This is a relatively quick diary looking at the (current) results of the June Primary election in California, and what they tell us about the State Assembly. Democrats, of course, will keep the Assembly, but, as CalBuzz put it in "How California Became Ungovernable":
California is one of only three states requiring a two-thirds legislative vote to pass a budget, one of 16 requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes — and the only state to require both.(Actually, VClib pointed out in comments that the budget requirement was done away with by a ballot measure, but the tax requirement remains.)
So, for many observers of California politics, the question isn't "can Democrats win?" but "can Democrats get to two-thirds?". I don't think those observers knew what to expect in this election, with new and independently-drawn districts, and a new top-two primary. Now that the primary's happened, I think a two-thirds Assembly majority is possible, but difficult, for Democrats.
According to this nifty graphic from the L.A. Times, Democrats currently have either both of the top two candidates, or an unopposed candidate, in 16 districts, while Republicans are similarly assured of victory in 6 districts.
That leaves 58 districts technically up in the air, but some of these only had two candidates, and safe partisan numbers. Others might be misleading--I noticed that many heavily-Latino districts under-performed their partisan leans in the June primary, and, as CalBuzz and others have pointed out, the June Primary electorate was probably Republican-leaning relative to the November electorate.
For this reason, I think that a district where a Democrat had a strong primary performance is probably safely Democratic, while the same might not apply to a district where a Republican had a strong primary performance.
From (quickly) looking at the primary results from the L.A. Times, along with Around the Capitol's district analyses and ratings, I think that Republicans are fairly certain to win 19 of those districts, and Democrats are fairly certain to win 28 of them. (I found Around the Capitol from CalBuzz's post on the June Electorate, which is worth a look.)
Democrats, then, look fairly certain to win 44 districts, while Republicans look fairly certain to win 28 districts. Since two-thirds of 80 requires 54 seats, Democrats need to win 10 of the 11 competitive seats.
By the way, I follow the L.A. Times, which says "Candidates marked above as “incumbents” hold an office in the legislative body for which they are running. However, because of redistricting some races have more than one incumbent or an incumbent whose current district is substantially different."
Competitive Democratic Districts:
Now, not all competitive seats are created equal. I think Democrats are actually quite likely to win AD-21, AD-28, AD-41, AD-49, and AD-61, but I didn't think they were quite safe. I was trying to err on the side of caution:
AD-21 (Merced): While the Republican, Jack Mobley, got an impressive 44.8%--leading the count--every other candidate was a Democrat. The district is marginal on paper--Obama got only 54.3% of the vote. Mobley will face Democrat Adam Gray. (The L.A. Times calls it "San Mateo", which is wrong, so I went with Around the Capitol's name.)
According to MPI, Barbara Boxer lost this district by 6.6 points in 2010, and the Democratic Treasurer and Controller candidates won easily, albeit with fairly small vote shares. Like many heavily-Latino areas seem to be, it went for Proposition 8 in a landslide. Interestingly, the current Assemblymember from this area, Cathleen Galgiani, came out as a lesbian.
AD-28 (San Jose): Democratic incumbent Paul Fong only got 53.7% against independent Chad Walsh. A race to watch since jncca told me it was the best chance an independent had of winning election to the Assembly, but it won't go Republican.
AD-41 (Pasadena): Democrats got 59% of the vote here. Around the Capitol calls it "competitive", though, and Obama/McCain was 48.2/47.8. Although I think that's a mistake--according to MPI, Obama won easily, with 60.2%. I'm not sure what's right--isn't there something wrong with the MPI's numbers in L.A. County?
AD-49 (El Monte): "This is the only majority Asian district in the state (and in the contiguous United States)". Still, Republican Matthew Lin got 51.3% here, so Democrat Ed Chau might have trouble despite Obama and Brown's strong performances.
AD-61 (Riverside): This one's tricky. Republicans combined to 51.2% here, and there was an independent. But it's a pretty Latino district that Around the Capitol says "tells the story the declining California Republican Party. [...] Both Obama and Brown far outperformed Democratic registration here. Obama defeated McCain by 24-points and Brown defeated Whitman by 14-points." I was considering putting it in "Safe Democratic", actually. The candidates will be Democrat Jose Medina and Republican Bill Batey.
