Capitol Alert

Democrats close to regaining two-thirds margin in California Assembly

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, speaks to The Bee Capitol Bureau. Democrats are leading in races for three Republican-held seats, putting Rendon’s Democratic caucus on the verge of achieving a two-thirds super-majority.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, speaks to The Bee Capitol Bureau. Democrats are leading in races for three Republican-held seats, putting Rendon’s Democratic caucus on the verge of achieving a two-thirds super-majority. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Assembly Democrats led in races for a pair of Republican-held seats Wednesday morning, putting them on the verge of achieving a two-thirds supermajority, while Senate Democrats are lagging in their effort to reach the supermajority threshold.

Democrats in both houses captured historic supermajorities in the 2012 election but lost them two years later.

In the Assembly, Democrats need to pick up two seats to reach the 54 votes needed to pass tax measures and certain other types of legislation. As of Wednesday, Democratic candidates had defeated one GOP incumbent and held leads over two others.

In a rematch for a Torrance-based Assembly seat, Al Muratsuchi, a Democratic former assemblyman from Torrance, topped Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach. In another rematch, Sharon Quirk-Silva, a former Democratic assemblywoman from Fullerton, narrowly led Assemblywoman Young Kim, R-Fullerton.

Nearby, Democrat Sabrina Cervantes led Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona, by 4.4 percentage points. Linder, elected in 2012, received uncharacteristic support from some labor unions who backed Democrats in other contests.

Republicans held off a strong challenge to Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, and kept a pair of open seats in GOP hands.

In an interview, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, said he was confident Democrats would come into next year with 55 seats, or one more than the two-thirds threshold. The first priority of the caucus, he said, would be to tackle elusive deals to pay for affordable housing and transportation projects, though he acknowledged that a unified vote for something like a higher gas tax or a real estate transaction fee would be no sure thing.

“Those were things we were going to do regardless of last night,” Rendon said Wednesday. “It’s early to tell how yesterday factors into this.”

In the Senate, Democrats and allied groups targeted a pair of Republican-held districts in Southern California, seeking to increase their current 26-seat caucus to 27, the two-thirds threshold.

Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, defeated Democrat Johnathon Ervin. The margin is much closer in the 29th Senate District, where Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, led Democrat Josh Newman by 1.8 percentage points.

The map below shows where the vote stands in Assembly districts.

Jeremy B. White of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

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