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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

California Tea Leaves

Even though the presidential candidates have largely bypassed the state, and despite the absence of party competition in the Senate race, turnout is likely to be high.  The Secretary of State has reported record-high voter registration, both in absolute numbers (19.4 million) and as a percentage of eligible citizens (78.04%).  Since July 7, Democratic registration has increased 7 percent, while Republican registration has gone up only 3 percent.

US Senate

In the Democrat-on-Democrat race for the United States Senate, Attorney General Kamala Harris will easily defeat Rep. Loretta Sanchez.  Both PPIC and Field show Harris leading by more than 20 points.

US House

Republicans will probably lose seats.  The Cook Political Report lists three GOP incumbent races as tossups:

  • CA-10 Rep. Jeff Denham 
  • CA-25 Rep. Steve Knight 
  • CA-49 Rep. Darrell Issa 
In addition CA-21 (Rep. David Valadao) is only "leaning" Republican.

State Legislature

The Democrats will continue to control both chambers of the state Legislature.  The question is whether they can win the two-third supermajorities they need to raise taxes.  This year, Democrats held 52 Assembly seats and 26 Senate seats. If they keep their current seats, they need least two additional Assembly seats and one Senate seat to get to supermajorities. Half a dozen or so races in each chamber will decide the issue.  The 29th Senate district, spanning Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties, is especially crucial.  Indeed, it is so important that President Obama has endorsed Josh Newman, the Democratic challenger to incument Ling Ling Chang.  The president has also endorsed:
  • Cheryl Cook Kallio, challenging Assemblywoman Catherine Baker (R-San Ramon) in AD 16
  • Abigail Medina, who's running against Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) in AD 40
  • Al Muratsuchi, a former assemblyman in a rematch against Assemblyman David Hadley (R-Manhattan Beach) in AD 66
Ballot Measures