Assuming I'm right, that means Democrats need to win five of these six seats to get to two-thirds.
AD-08 (Arden-Arcade): The sole Democratic candidate, Ken Cooley got only 42.7% of the vote, and Obama's performance was marginal. Around The Capitol calls it "competitive", though, and the Republican candidate is apparently undecided as of this time.
According to MPI, Jerry Brown easily beat Meg Whitman with 50.7% of the vote, but Barbara Boxer lost to Carly Fiorna by 4.65%. This might be the truest "swing district", along with AD-32.
AD-09 (Elk Grove): Democratic candidates--incumbent Richard Pan and one other--got 50.4% of the vote here. Still, Obama and Jerry Brown easily won, and according to the MPI, so did Boxer--50.7% to 40.6%.
AD-32 (Hanford): While Democrat Rudy Salas led the count with 39.9% of the vote, every other candidate was a Republican. Around the Capitol "competitive district", so I'll trust them, but I'm skeptical, despite marginal/decent performances from Obama and Brown. According to the MPI (which has slightly different Obama numbers than Around the Capitol does), this is another district where Brown easily beat Whitman but Fiorna easily beat Boxer.
AD-40 (San Bernadino): Republican incumbent Mike Morrell got 57.9% over Democratic challenger Russ Warner. For some stupid reason I screwed up Morrell's party, so I had this as "Safe Democratic". Thanks, lordpet8!
So why did I put it here? Around the Capitol said:
The district looks very similar to Morrell's current district, except it drops Upland and picks up San Bernardino, which is more Latino and has more Democrat voters.MPI has this as a Fiorna/Brown/Obama district--Obama got 52% here, so it probably has an even or narrowly R+ PVI. Since the CVAP is almost majority-minority (30% Hispanic or Latino, 11.2% African-American, 6.3% Asian), this might be another example of a heavily-minority district under-performing in the June primary.
On the Democratic side, two-time congressional candidate (against David Dreier) and businessman Russ Warner switched to this district from a CD31 bid following the entry of Redlands mayor Pete Aguilar into that race.
While Morrell is likely to have a significant financial advantage, the district can legitimately be considered a swing district, and may ride whatever national tide is present in November.
Morrell has the advantage, but I don't think this belongs with the "Safe Republican" districts. Only Norby's performance is comparable, and AD-40 is definitely more Democratic. While this might mean Morrell is a stronger candidate than Norby, I also think that Morrell's district is more likely to have under-performed its Democratic lean in the primary.
AD-44 (Oxnard): A very interesting district. Democrats got only 43.1% here against Republican incumbent Jeff Gorrell. Here's Around the Capitol:
Republicans had a 5-point registration advantage here, but with the addition of Democratic and Latino Oxnard the district now has a 2-point Democratic registration advantage. Jeff Gorell is a moderate Republican and could hold the district, but it will be a highly competitive district for the next decade. Obama won the district by 13-points and Whitman won the district by 5-points.According to MPI, Boxer lost by over 5 points as well.
AD-66 (Torrance): He's back! Republican Craig Huey, who caused a lot of angst in his race against Janice Hahn, wound up in the top two here. Republicans combined to over 59% here. Around the Capitol calls it a "toss-up", but I think Huey will likely win, as Obama and Brown had unimpressive performances, and Huey was a strong candidate in the Congressional special election. This is another case, by the where, where MPI gives different Presidential numbers than Around the Capitol, but I don't know who to trust. Assuming MPI can be trusted for other races here, even the Democratic Controller and Treasurer candidates had pretty unimpressive numbers.
I'm skeptical of Democratic chances to get a two-thirds Assembly majority. I don't think Democrats are likely to win any of the districts I listed below as "Safe Republican Districts" (although a couple are more marginal than others, and I suppose anything's possible in a wave environment). Even if Democrats sweep the "competitive Democratic districts"--which is entirely possible, and maybe even likely--they still need to all but sweep the "competitive districts", and Republicans seem to have strong candidates in AD-44 and in AD-66.
