Tag Archives: AD-63

State Legislature Picture – One Week Out

As Brian hit earlier today, these are tough times for the California Yacht Party.  There are competitive races in the state Legislature, in particular the Assembly, in over 30% of the seats currently held by Republicans.  Democratic allies are obviously feeling excited about these races as well, as the independent expenditures have jumped.  Here’s my list of the top races in order of likelihood of a flip:


1) AD-80. Manuel Perez (D) is poised for victory in this Palm Springs-area seat.  The polls have shown double-digit leads.  LIKELY DEM.

2) AD-78.  Marty Block (D), the recipient of a lot of that largesse from the IE’s, is not in an easy race with Republican John McCann (not McCain) by any stretch.  The ads have been tough on both sides and the California Dental Association is unusually interested in knocking off Block.  But it’s a Democratic year and the top of the ticket should help him.  LEAN DEM.

3) AD-15.  The big news here is that Ed Chavez, the Republican mayor of Stockton, endorsed Joan Buchanan for this seat.  Chavez is a moderate and a former Democrat, but an endorsement like this in one of the bigger cities in the district is helpful.  Buchanan looks strong.  LEAN DEM.

4) AD-10.  Calitics Match candidate Alyson Huber has her very first ad on the air, attacking her opponent Jack Sieglock for being a “career politician.”  It’s funny, too (although I think everyone has to stop with the I’m a Mac/I’m a PC parodies).  The response from the Sieglock camp has been to call Huber a carpetbagger, but considering she’s lived in the area and went to college there before transferring to Cornell, that hit doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Unions are spending big up here.  I think this one goes late into Election Night.  TOSS UP.

5) AD-26.  Jack O’Connell just endorsed John Eisenhut, and the state Democratic Party obviously has some numbers it likes – they just poured $300,000 into the race.  There’s going to be a major flooding of the district with cash in the final week, and Eisenhut has a 5:1 cash-on-hand advantage.  I really think this one is close, with Bill Berryhill slightly favored.  SLIGHT LEAN REPUBLICAN.

6) AD-36.  It really would be incredible to pull off this race.  A Democrat has not represented Palmdale in this seat since 1974.  But Linda Jones has a real chance to pull this off.  Republican Steve Knight is an LAPD officer and he’s still favored, but I’m hoping against hope.  This is the tipping point race.  LEAN REPUBLICAN.

7) AD-37.  Ferial Masry’s third try to unseat Audra Strickland (R) is getting a lot of residual help in this race from the hotly contested Senate contest in SD-19 between Tony Strickland.  I don’t see a lot of people voting for one Strickland and not the other, so it’s even more helpful in this case.  Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star thinks the race is tightening – he’s seen Strickland release several mailers and the Democratic Party play a bit on Masry’s behalf.  Alberto Torrico and Karen Bass have been in the district.  This is a sleeper.  LEAN REPUBLICAN.

8) AD-02.  The only reason this is up there is because the guy the Republicans put up may not live in the district.

A claim that Republican Assembly candidate Jim Nielsen doesn’t live in the district in which he’s running has apparently led the secretary of state’s office to refer the case for prosecution.

Complainant Barry Clausen of Redding received a letter from the state office, dated Tuesday. The one-page notice says it has concluded its investigation against Nielsen and referred the case for prosecution to the state attorney general’s office.

Going to the AG’s office is pretty far down the road.  Paul Singh might just back into this race.  LIKELY REPUBLICAN.

9) AD-59. Anthony Adams is actually an incumbent, making this a more difficult battle.  But Bill Postmus’ explosion in San Bernardino county has soured the reputation of Republicans in the district, and Donald Williamson, the San Bernardino County assessor, has a decent profile.  This is certainly on the far outside edge of being competitive.  LIKELY REPUBLICAN.

10) AD-66.  There’s still the idea that Grey Frandsen can steal this seat for the Democrats, and while it’s unlikely against incumbent Kevin Jeffries, The local Inland Empire paper has kept an eye on this race.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility.  LIKELY REPUBLICAN.

AD-63 and AD-65 have potential as well, but this time I think they’re SAFE.


1) SD-19.  This is just an epic battle with loads of cash on both sides, mainly because it’s the only seat worth playing in for the State Senate.  The Ventura County Star endorsed Hannah-Beth Jackson over Tony Strickland, and she used some humor to mock Strickland’s endless attack mailers.  It’s going to be a long night waiting for this one in Ventura and Santa Barbara County. TOSS-UP.

