Don't Ask; don't tell

Post partes giggles

Californians approved a ballot initiative in 2010, the "California Top Two Primaries Act," which allowed voters to vote in the Primary Election for any candidate they chose for state legislative offices, regardless of party, the top two to run against each other in the General Election. While in the state Senate's 20 elections this year, only two seats are contested by candidates of the same party (Democrats), in the state Assembly, 20 out of 80 districts will be represented by candidates who defeated members of their own party. This equates roughly with experience: that a quarter or more of the state's dwelling regions -- from inner cities to mountian towns and ranches -- are so politically homogenous that they have not been able to produce two-party elections without restricted primaries and gerrymandering. Gone may be the days of the "token candidate," a member of the party whose registration was so small in the district that she had no chance of winning but simply filed the space on the ballot. Today, perhaps, factions within parties will begin doing serious battle with each other.
The "California Top Two Primaries Act" follows the trend established during the years Earle Warren was governor and frequently won both parties' nominations in the "open primaries" of those years. California has always had a penchant for voting for the man rather than with the party and oputstanding men and women have always received sizable crossover votes. In fac t, due to varieties of economies in California as well as patterns of immigration, political parties do not always mean the same thing in different regions here.
The only question of importance here is whether the new open primary system will help take the Legislature out of the pockets of lobbyists. The only race we know well, the hetero-political contest between Democrat Gray and Republican Mobley in AD 21, indicates that lobbyists are taking a very active role to the tune of a reported $750,000 so far to the Gray campaign.
Enjoy the DailyKos article of thumbnail analysis of the state Assembly races.

Badlands Journal editorial board


Assemble, ye junkies: California State Assembly projections
by kurykhFollow

Time for another installment in my statewide legislative series! This time it's the California State Assembly, and this is probably one of the most interesting elections in quite a while. Why? Read until the end.

I left the Assembly for last because many results were still up in the air up until official results were certified, which happened on July 13. Since that is done, let's hurry up and begin! We have eighty to go through, after all.


AD-01 - Northern Sierras: Redding, Susanville, Truckee
Pres 2008: McCain 53%-41%
Gov 2010: Whitman 53%-37%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 58%-31%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Rick Bosetti (R-Redding)
Rating: Safe Republican

We begin this series...with an intraparty battle. This seat most closely matched the old AD-03, whose Republican incumbent Dan Logue got shifted next door to AD-03. Dahle got the highest vote share, drawing support from his base in Lassen County as well as the more rural areas. Bosetti kept his base of Redding in Shasta County. Either way, this seat isn't turning blue.

AD-02 - North Coast: Eureka, Ukiah, Santa Rosa
Pres 2008: Obama 67%-29%
Gov 2010: Brown 59%-33%
Sen 2010: Boxer 57%-32%
Incumbent: Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata)
Candidates: Wesley Chesbro (D), Tom Lynch (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Yet another intraparty battle. This scenario is going to get very boring very soon. Anyways, nothing interesting since Chesbro will win hands down.

AD-03 - Sacramento Valley: Red Bluff, Chico, Yuba City
Pres 2008: McCain 52%-44%
Gov 2010: Whitman 52%-39%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 57%-32%
Incumbents: Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Dan Logue (R-Linda)
Candidates: Dan Logue (R), Charles Rouse (D)
Rating: Safe Republican

Nielsen declined to run here into order to aim for the state senate seat soon to be vacated by Doug LaMalfa (who's running for Congress). Dunno if that's a good idea, since Logue is purportedly aiming for the same seat. In any case, Logue and the Republicans have this in the bag.

AD-04 - Wine Country: Rohnert Park, Napa, Davis
Pres 2008: Obama 65%-32%
Gov 2010: Brown 57%-36%
Sen 2010: Boxer: 54%-37%
Incumbent: Mariko Yamada (D-Davis)
Candidates: John Munn (R), Mariko Yamada (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Red wine? What red wine? It's blue in California.

AD-05 - Gold Country: Auburn, South Lake Tahoe, Madera
Pres 2008: McCain 53%-44%
Gov 2010: Whitman 53%-39%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 58%-32%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Rico Oller (R-San Andreas), Frank Bigelow (R-O'Neals)
Rating: Safe Republican

This new seat is home to Yosemite, half a lake, and a whole lot of ski resorts, but it's going red. Oller is a former legislator, got the most votes, and won all of the district's counties except for Alpine (tiny and blue), Madera (Bigelow's home base), and Mariposa (small and borders Madera). Bigelow has more money, thumped in Madera (second largest county), and kept Oller's margins down in El Dorado (the largest), so this race will require some popcorn.