It's vaguely possible that a two-thirds majority will come down to AD-66--that is, to Craig Huey, who did pretty well in the special election against Janice Hahn, although not as well as many DKE/SSP-types feared. That'd be entertaining, if nothing else.
As always, I'd appreciate input from people with local knowledge--all I've done for this diary, basically, is go back and forth between the L.A. times and Around the Capitol, and I looked at MPI for a few as well. I might look at the competitive districts in more detail in some future diaries.
Below are the reasons why I think the remaining districts are pretty safe.
Safe Republican Districts:
1. AD-03 (Yuba City): Republicans got over 67% of the vote here, and the district was easily for McCain. Republican Dan Logue is the incumbent, and should cruise.
2. AD-06 (Folsom): Republican candidates got nearly 70% of the vote here, and the district is quite Republican. Republican incumbent Beth Gaines will win.
3. AD-12 (Mantecia): Only two candidates, and Republican incumbent Kristin Olsen got nearly 64% in a "safe GOP district".
4. AD-26 (Tulare): Republican incumbent Connie Conway got nearly 72% of the vote.
5. AD-33 (Victorville): Republicans got over 70% of the vote here, so incumbent Tim Donnelly will cruise in a landslide-McCain district.
6. AD-34 (Bakersfield): Republican incumbent Shannon Grove topped 73%.
7. AD-35 (San Luis Obispo): Republican incumbent Katcho Achadjian got 64.3% of the vote in this Republican-leaning district.
8. AD-36 (Palmdale): Democrats might not even end up making the runoff here, so Republican Ron Smith should be fine in this really Republican district.
9. AD-38 (Santa Clarita): While Democrat Edward Headington narrowly led the count with 31.6%, every other candidate is a Republican, so Scott Wilk should be fine. Around the Capitol calls it "solid GOP", and Obama easily lost it. Again (sigh) MPI has different numbers, but they also have Brown and Boxer losing easily.
10. AD-42 (Palm Desert): This is a Republican district, and Republican incumbent Brian Nestande got nearly 61% of the vote.
11. AD-55 (Yorba Linda): Only two candidates, and Republican incumbent Curt Hagman got 68.4%. McCain won this district by double-digits.
12. AD-60 (Riverside): Republicans got over 67% of the vote here, even though Democrat Jose Perez led the count, and the district is Republican-leaning. I think Eric Linder will be fine (Perez might not have even raised any money or have a website!). By the way, Around the Capitol says Obama won by 3 points, but their numbers have Obama winning 50.6/45.6, as does MPI, which also has Fiorna winning (easily) and Whitman winning (more marginally, although everyone involved with those two races had low vote shares here).
14. AD-68 (Anaheim): Around the Capitol calls this "another solid GOP Orange County district", and Republican incumbent Don Wagner got nearly 69% of the vote.
15. AD-71 (El Cajon): Republicans got nearly 70% here. Incumbent Republican Brian Jones should be fine. Around the Capitol says it's "a GOP district in conservative east San Diego County".
16. AD-73 (Mission Viejo): Only two candidates, and Republican incumbent Diane Harkey got nearly 70% in a heavily-Republican district.
17. AD-74 (Irvine): This is a Republican-leaning district, and Republicans got nearly 67% here. Republican incumbent Allan Mansoor should be fine, especially if the MPI is right that Boxer and Brown did really badly here.
18. AD-75 (Escondido): Republican Marie Waldron got 68% against the sole Democratic candidate in another extremely Republican district.
19. AD-77 (San Diego): This is a Republican-leaning district that "includes northern neighborhoods in the city of San Diego and the city of Poway". Republicans combined to nearly 63%. Around the Capitol says "a GOP nominee should be safe here", and that's Brian Maienschein.
Safe Democratic Districts:
1. AD-04 (Napa): Democratic incumbent Mariko Yamada got 60.2% of the vote over a Republican opponent, and should beat that, if anything, in November.