The Drive For 2/3: Republicans Falling Off The Cliff

There are two arguments against Prop. 11.  One is that in 60% of the regions of the state, no amount of gerrymandering is going to create a competitive seat (and that’s all this redistricting measure would accomplish – gerrymandering under another name).  I live in Santa Monica.  I have yet to get a legitimate answer about how to incorporate my 70-80% Democratic city into a contiguous region and make it competitive.  You go South and there’s Venice and the South Bay, and by the time you get to a Republican pocket the district is too large to include them.  You go north and there’s Malibu and the Palisades and blue cities up the coast.  You go east and there’s Los Angeles, with liberals everywhere.  You go west and you’re in the ocean.

The other argument is that the other 40% of the state actually has the potential for competition, and the district boundaries are indeed not constrictive.  Demography is destiny but it is not static.  People die, people are born, people achieve voting age.  People move into cities, others move out.  This demographic shift has been occurring for a while now, with the eastern counties moving back to the Democrats, and it’s reaching a critical mass in 2008.

Until recently I considered the drive for a 2/3 majority in the Assembly and the Senate to be a two-year project, culminating with a new Democratic governor in 2010.  That is still true in the Senate, thanks to Don Perata’s bungling of races in SD-12 and SD-15.  Honestly, he should be indicted for his failed leadership, forget the corruption.  But in the Assembly, we absolutely have the chance to get a 2/3 majority, and everyone is starting to recognize that.

SACRAMENTO – The sliding economy and other factors are giving a lift to Democrats in key legislative races that are coming down to the wire, according to consultants working with those races.

In polls that ask whether likely voters would vote for a generic Democrat or Republican in five state Assembly districts with open seats, Democrats get the nod in all five.

What’s more, in two seats held by Republicans – Assembly Districts 38 and 63 – a generic Democrat vs. Republican race is a dead heat, according to the consultants, who hosted a background briefing for reporters Tuesday.

That would be seven races, and six seats are needed for 2/3.

This has been increasingly clear over the past several months.  Manuel Perez has been pulling away in his race in AD-80 against Gary Jeandron with his transformative message of social and economic justice.  Marty Block has been outspending his opponent John McCann in AD-78 by over 8:1 in TV advertising, although McCann is benefiting from IEs, including, bizarrely enough, the California Dental Association.  Between those two plurality-Democratic seats, and the competitive race in AD-15 with Joan Buchanan, 3 seats looked like a good haul.

At this point, Republicans ought to pull out of those 3 seats altogether and put up a firewall.  Because Alyson Huber is looking very strong in AD-10.  And the unions are throwing down for John Eisenhut in AD-26.  And there are wild-card seats that are starting to look incredibly attractive.

The Antelope Valley, the vast open land between Los Angeles and San Bernadino counties typically isn’t very hospitable territory for Democrats for the legislature. It’s the home of the hard-right couple of George and Sharon Runners, who, between them, have occupied the 36th district Assembly seat for more than a decade. No Democrat has held the seat since 1974.

This year, things might be a little different. Democrats have nearly evened the registration gap, down to just a two percent GOP advantage compared to eight points just two years ago.

Enter Linda Jones, a Westside Union School District trustee and a Vice president of the Antelope Valley School Boards Association, who is making a hard run for the seat. She is taking on Palmdale City Council member Steve Knight, a former LA police officer.

Jones is no sacrificial lamb. She’s been running full throttle for months, backed by labor, educators, and African-American groups. Knight, a former LA police officer, is a cookie-cutter Republican running on illegal immigration, a no tax pledge, and a strong opponent of gun control.

We can win that race.  Eric Bauman tipped me off to it three months ago.

AD-37, with Ferial Masry running against Audra Strickland, is winnable too, especially if she gets a draft off of Hannah-Beth Jackson’s overlapping State Senate race.  And AD-63 is even on a generic ballot, according to Democratic consultants.  And AD-66 could be a surprise on election night, thanks to a strong candidate in Grey Frandsen, a former employee of Russ Feingold.  If you add that up, you’re talking about 9 of the 32 Assembly seats held by Republicans in play, over 30%.  So does that sound like gerrymandering to you?  A progressive wave makes redistricting talk look ridiculous.

Alberto Torrico is giving the soft sell, but this is a great opportunity.  It’s a wave election, and every new voter that Obama turns out in California is a likely candidate to vote the Democratic ticket.  Every new voter registered by a Congressional candidate might vote for a Democrat in the Senate and Assembly.  And it’s not as easy for Republicans to play defense in such an environment.  They have the dismal national economic picture and the state budget crisis to contend with, and they’re out of money.

If there was no excuse yesterday, there’s REALLY no excuse now.  This is the time.  If the laws of the state government are designed to prevent change, if they force us to meet “unreachable” goals, then we reach them.  

Do everything you can to get 2/3.

More from Louis Jacobson.