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Your guide to California policy and politics
BY Emily Hoeven November 14, 2022
Presented by Climate-Smart Agricultural Partnership, Californians Against Higher Taxes, Save our Capitol and Sutter Health

California may determine control of the House

This is what they call a nail-biter, folks.

With Democrats managing to hang on to control of the U.S. Senate following votes tallied this weekend, all eyes have shifted to the U.S. House — and to California, which could end up determining the balance of power in Congress and the political direction of the country.

With 218 House seats needed for a majority, Republicans had secured 212 and Democrats 204 as of Sunday, according to the Associated Press. But 19 races remained too close to call — including 12 in California.

In three Golden State contests, the candidates were within 3 percentage points of each other as of Sunday night, CalMatters’ live results tracker shows. Other gaps weren’t much larger: In the Central Valley, for example, Republican Rep. David Valadao was about 5 percentage points ahead of his Democratic challenger, Assemblymember Rudy Salas.

The three closest races include:

  • The matchup between Democratic Rep. Katie Porter and Republican Scott Baugh in Orange County.
  • The race between Republican Rep. Ken Calvert and Democrat Will Rollins for a district spanning the Coachella Valley and Riverside County.
  • And the contest between Republican farmer John Duarte and Democratic Assemblymember Adam Gray for a newly created district anchored in Modesto.

Although the Democratic Party’s unexpectedly strong national showing suggests predictions of a Republican “red wave” were largely overblown, the party is unlikely to flip some GOP-held California congressional seats if current ballot trends persist, Nate Cohn, the New York Times’ chief political analyst, tweeted Saturday.

Regardless of which party ends up in control of the House, a Californian is in line to take the helm: either current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, or Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican.

The election may also pose a conundrum for Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose path to higher office could be stymied by results seemingly contradicting his repeated assertion that the Democratic Party is getting “crushed on narrative,” argues Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman.

2022 Election

Your guide to the 2022 general election in California

Here’s a quick rundown of other California election updates:

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1 California poised to elect most diverse Legislature ever

An LGBTQ flag on a desk on the Assembly floor at the state Capitol on May 31, 2022. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters

Although ballots are still being tallied in some of California’s most competitive legislative races, it appears that voters elected record numbers of women and LGBTQ people to the state Assembly and Senate — a milestone that could also translate to different policies coming out of Sacramento, CalMatters’ Ariel Gans and Sameea Kamal report. California is heading toward at least 43 female lawmakers out of 120 — a record — and could elect as many as 52. Meanwhile, eight openly LGBTQ candidates are winning their races — putting California on track to be the first state to achieve proportional LBGTQ legislative representation — and as many as 14 could be elected.

  • Susannah Delano of Close the Gap, a political advocacy group that works to elect Democratic women, said having more female lawmakers could result in an increased focus on reproductive health care, pay equity and family economic issues.
  • Samuel Garrett-Pate of Equality California, a political advocacy and civil rights group supporting LGBTQ+ candidates: “There’s a lot of work for us to do to achieve full equality. It’s not as simple as just passing civil rights protections. It’s tough work that takes a long time, but we know that we can make greater progress when we have more (LGBTQ) people in the room helping make these decisions.”

2022 Election

Latest coverage of the 2022 general election in California

2 State braces for week of strikes

Demonstrators walk through the UCLA campus demanding fair wages for UC faculty on Oct. 13, 2021. Photo by Zaydee Sanchez for CalMatters

Welcome to “Strikesgiving,” round two: At least three strikes are set to take place across California in the next week as burned-out and frustrated workers hit the picket line:

