Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: California State Legislature

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November 2, 2012

By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

California's State Legislative Elections in 2012
Senate seats Contested senate seats House seats Contested house seats
20 18 (90.0%) 80 76 (95.0%)

Sacramento: California: There are 100 total legislative seats with 2012 elections in California, where polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM Pacific Time.[1]

The Democratic Party has partisan control of the California State Senate 25-15 heading into the 2012 elections. They need to gain two seats in order to achieve a 2/3 supermajority. They currently hold 14 even-numbered seats and are expected to win 12 of the 20 odd-numbered seats already, meaning that they just need one more to hit the 27 seat mark. Three of the odd-numbered seats are rated as toss-ups and will most likely determine whether Democrats gain their supermajority, Districts 5, 27, and 31. Currently, District 27 is lacking a strong Republican candidate, making it the most likely to be won by Democrats in 2012.[2]

As a result of the new redistricting process, it has been estimated that up to 40 percent of the legislative seats could be won by new candidates in 2012.[3]

Of the 100 incumbents up for election in 2012, 56 (56.00%) of them are running for re-election. A total of 94 of 100 (94.0%) districts will see more than one major party candidate in the general election.

Here are a few races to watch:


  • District 5 is projected to be one of the tight races that determines Democrats chances of getting a super majority. Bill Berryhill (R) will face incumbent Cathleen Galgiani (D). Berryhill will likely need to win this seat in order to keep Democrats from gaining a supermajority.[4]
  • District 27: While the Republican candidate Todd Zink has been raising significantly less money than Democrat Fran Pavley, the newly redrawn district does encompass more conservatives than it did prevously, which should make for a very tight race in November.[5] Zink, a prosecutor and Marine Corps Reserve officer, is thought to have a fighting chance at getting the seat.[4]
  • District 31: Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller, who has high name recognition, will look to keep a seat for Republicans against Democratic challenger Richard Roth.[4] In early September, this already tight race was further complicated by Steve Clute (D), who came in third in the primary. Despite being a Democrat, he took the unusual step of endorsing Miller, a Republican.[6]


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

California State Assembly
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 52 56
     Republican Party 28 24
Total 80 80

See also