AD-06 - Exurban Sacramento: Roseville, Folsom, El Dorado Hills
Pres 2008: McCain 55%-40%
Gov 2010: Whitman 57%-37%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 60%-32%
Incumbent: Beth Gaines (R-Rocklin)
Candidates: Beth Gaines (R), Andy Pugno (R-Folsom)
Rating: Safe Republican

He's baaaaaaaaack. Andy Pugno, a leading lawyer for the pro-Prop 8 forces, famously lost a heated battle for the old swingy AD-05 against Democrat Richard Pan in 2010, turning a seat from red to blue in the midst of the Republican wave. Now he's running for a safe GOP seat against a powerful if not very inspiring incumbent. Gaines, wife of state senator (and her predecessor) Ted Gaines, will need all the help she can get to hand Pugno another defeat.

AD-07 - Sacramento, West Sacramento
Pres 2008: Obama 67%-30%
Gov 2010: Brown 65%-29%
Sen 2010: Boxer 58%-33%
Incumbent: Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento)
Candidates: Roger Dickinson (D), Jonathan Zachariou (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

The state capital's voters, many of whom work for the government, will not like a party that advocates for their unemployment.

AD-08 - Eastern Sacramento suburbs: Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Rancho Cordova
Pres 2008: Obama 52%-45%
Gov 2010: Brown 50%-43%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 48%-43%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova), Peter Tateishi (R-Carmichael)
Rating: Tossup/Tilt Democratic

Finally, some excitement! Current Democratic assemblywoman Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills (outside the district) was supposed to run here, but she declined in the face of divorce and a home foreclosure. This area only recently turned blue, with its predecessors (AD-05, AD-10, and AD-15), going Dem only in 2008 and 2010. Cooley ran for state senate in 2009 against Ted Gaines, giving him some name recognition, while Tateishi is Lungren's chief of staff, giving him resources. However, since it's an election year, I would give Cooley an edge.

AD-09 - Southern Sacramento: Sacramento, Elk Grove, Lodi
Pres 2008: Obama 59%-38%
Gov 2010: Brown 58%-36%
Sen 2010: Boxer: 51%-41%
Incumbent: Richard Pan (D-Elk Grove)
Candidates: Anthony "Tony" Amador (R), Richard Pan (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Pan, who won in the formerly GOP-held AD-05 (northern Sacramento, Folsom) during a red wave, is rewarded with a safe blue seat...across town. He had to move from Natomas in the north to Elk Grove in the south to run, but he'll have four more years in the Assembly.

AD-10 - North Bay: San Rafael, Petaluma, Santa Rosa
Pres 2008: Obama 76%-21%
Gov 2010: Brown 67%-27%
Sen 2010: Boxer 66%-27%
Incumbent: Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa)
Candidates: Michael Allen (D), Marc Levine (D-San Rafael)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Huffman is running for Congress, so Allen is the incumbent. However, he had to move into the district after his old one (AD-07) disappeared into AD-04. Levine is a San Rafael city councilmember, so he's not that unknown. The determining factors in this election seem to be to local politics and turf rivalries, but the district will otherwise remain liberally blue.

AD-11 - Western Delta: Vacaville, Fairfield, Antioch
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-37%
Gov 2010: Brown 59%-38%
Sen 2010: Boxer 51%-41%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Jim Frazier (D-Oakley), Mike Hudson (R-Suisun City)
Rating: Safe Democratic

This new Bay Area district came about due to the mid-2000s housing boom. Democrats aren't getting foreclosed by voters here, though.

AD-12 - Eastern San Joaquin/Stanislaus: Manteca, Modesto, Turlock
Pres 2008: McCain 52%-45%
Gov 2010: Whitman 53%-39%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 57%-34%
Incumbent: Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto)
Candidates: Christopher Mateo (D), Kristin Olsen (R)
Rating: Safe Republican

The only blue spot here is Lathrop; the rest is deep, dark red.

