If you needed a reminder of the Democratic Party’s dominance of California politics, here it is: For the second time in four years, at least two-thirds of Assembly seats will be blue.
Cementing the party’s Golden State hegemony, Democrat Sabrina Cervantes toppled Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona, from his Riverside County seat. A week after Election Day, the Associated Press called the tight race for Cervantes, who held a roughly 7,000-vote lead.
Cervantes prevailed despite organized labor backing the Republican Linder, a rarity given the close alliance between unions and California Democrats. After SEIU California endorsed Linder, the second-term Assemblyman benefited from spending by both organized labor groups and an oil-industry-funded committee that piled up more than $600,000 on his behalf in the campaign’s final month.
But Cervantes had the weight of the California Democratic Party establishment behind her, and she was able to capitalize on the demographics of a district where registered Democrats held a three-point edge over Republicans.
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With the addition of Cervantes, Assembly Democrats now control at least 54 seats. That margin would allow them to pass taxes, move constitutional amendments to the ballot and amend political spending laws without needing any Republican support. They could still add on, too: former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat, leads Assemblywoman Young Kim, R-Fullerton, in an undecided Orange County contest. Quirk-Silva declared victory late Wednesday.
Still, bills must pass through both the Assembly and the Senate to become law. While Democrats are assured a majority in the Senate, their hopes of winning a supermajority there come down to a yet-to-be-called clash between Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, and Democrat Josh Newman for an open 29th Senate District seat. Chang holds a two-percentage-point lead, and if that holds, Senate Democrats would be one seat short of a supermajority.