Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive California elections in 2014

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March 31, 2014

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2014 California Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

Although maintaining a Democratic majority in both chambers of the California State Legislature is not in question in 2014, a supermajority for the majority party is not a guarantee. Leland Yee's (D) arrest has left the Senate one vote short of a supermajority, placing an extra emphasis on the November elections. Andy Vidak (R), who won a 2013 special election in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, provides hope for the state's Republican Party that the supermajority can be broken. Vidak attributed his success to breaking with the national platform and focusing on "common sense" local issues. Now other legislative candidates are hoping to use that formula to gain a foothold in the capitol, with Chairman Jim Brulte having his candidates creating a message that resonates with his or her constituents rather than simply sticking to the national platform." Denying the Democrats a supermajority in both chambers would allow Republicans to have a voice in major policy debate.[1]

March 7 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for California State Senate and California State Assembly. Elections in 20 Senate districts and 80 Assembly districts will consist of a primary election on June 3, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, California State Senate elections and California State Assembly elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Democratic Party holds the majority in both state legislative chambers. California's office of Governor is held by Jerry Brown (D), making the state one of 14 with a Democratic state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 17 seats, or 85 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 13 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

California State Senate
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 27 25
     Republican Party 12 14
     Vacancy 1 1
Total 40 40

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is 30 seats, or 37.5 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 60 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot. In 2012, a total of three districts had a margin of victory in the general election of 5 percent or less. Another seven districts had a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent.[3]

California State Assembly
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 55 52
     Republican Party 24 28
     Vacancy 1 0
Total 80 80
2015
2013
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2014 State Legislative Elections

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Margin of victory

Senate

20 seats in the Senate were up for election in 2012. None of those districts are up for election in 2014.

House

All 80 seats in the Assembly were up for election in 2012. Three of those districts held competitive elections with a margin of victory ranging from 0 to 5 percent. Another five districts held mildly competitive elections with a margin of victory between 5 and 10 percent. One district that held a competitive election in 2012 has only one major party candidate in 2014.[3]

The districts with elections in 2014 which held competitive or mildly competitive elections in 2012 are:

Competitive

Mildly Competitive

Previously Competitive, Now Unopposed

  • District 60: Incumbent Eric Linder (R) is unopposed in the blanket primary. Linder won by a margin of victory of 4 percent in 2012.

Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In California's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[4]

  • There are 33 open seats (33.0%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 50 incumbents (50.0%) face a primary challenger.
  • 73 districts (73.0%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing California Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 38.0% 7 9.6% 37 8.0% 6 18.5 11
2012 44.0% 1 35.7% 10 92.0% 4 57.2 1
2014 33.0% Pending 50.0% Pending 73.0% Pending 49.9 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the California State Senate.

California Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
50.0% 40.0% 65.0% 51.7

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 7 of the 20 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of five Democrats and two Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the blanket primary in 13 of the 20 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

Eight incumbents will face primary competition on June 8. Ten incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another two incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state senators facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

Ten incumbent senators, nine Democrats and one Republican, are not running for re-election, while 10 (50.0%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Noreen Evans Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 2
Darrell Steinberg Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 6
Leland Yee Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 8
Ellen M. Corbett Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 10
Alex Padilla Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 20
Ted Lieu Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 28
Ronald S. Calderon Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 30
Norma Torres Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 32
Lou Correa Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District 34
Mark Wyland Ends.png Republican Senate District 38

House

The following table details competitiveness in the California State Assembly.

California House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
75.0% 52.5% 71.3% 66.3

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 20 of the 80 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. A total of 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances.

Two major party candidates will face off in the general election in 60 of the 80 districts up for election.

Primary challenges

A total of 42 incumbents will face primary competition on June 3. 23 incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 15 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The Assembly members facing primary competition include:

Retiring incumbents

23 incumbent Assembly members, thirteen Democrats and ten Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 57 (71.3%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Wesley Chesbro Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 2
Dan Logue Ends.png Republican Assembly District 3
Mariko Yamada Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 4
Roger Dickinson Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 7
Richard Pan Ends.png Republican Assembly District 9
Nancy Skinner Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 15
Joan Buchanan Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 16
Tom Ammiano Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 17
Bob Wieckowski Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 25
Connie Conway Ends.png Republican Assembly District 26
Paul Fong Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 28
Tim Donnelly Ends.png Republican Assembly District 33
Mike Morrell Ends.png Republican Assembly District 40
Brian Nestande Ends.png Republican Assembly District 42
Jeff Gorell Ends.png Republican Assembly District 44
John Perez Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 53
Curt Hagman Ends.png Republican Assembly District 55
Manuel Perez Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 56
Steven Bradford Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 62
Isadore Hall, III Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 64
Bonnie Lowenthal Electiondot.png Democratic Assembly District 70
Diane Harkey Ends.png Republican Assembly District 73
Allan R. Mansoor Ends.png Republican Assembly District 74

See also

External links

References