AD-13 - Western San Joaquin: Stockton, French Camp, Tracy
Pres 2008: Obama 61%-36%
Gov 2010: Brown 55%-38%
Sen 2010: Boxer 51%-40%
Incumbent: Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston/Stockton)
Candidates: Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), K. "Jeffrey" Jafri (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

After being cracked into four districts throughout the 2000s, heavily Democratic Stockton now has one all to itself. Well, almost. But close enough. Galgiani only represents a small slice of this district, but it was the best fit.

AD-14 - Carquinez Strait: Vallejo, Pittsburg, Concord
Pres 2008: Obama 69%-29%
Gov 2010: Brown 62%-31%
Sen 2010: Boxer 62%-32%
Incumbent: Susan Bonilla (D-Concord)
Candidates: Susan Bonilla (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Uncontested race is uncontested.

AD-15 - Northern East Bay: Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland
Pres 2008: Obama 87%-10%
Gov 2010: Brown 84%-12%
Sen 2010: Boxer 84%-12%
Incumbent: Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
Candidates: Eugene Ruyle (PF), Nancy Skinner (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

C'mon, it's Berkeley. What other result can there be?

AD-16 - Tri-Valley: Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Livermore
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-37%
Gov 2010: Brown 51%-45%
Sen 2010: Boxer: 49%-45%
Incumbent: Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo)
Candidates: Joan Buchanan (D), Al Phillips (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Buchanan turned the last red Assembly district in the Bay Area blue. Now it's hers for one last term.

AD-17 - Eastern San Francisco
Pres 2008: Obama 87%-10%
Gov 2010: Brown 82%-13%
Sen 2010: Boxer 81%-11%
Incumbent: Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
Candidates: Tom Ammiano (D), Jason P. Clark (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Clark is actually a gay Republican, but this is San Francisco. We like our gays clad in Democratic blue.

AD-18 - Central East Bay: Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda
Pres 2008: Obama 85%-12%
Gov 2010: Brown 82%-13%
Sen 2010: Boxer 81%-13%
Incumbent: Sandré Swanson (D-Alameda)
Candidates: Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Abel Guillen (D-Oakland)
Rating: Safe Democratic

In perhaps the most diverse Assembly district in California (whites, blacks, Latinos, and Asians each compose around 25% of the population), the race is between an Asian (Bonta) and a Latino (Guillen) to succeed an termed-out African American (Swanson).

AD-19 - Western San Francisco, Daly City, Colma
Pres 2008: Obama 77%-19%
Gov 2010: Brown 72%-23%
Sen 2010: Boxer 70%-21%
Incumbent: Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco)
Candidates: Michael Breyer (D-San Francisco), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Full disclosure: I work for Phil Ting's campaign. Anyways, Breyer is the son of Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer. Ting is San Francisco Assessor-Recorder (an elected position). Other than that, I'll let the June election result speak for itself.

AD-20 - Southern East Bay: Hayward, Union City, Fremont
Pres 2008: Obama 73%-24%
Gov 2010: Brown 67%-27%
Sen 2010: Boxer 67%-26%
Incumbent: Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward)
Candidates: Jennifer Ong (D-Hayward), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Hayashi, who was caught shoplifting at Neiman Marcus in 2011, is termed out. Quirk has the state Democratic party endorsement, but only won 30.3% to Ong's 25.7%. He still has the edge, though.

AD-21 - Demosaur Country: Modesto, Ceres, Merced
Pres 2008: Obama 54%-43%
Gov 2010: Brown 47%-45%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 49%-42%
Incumbent: Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres/Clements)
Candidates: Adam Gray (D-Merced), Jack Mobley (R-Merced)
Rating: Tossup/Tilt Democratic

Conservadems? They do exist in California, and Merced County is ground zero for them. Most of them are ancestral Democrats who often vote Republican. Technically, Democrat Cathleen Galgiani (see AD-13) represents much of this area, but I put down Berryhill because his hometown of Ceres is here, and had he not run for state senate he would be running here. Anyways, the June primary was not promising for Republicans since Mobley was the only GOPer running and didn't even get a majority. The race will be come down to the wire, but I give Gray the edge.

AD-22 - San Francisco Peninsula: San Bruno, San Mateo, Redwood City
Pres 2008: Obama 72%-22%
Gov 2010: Brown 64%-31%
Sen 2010: Boxer 64%-30%
Incumbent: Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo)
Candidates: Mark Gilham (R), Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Kevin Mullin is the son of former assemblymember Gene Mullin, who was in office fro 2002 to 2008 and was succeeded by current member Jerry Hill. Hill is running for state senate, so the younger Mullin can now continue the (discontinuous) dynasty.

