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.
COME CLEAN: Environmentalists tried to clean up perceived problems at the California Coastal Commission this year, but were badly defeated in the end on bills that aimed to bring more transparency to the board. They can still clean up the coast, however, during the commission’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day tomorrow. Last year, more than 68,000 volunteers picked up debris at beaches, shorelines and inland waterways across the state. Find a project near you.
WORTH REPEATING: “Even my wife said she thought it was restrained.” - Gov. Jerry Brown, on his scolding voicemail to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims over her opposition to his criminal justice initiative
REACH OUT: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had to cancel a trip to California this week after falling ill with pneumonia, but her campaign maintained a presence in the Golden State nonetheless. Former President Bill Clinton subbed in for his a wife at a handful of star-studded fundraisers, and now campaign manager Robby Mook is in town for a “volunteer appreciation event” tonight in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Clinton herself got back on the campaign trail Thursday in North Carolina with a new perspective on why she’s running for president.
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.