  • Starting today, as many as 48,000 University of California academic workers — including teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars and graduate student researchers — are set to strike at all 10 UC campuses, a move that could cause some classes, grading and lab work to grind to a halt just weeks ahead of final exams. The four striking unions — which have filed 23 unfair labor practice complaints against UC — are pushing for significant pay increases, improved child care subsidies, enhanced health care coverage and public transit passes, among other demands. “We teach the classes, grade the papers and perform the cutting-edge research that has earned UC its reputation as the best public university in the world,” the unions told the Los Angeles Times. UC said in a statement that it has “bargained in good faith” and proposed contracts that “are generous, responsive to union priorities, and recognize the many valuable contributions of these employees.”
  • On Tuesday, fast food workers across California are slated to strike outside of restaurants including Starbucks, Chipotle and Jack in the Box to protest the companies’ efforts to qualify a 2024 referendum to overturn a new law establishing a state council to regulate industry wages and working conditions. McDonald’s employees across the country also plan to protest outside of the company’s corporate headquarters in Chicago to show their solidarity with California workers, according to the advocacy group Fight for $15 and a Union.
  • Next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 21-22, more than 21,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners are set to strike at 21 Kaiser Permanente facilities across Northern California to call for increased hiring and training, minimum staffing guidelines and improved job protections. “We are chronically short-staffed, which means patients are waiting longer for care,” Cathy Kennedy, president of the California Nurses Association, said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and unconscionable when Kaiser made more than $14 billion during the first two years of the pandemic.” Kaiser told the Sacramento Bee that it’s hired about 3,300 additional nurses since 2021 and is “committed to hiring hundreds more.” The proposed labor action comes not long after thousands of Kaiser mental health workers walked off the job for 10 weeks.

3 Flu surge strains capacity at some hospitals

A child arrives for vaccination against COVID-19 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego on June 21, 2022. Photo by Mike Blake, Reuters

An early surge of flu and other respiratory illnesses has forced some San Diego hospitals to begin setting up overflow tents in their parking lots to deal with the influx of patients — a scene reminiscent of those at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials say the mounting stress on hospitals and clinics — especially those treating kids — is the latest indication that California could face a “tripledemic” this winter of flu, COVID and respiratory syntactical virus, a common cause of pneumonia in infants. Although there isn’t a vaccine for RSV, health experts are urging eligible residents to get updated flu and COVID shots as soon as possible.

  • Dr. Zoey Goore, a pediatric hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente in Roseville, told CapRadio: “All of the children that have been hospitalized with complications of the flu did not have their vaccine yet this year.”

Although California’s overall coronavirus picture remains positive, cases and hospitalizations are beginning to tick up in some regions, including Los Angeles County. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said her office will return to strongly recommending face masks if current trends continue, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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CalMatters Commentary


CalMatters columnist Dan Walters: Nearly three years after Newsom promised to aggressively work on California’s homelessness crisis, he’s once again placing it atop his agenda.

How Albertsons-Kroger merger could hurt California’s economy: If regulators don’t intervene, the deal will trigger grocery store closures, job losses and potentially more cost increases for consumers, argue Daniel Flaming, president of the Economic Roundtable, and Judy Wood, a cake decorator at Albertsons.

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Other things worth your time


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Four states just banned involuntary servitude in their constitutions. Will California try again? // Sacramento Bee

Villanueva could do what decades of police reformers could not: Place limits on L.A. County sheriff. // Los Angeles Times

Investigation launched into dozen Santa Clara County ballots found discarded in mountain ravine. // Mercury News

Did San Jose spend its homelessness funding wisely? A state legislator wants to check. // Mercury News

County’s housing voucher program for the homeless comes under scrutiny. // San Diego Union-Tribune

San Francisco and the U.S. were solving veteran homelessness until Trump. Can the promise be restored? // San Francisco Chronicle

S.F. just unveiled its last attempt to prove it can build 82,000 homes by 2031. // San Francisco Standard

FTX bankruptcy hits Bay Area venture capital firms — and the Warriors, Steph Curry and UC Berkeley. // San Francisco Chronicle

Disney details plans for cost cuts, layoffs and hiring freeze in memo. // Wall Street Journal

Why are Marines working unpaid shifts as security guards at California concerts? // San Francisco Standard

Capt. Hollywood: The ex-LAPD boss who tipped off CBS to Moonves assault claim. // Los Angeles Times

Prosecutors in these states can review sentences they deem extreme. Few do. // The Marshall Project

Oakland grand jury indicts former U.S. lobbyist for deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, alleging money laundering. // San Francisco Chronicle

Meet the California tech CEO spending millions to stop Elon Musk. // Washington Post

Is California on its way to banning rodeos? Behind the growing movement to buck the event. // Los Angeles Times

Eureka ran its Chinese residents out. Now it reckons with its past. // Los Angeles Times

Remaking the river that remade Los Angeles. // New York Times Magazine

The fight for California’s other iconic forest: kelp. // Press Democrat

Kanaye Nagasawa: The samurai who forever changed California. // BBC

See you tomorrow

Tips, insight or feedback? Email emily@calmatters.org.

Follow me on Twitter: @emily_hoeven

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