AD-23 - Eastern Fresno: Fresno, Clovis
Pres 2008: McCain 53%-45%
Gov 2010: Whitman 58%-36%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 62%-31%
Incumbent: Linda Halderman (R-Fresno)
Candidates: Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), Bob Whalen (R-Clovis)
Rating: Safe Republican

Halderman, first elected in 2010, unexpectedly declined to run again, creating a GOP free-for-all. Patterson is a former mayor of Fresno, while Whalen is a Clovis city councilmember. Both are established, but the sheer size of Fresno means Patterson is most likely winning this one.

AD-24 - Northwestern Silicon Valley: Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale
Pres 2008: Obama 73%-23%
Gov 2010: Brown 64%-31%
Sen 2010: Boxer 66%-28%
Incumbent: Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park)
Candidates: Rich Gordon (D), Chengzhi "George" Yang (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

The home district of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina disliked both and stayed blue in 2010. There's no reason it will be any different this year. Interesting tidbit: former Insurance Commissioner and 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner got his political start running for this district in 2004 against Democrat Ira Ruskin, with Ruskin winning 52%-48%, the tightest margin since Democrat Ted Lempert (who happens to be a former professor of mine) first turned this district blue in 1988. Poizner spent over $6 million of his own money in that race. Perhaps a prelude to the 2010 GOP campaign spending sprees?

AD-25 - Asian Silicon Valley: Fremont, Milpitas, Santa Clara
Pres 2008: Obama 68%-28%
Gov 2010: Brown 61%-33%
Sen 2010: 63%-29%
Incumbent: Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont)
Candidates: ArLyne Diamond (R), Bob Wieckowski (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Wieckowski did poorly in the primary, but that's because former Milpitas mayor and fellow Democrat Pete "Primo" McHugh was running and got a chunk of the vote in Santa Clara County. This seat, which happens to be 49.41% Asian (second-highest in the state), stays safely blue.

AD-26 - Southern Sierras: Visalia, Tulare, Porterville
Pres 2008: McCain 57%-41%
Gov 2010: Whitman 55%-37%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 61%-29%
Incumbent: Connie Conway (R-Tulare)
Candidates: Connie Conway (R), Jonathan Louis Sosa (D)
Rating: Safe Republican

Conway is the Assembly minority leader. She's not going to lose here.

AD-27 - Central San Jose
Pres 2008: Obama 70%-26%
Gov 2010: Brown 64%-29%
Sen 2010: Boxer 66%-26%
Incumbent: Nora Campos (D-San Jose)
Candidates: Nora Campos (D), Anthony Macias (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Blue chip! Get it? Fine, be that way.

AD-28 - Southwestern Silicon Valley: Cupertino, San Jose, Saratoga
Pres 2008: Obama 67%-30%
Gov 2010: Brown 57%-38%
Sen 2010: Boxer 58%-34%
Incumbent: Paul Fong (D-Cupertino)
Candidates: Paul Fong (D), Chad Walsh (NPP)
Rating: Likely Democratic

Fong got a scare in the June primary when he only got 54% of the vote against Walsh, who got the remaining 46%. However, this doesn't mean much, since this district is now bright blue. It is worth noting that this district first turned blue in 2000 and that Walsh is a community college trustee (an elected position). Fong has to step things up, but he will most likely win a last Assembly term.

AD-29 - Monterey Bay: Santa Cruz, Prunedale, Monterey
Pres 2008: Obama 71%-26%
Gov 2010: Brown 62%-32%
Sen 2010: Boxer 61%-31%
Incumbent: Bill Monning (R-Carmel)
Candidates: Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz), Tom Walsh (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Monning is running for state senate, so he passes the torch to Stone, currently a county supervisor. Nothing interesting.

AD-30 - Salinas Valley: Gilroy, Watsonville, Salinas
Pres 2008: Obama 66%-31%
Gov 2010: Brown 58%-35%
Sen 2010: Boxer 57%-35%
Incumbent: Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville)
Candidates: Luis Alejo (D), Rob Bernosky (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Welcome to the land of John Steinbeck, now heavily Latino and strongly Democratic.

