Capitol Alert

AM Alert: GOP Assembly seat in San Bernardino could be Democrat pickup

40th Assembly District candidates Abigail Medina and Marc Steinorth
40th Assembly District candidates Abigail Medina and Marc Steinorth Courtesy of Medina and Steinorth campaigns

Suburban San Bernardino County has always provided a safe Republican seat in the Legislature. But this is California in 2016, so just about nothing is safe for Republicans anymore.

With redistricting and changing demographics, Democrats now have a nearly 5-point voter registration advantage in the 40th Assembly District encompassing Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands and part of San Bernardino. Currently held by Republican Marc Steinorth, Democrats clearly sense a pick-up opportunity and have been dumping resources into the district in recent weeks.

His challenger, Abigail Medina, a school board member in San Bernardino, has received more than $364,000 from the California Democratic Party, central committees across the state and other candidates in non-competitive races since Aug. 15. Medina, who actually won the June primary with almost 52 percent of the vote, is hosting a campaign kickoff party tomorrow in Redlands.

The California Republican Party responded this week with a $140,000 contribution to Steinorth. You know things are getting serious when the big bucks start rolling in.

It’s not the only seat that Republicans will have to defend this November. There appear to be at least seven GOP districts where Democrats are making a major play right now.

They include the obvious – four seats that Assembly Democrats lost in 2014 – as well as some bold plays to expand the party’s imprint in the state, including a challenge to Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona, in another traditionally Republican area.

Democrats only need to win two of those to reclaim their two-thirds supermajority in the Assembly. So if Nov. 8 is an especially good night for them, they could be looking at a historically large caucus come 2017.

See more at The Money Trail.

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CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who is celebrating 45 with a spot on Politico’s visionaries list. And early well wishes to Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills, who turns 57 tomorrow, and to Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Arcadia, who will be 55.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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