Four Races That Helped Make California State Assembly Democratic Supermajority Viable
Democrats entered with control of 52 of the seats, while Republicans had 28 seats.
According to Steve Maviglio, a Democratic consultant, “We had essentially 52 members put into 50 districts. So, we actually have lost two seats.” But as election results rolled in early Wednesday, Democrats led in three key races.
With redistricting and the new Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act put into effect, Maviglio said Democrats focused on four key districts. Maviglio had predicted before the election that Democrats will fall short of a supermajority and win 50 to 51 of the seats.
For instance, the California Democtratic Party gave nearly $2.2 millioin to Rancho Cordova City Councilmember Ken Cooley, who beat Republican Peter Tateishi for Sacramento’s 8th District.
Although Cooley has significantly outraised his opponent, the race remained tight until the end.
Riverside’s 61st Assembly District was another highly competitive race this election.
Democrat Jose Medina beat Republican William Batey in a district marked by growing Latino numbers in Inland Empire.
The reshaped 61st District, which now includes the majority-Latino cities of Moreno Valley, Riverside and Perris, was an important district for Democrats because the average Californian Latino votes for Democrats.
The California Democratic Party gave nearly $1 million to Medina’s campaign.
Athough pre-election voter registration numbers showed that Democrats had a slight lead in the district, Batey remained a tough contender because 17 percent of the voters were undecided.
Democrat Al Muratsuchi beat Republican contender Craig Huey.
Registration is split pretty evenly, with Democrat registration at 38 percent, and Republican registration at 35 percent.
Experts watched this race closely for two reasons.
First, redistricting lines removed the liberal city of Venice, and replaced it with the much more conservative neighborhood of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Second, the newly drawn district has one of the largest Asian populations in the state, with one in five voters being Asian.
Although the 32nd District has commonly voted Republican, new district lines have given Democrats a 20 percent voter registration advantage. The race was too close to call Wednesday, but the Democrat was winning by 268 votes.
According to the Secretary of State website, Democrat voter registration was at 50 percent, while Republican voter registration was at 30 percent.
Democratic contender, Rudy Salas, the first Latino elected to the Bakersfield City Council in its 138-year history, is running against Republican opponent Pedro Rios.
Salas received a large contribution from the California Democratic Party.
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Reach Staff Reporter Angela Blakely here.