California 24th District
The city of Simi Valley is a product of the 1960s, the expansive postwar years when migrants from points across the United States went west to Los Angeles and then spread beyond city and county limits to fill up barren valleys between the mountains. With their work ethic, varied skills, and appreciation of the local environment, they brought a distaste for the crime and civil strife that seemed all too common in Los Angeles during that turbulent decade in U.S. history. The valleys of Ventura County, west of Los Angeles, filled up with people building new communities in what had been orange and lemon groves. Like California overall, the Ventura County population has trended socially liberal and economically conservative. To the south is upscale Thousand Oaks, one of the safest large cities in the nation. Farther west in Pleasant Valley is Camarillo. In the inland valleys still farther west are Santa Paula and Ojai. Academy Award nominee Sideways, which dealt with the abundant consumption of local wines by two friends, was filmed in nearby Buellton. Looking out toward these valleys and to the Pacific beyond is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley. Housed there are 55 million pages of presidential documents and a large piece of the Berlin Wall, which Reagan famously urged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 24th Congressional District of California includes the interior of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties (most of their coastlines are in the 23rd District), plus a stretch of the Ventura County coastline and the Point Mugu Naval Weapons Test Center. The Santa Barbara County interior is lightly inhabited. It includes the small towns of Lompoc, Solvang, and Santa Ynez, near Reagan’s beloved cabin in the mountains. It shares Vandenberg Air Force Base and the five Channel Islands and their steep cliffs with the 23rd. Most of the population is in eastern Ventura County. Politically, these areas trended Republican, but were more marginal in 2008. The district voted 56% for President George W Bush in 2004, but gave Democrat Barack Obama a 51%-48% edge four years later.