California Democrats May Have Supermajority in Both Assembly, Senate

(Justin Sullivan: Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan: Getty Images)

California Democrats are on the brink of a historic political achievement: Assemblyman John Perez has declared that Democrats have gained a two-thirds supermajority in the Assembly, and the California Senate is also trending that way.

If those totals hold, the Democrats will have attained a Proposition 13-proof advantage that would enable them to raise taxes without any votes from Republicans, largely intractable on the tax issue, or having to go to the voters, as Gov. Brown did with his Proposition 30.

But it’s not a done deal. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The party’s apparent capture of 54 seats in the 80-member Assembly and 27 in the 40-member Senate would mark the first time in nearly 80 years that one party controlled two-thirds of both houses, according to Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg.

While several legislative races in swing districts are still close – including an Assembly race in the Central Valley and another in Orange County – both Pérez and Steinberg said Wednesday that they are confident Democrats’ slim leads will hold.

But Paul Mitchell, a political expert whose Sacramento-based firm, Redistricting Partners, provides campaigns on both sides of the aisle with voter information, said it’s unclear how many provisional and absentee ballots are still outstanding and that either of the Assembly races could still turn for Republicans.

Also, current state senator Gloria Negrete-McLeoud defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Baca for an Inland Empire House seat, and in San Diego, State Senator Juan Vargas is way ahead in another House race.

Rhys Williams, Sen. Pro Tem Steinberg’s press secretary, told KQED’s Polly Stryker that when those two tender their resignations to assume office in DC, special elections will be held for the vacant seats. During that time, the Senate would lose the supermajority. But, Williams says, “This is a fantastic problem to have,” because both districts are considered safe. Williams said they will “move fast” to fill the seats before budget time in April. One thing to keep in mind: one or both of these seats could be filled by a Democrat from the State Assembly. In that case, the Assembly would then have to consider maintaining its supermajority.