California State Senate elections, 2012

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California State Senate elections, 2012

Majority controlCampaign contributions
QualificationsTerm limitsImpact of Redistricting

State Legislative Election Results

List of candidates
District 1District 3District 5District 7District 9District 11District 13District 15District 17District 19District 21District 23District 25District 27District 29District 31District 33District 35District 37District 39
California State Senate2012 California Assembly Elections
Elections for the office of California State Senate were held in California on November 6, 2012. State senate seats in the odd-numbered districts were on the ballot in 2012. A total of 20 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 9, 2012. The primary Election Day was June 5, 2012.

See also: California State Assembly elections, 2012 and State legislative elections, 2012

Blanket primary

This was the first election year in which California's Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act was in effect. Because of this, all candidates for a seat competed in one blanket primary. The two candidates who received the most votes then advanced to the general election on November 6.

The proposition's intent was to encourage primary competition, which backers of the act said would lead to more moderate legislators being elected. Despite this intention, only a few centrists successfully advanced to the general election. The primary results did reflect an increase in competition, with California's percentage of contested primaries being much higher than the nationwide average.[1]

However, the increase in competition has also led to an increase in campaign spending, due to the fact that competition within political parties will last for the entire year rather than ending after the primary. Experts predict that this will only increase the power of the special interest groups that fund the campaigns.[1]

Raphael J. Sonenshein, executive director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A., said the following, "It's hard to argue it's a better system where the incumbent congressman has a huge war chest and nobody else has any money... At least now we can make him spend it."[1]

There were nineteen same-party races in the state legislature in November. Nine congressional districts also had same-party candidates battling.[2] Of the total 28 same-party contests, a study by the Public Policy Institute of California rated only twelve as actually competitive. Minor party candidates, meanwhile, were only able to make it to the general election in three races.[3]

Proposition 40

Proposition 40 was a GOP sponsored ballot measure which supported killing the newly drawn senate districts. It ceased to be campaigned for but remained on the ballot after the state Supreme Court ruled that the current lines will be used in this year's general election.[4]

The goal of the proposition was to prevent Democrats from picking up the two additional seats they needed to have a two-thirds majority in the chamber. If the measure passed, the newly drawn senate districts would have been destroyed on the day that new senators are elected to their positions. They would then serve in those districts for four years, with districts being redrawn during that time.[4]

Incumbents retiring

See also: California Game Changers
Name Party Current office
Alan Lowenthal Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 27
Christine Kehoe Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 39
Elaine Alquist Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 13
Joe Simitian Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 11
Robert Dutton Ends.png Republican Senate District 31
Sam Blakeslee Ends.png Republican Senate District 15
Sharon Runner Ends.png Republican Senate District 17
Tom Harman Ends.png Republican Senate District 35
Tony Strickland Ends.png Republican Senate District 19

Majority control

See also: Partisan composition of state senates

Heading into the November 6 election, the Democratic Party held the majority in the California State Senate:

California State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 25 26
     Republican Party 15 12
Total 40 40


Campaign contributions

See also: State-by-state comparison of donations to state senate campaigns

This chart shows how many candidates ran for state senate in California in past years and the cumulative amount of campaign contributions in state senate races, including contributions in both primary and general election contests. All figures come from Follow The Money.[5]

Year Number of candidates Total contributions
2010 63 $23,000,670
2008 59 $35,169,351
2006 63 $30,011,241
2004 69 $32,887,100
2002 53 $22,148,467

In 2010, the candidates running for senate raised a total of $23,000,670 in campaign funds. Their top 10 contributors were:[6]

Donor Amount
California Democratic Party $2,591,242
California Republican Party $1,249,852
AT$T $240,088
Carol Liu for Senate $227,997
California Association of Realtors $195,600
Merced County Democratic Central Cmte $190,000
Republican Party of Stanislaus County $174,000
California Dental Association $171,200
California State Council of Laborers $166,835
California Professional Fire Fighters $158,898

Qualifications

A candidate shall:

A. Be at least 30 years of age, a U.S. citizen for nine years, and a resident of California when elected. U.S. Const. Art. I, §3
B. Have a valid voter registration affidavit on file in the county of residence at the time nomination papers are obtained. §201
C. Satisfy the following registration requirements:
1. Be registered with the political party whose nomination he or she is seeking for not less than three months immediately prior to the time the declaration of candidacy is presented to the county elections official or, if eligible to register for less than three months, for as long as he or she has been eligible to register to vote in California. §8001(a)(1)
2. Not have been registered as affiliated with any other qualified political party within twelve months immediately prior to the filing of the declaration of candidacy. §8001(a)(2)[7]
Map of California Senate Districts with less than 10% party registration differential before and after the 2010 redistricting. A total of 6 legislative districts meet the criteria before and after 2010.

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in California

Redistricting in California in 2011 was undertaken by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission for the first time. California voters took the redistricting powers away from legislators through the ballot process in 2008 and 2010.

California state senators represent roughly 1 million citizens while assembly members have about 500,000 constituents.[8] Those are the most citizens per legislator in the country. Some Democrats are hopeful of obtaining a two-thirds majority in the Senate, while skepticism remains about the assembly. The institution of a blanket primary also added uncertainty to the 2012 race.[9]

In California, there are six state senate districts where the partisan registration of Democratic and Republican voters is less than 10 percentage points apart. These districts would be considered "competitive" when looked at strictly with respect to vote party affiliation. The six districts in California are District 5, 21, 27, 29, 31 and 34.

Double representation

There was the possibility that some voters would be re-located either from an odd district to an even district, or vice versa. But even more specifically, there was the possibility that a senator elected in 2010 could have run in 2012 in an even-numbered district. Were that to happen, then the odd-district would be represented by a "custodian" -- selected by the Rules Committee.

Meanwhile, if a senator in an odd-district (elected in 2008) were to be moved into an even-district, then the voters of that district would have two senators -- the new senator, and the old one elected in 2010.

Term limits

Joe Simitian represented District 11 in the California State Senate from 2004 until 2012. He will be ineligible to run for re-election in 2012.
See also State legislatures with term limits and Impact of term limits on state senate elections in 2012

The California State Senate has been a term-limited state senate since California voters approved Proposition 140 in 1990. Under the terms of Proposition 140, California's senators can serve no more than two 4-year terms in the state senate. This is a lifetime limit, as is the case in five other states with state senatorial term limits.

There are 40 California State Senators. In 2012, 6 who are current members, 15% of the total senate seats, were ineligible to run for the senate again in November. Of them, 4 were Democratic and 2 were Republican.

In addition to the 6 state senators who left office because of California's term limits, 22 state representatives were also termed-out.

The state senators who were term-limited in 2012 were:

Democrats (4):

Republicans (2):

List of candidates

District 1

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 3

Note: Incumbent Mark Leno (D) won re-election in District 11.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 5

Note: Incumbent Lois Wolk (D) won re-election in District 3.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 7

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 9

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 11

Note: Incumbent Joe Simitian (D) was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 13

Note: Incumbent Elaine Alquist (D) was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 15

Note: Incumbent Sam Blakeslee (R) did not run for re-election.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 17

Note: Incumbent Sharon Runner (R) did not run for re-election.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 19

Note: Incumbent Tony Strickland (R) ran for election to California's 26th Congressional District.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 21

Note: Incumbent Carol Liu (D) won re-election in District 25.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 23

Note: Incumbent Fran Pavley (D) won re-election in District 27.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 25

Note: Incumbent Roderick "Rod" Wright (D) won re-election in District 35.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 27

Note: Incumbent Alan Lowenthal (D) was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits. He won election to the U.S. House in California's 47th Congressional District.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 29

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 31

Note: Incumbent Robert Dutton (R) was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits. He ran for election to the U.S. House in California's 31st Congressional District.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 33

Note: Incumbent Mimi Walters (R) won re-election in District 37.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 35

Note: Incumbent Tom Harman (R) was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 37

Note: Incumbent Bill Emmerson (R) won re-election in District 23.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

District 39

Note: Incumbent Christine Kehoe (D) was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.

June 5 primary candidates:

November 6 General election candidates:

See also

External links

References