2. AD-07 (Sacramento): Democratic incumbent Roger Dickinson will be fine.
3. AD-17 (San Francisco): C'mon. Democratic incumbent Tom Ammiano will win.
4. AD-11 (Fairfield): While the top two candidates were close, Democratic candidates (and an independent) got nearly 70% of the vote. Obama topped 60% here. Democrat Jim Frazier should be fine.
5. AD-14 (Stockton): Democrats, led by Susan Eggman, got over 63% of the vote here. Around the Capitol calls it "arguably the first urban Democratic
district for the San Joaquin Valley".
6. AD-16 (Livermore): Only two candidates, and Democratic incumbent Joan Buchanan got 56.5% of the vote.
7. AD-22 (San Mateo): Only two candidates, and Democrat Kevin Mullen got nearly 70% of the vote.
8. AD-24 (Sunnyvale): Democrats got over 66% of the vote here, and incumbent Rich Gordon will be fine.
9. AD-25 (Santa Clara): Democratic incumbent Bob Wieckowski only got 41.4%, but the other Democrat got 27.9%.
10. AD-27 (Alum Rock): Democratic incumbent Nora Campos got nearly 70% of the vote.
11. AD-29 (Santa Cruz): Democrat Mark Stone got 54.7% of the vote, and another Democrat got 13.5%.
12. AD-30 (Salinas): Democratic incumbent Luis Alejo got 58.4% of the vote.
13. AD-37 (Santa Barbara): Only two candidates, and Democratic incumbent Das Williams got nearly 56%.
14. AD-43 (Glendale): Only two candidates, and Democratic incumbent Mike Gatto got 56.3%.
15. AD-45 (Los Angeles): Only two candidates, and Democratic incumbent Bob Blumenfield got 59.3%.
16. AD-48 (Baldwin Park): While Republican Joe Gardner actually beat Democratic incumbent Roger Hernandez 45.6% to 43.4%, I'm going to assume that's because of strong independent Mike Meza. Obama got 61.6% here.
17. AD-52 (Ontario): Democratic incumbent Norma Torres will be fine despite her 41.9% performance--the only Republican got only 37% of the vote in this "heavily Latino" district.
18. AD-53 (Huntington Park): Speaker Perez got a not-that-great 59.6%, mostly because of other Democrats.
19. AD-54 (Culver City): Again, c'mon. Democratic incumbent Holly Mitchell topped 70%.
20. AD-56 (El Centro): Democratic incumbent Manuel Perez got "only" 56.4% of the vote here, but it's majority-Latino and heavily Democratic.
21. AD-57 (Whittier): Sole Republican Noel Jaimes led the count with 43.4% but I'll follow Around the Capitol's confidence that Democrat Ian Calderon will win--the "Latino CVAP" here is 57.1%.
22. AD-58 (Norwalk): Republican Patricia Kotze-Ramos led the count with 27.9%, but she was the sole Republican, so Democrat Cristina Garcia will be fine. Obama got almost 67%.
23. AD-63 (Lakewood): The only Republican got 30.4% here, so Democrat Anthony Rendon will be fine.
24. AD-69 (Santa Ana): That's my name for it. Around the Capitol calls it "the only solid Democratic district in Orange County". The sole Republican got 22.5% here. Democrat Tom Daly will be fine.
25. AD-70 (Long Beach): Only two candidates, and Democratic incumbent Bonnie Lowenthal got 58.6%.
26. AD-78 (San Diego): Democratic incumbent Toni Atkins got nearly 60% in this "safe coastal, urban district for a liberal Democrat".
27. AD-79 (La Mesa): Democrats combined to nearly 57% in this "ethnically diverse Democratic district", so Democrat Shirley Weber should win.
28. AD-80 (Chula Vista): Democratic incumbent Ben Hueso got over 60% here.
8:57 PM PT: I originally had AD-40 as "Safe Democratic", due to a stupid mistake. I wish I could subtract 1 from all the poll options.