Population 2010

262,382

Population 2020

270,861

Registered Voters

158,244

Republicans

26,051

Democrat

85,812

Minor Party

10,274

No Party

36,107

Brief Political History

Santa Cruz County was a Republican stronghold for most of the 19th and 20th centuries; from 1860 through 1980 the only Democrats to carry Santa Cruz were Woodrow Wilson in 1916, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 and 1936, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, and Jimmy Carter in 1976. However, the opening of UCSC in 1965 caused the county's political landscape to dramatically change.

Today, it is a strongly Democratic county in presidential and congressional elections. The last Republican to carry the county was Ronald Reagan in 1980, and the last Republican to win a majority in the county was Richard Nixon in 1968.

The last Republican to represent a significant portion of Santa Cruz in Congress was Burt L. Talcott, who was defeated in 1976 by Leon Panetta. Santa Cruz County is split between California's 18th and 20th congressional districts, represented by Anna Eshoo (D–Atherton) and Jimmy Panetta (D–Carmel Valley), respectively.

In the State Assembly, Santa Cruz County is split between the 29th and 30th Assembly districts, represented by Democrat Mark Stone and Democrat Robert Rivas, respectively. In the State Senate, Santa Cruz County is entirely within the 17th Senate District, represented by Democrat John Laird.

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