe. Salas is safe. Hurtado is safe.”
Tuesday marks 63 days until primary election day — March 3rd, 2020.