California Democrats are just three votes short of a supermajority in the state Legislature. If this year’s election produces two additional Democratic seats in the state Assembly and one in the Senate, Democrats will control two-thirds of the Legislature’s 120 seats. Among other things, that means Democrats could pass a tax increase without Republican support.
So what are the challenges and opportunities for Republicans this year?
- Open Republican Seats: Seven Republican incumbents are termed out -- six the Assembly and one in the Senate. There is one additional open Republican seat because Assembly member Ling Ling Chang (R-Brea) is running for the Senate vacated by termed-out Sen. Bob Huff (R-Brea). The Assembly seats are considered pretty safe for Republicans but Chang’s Senate race against the former Democratic mayor of Irvine could be competitive.
- Open Democratic Seats: Thirteen incumbent Democrats are termed out (five in the Senate, eight in the Assembly) but they are considered pretty safe Democratic seats.
- Incumbent Democrats: Republicans could try to unseat an incumbent Democrat, but no serious challenges have taken shape. At least three Democrats are in competitive districts and could face Republicans threats: Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-San Joaquin), Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside) and Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Camarillo).
- Incumbent Republicans: Republicans have to defend 35 incumbents (9 in the Senate, 26 in the Assembly) and that’s where things could be difficult. Six Assembly seats are among the GOP’s challenges:
- AD 16: Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) is facing her first re-election in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans.
- AD 36: Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) is being challenged by Steve Fox, the former Assembly Democrat he unseated in 2014, in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans.
- AD 40: Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) is being challenged by a Democratic school board member in a competitive district.
- AD 60: Eric Linder (R-Corona) is being challenged by the aide to a Democratic Assembly member in a competitive district.
- AD 65: Young Kim (R-Buena Park) is being challenged by Sharon Quirk-Silva, the former Assembly Democrat she unseated in 2014.
- AD 66: David Hadley (R-Torrance) is being challenged by Al Muratsuchi, the former Assembly Democrat he unseated in 2014, in a seat where Democrats outnumber Republicans.