AD-31 - Western Fresno: Fresno, Sanger, Reedley
Pres 2008: Obama 59%-38%
Gov 2010: Brown 53%-39%
Sen 2010: Boxer 46%-44%
Incumbent: Henry Perea (D-Fresno)
Candidates: James (JD) Bennett (R), Henry Perea (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

For a while, Perea didn't even have an opponent. He's still safe.

AD-32 - Southwestern Central Valley: Hanford, Delano, Bakersfield
Pres 2008: Obama 52%-45%
Gov 2010: Brown 49%-41%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 48%-41%
Incumbent: David Valadao (R-Hanford)
Candidates: Pedro Rios (R-Delano), Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield)
Rating: Tossup

This district went from blue to red in 2008 of all years and is the home of the Parra-Florez family feud. Valadao is running for Congress, so this district will host yet another heated battle. This time there's no Parra or Florez running, and both candidates are Latino. Latino turnout is extraordinarily volatile, so anything goes here.

AD-33 - High Desert: Victorville, Hesperia, Barstow
Pres 2008: McCain 55%-41%
Gov 2010: Whitman 53%-35%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 58%-31%
Incumbent: Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks)
Candidates: Jim Coffey (D), Tim Donnelly (R)
Rating: Safe Republican

Donnelly, a former Minuteman leader and the first Tea Party member elected to the California State Legislature, is perhaps best known for trying to stow a gun in his carry-on luggage at the airport. Funnily, or perhaps intentionally, his seatmate in the Assembly chamber is liberal Latino Democrat Gil Cedillo of Los Angeles, who has sponsored bills to allow undocumented immigrants to carry driver's licenses.

AD-34 - Southern Central Valley: Bakersfield, Tehachapi, Ridgecrest
Pres 2008: McCain 63%-34%
Gov 2010: Whitman 60%-31%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 66%-24%
Incumbent: Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)
Candidates: Mari Goodman (D), Shannon Grove (R)
Rating: Safe Republican

Behold, the most Republican legislative district in California.

AD-35 - Conservative Central Coast: Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria
Pres 2008: Obama 49%-48%
Gov 2010: Whitman 50%-42%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 51%-40%
Incumbent: Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo)
Candidates: Katcho Achadjian (R), Gerald "Gerry" Manata (D)
Rating: Safe Republican

It's shifting blue at a glacial pace, but it's nowhere near the tipping point yet. Achadjian is safe.

AD-36 - Antelope Valley: Lancaster, Palmdale, California City
Pres 2008: McCain 49%-48%
Gov 2010: Whitman 49%-40%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 53%-37%
Incumbent: Steve Knight (R-Palmdale)
Candidates: Steve Fox (D), Ron Smith (R-Lancaster)
Rating: Safe Republican

Smith will win now, but this district might be competitive by the end of the decade.

AD-37 - Southern Central Coast: Santa Barbara, Ventura, Santa Paula
Pres 2008: Obama 64%-33%
Gov 2010: Brown 52%-41%
Sen 2010: Boxer 52%-40%
Incumbent: Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara)
Candidates: Rob Walter (R), Das Williams (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

This area saw one of the steepest Democratic performance declines in California from 2008 to 2010. Obama won with flying colors, but 2010 saw Das Williams barely clinging on to win his first Assembly election. Since 2012 is an election year, he will win big again.

AD-38 - Santa Clarita, Simi Valley
Pres 2008: Obama 49%-48%
Gov 2010: Whitman 54%-39%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 55%-37%
Incumbent: Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita)
Candidates: Edward Headington (D), Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)
Rating: Safe Republican

Ditto, this time in a Republican district. Smyth won reelection in 2008 by an 8-point margin, extremely narrow in California terms (and since the district was gerrymandered for a Republican). This margin expanded to 19 points in 2010. 2012 will see the Republican win, but by how much?

AD-39 - Northeastern San Fernando Valley: Pacoima, San Fernando, North Hollywood
Pres 2008: Obama 71%-25%
Gov 2010: Brown 64%-27%
Sen 2010: Boxer 62%-27%
Incumbent: Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar)
Candidates: Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), Richard Alarcón (D-Mission Hills)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Alarcón had served a total of 102 days in the Assembly in 2007 when he resigned to serve in the Los Angeles City Council. He now wants to make a comeback, but is dogged by allegations of not living in his district. Bocanegra is the chief of staff of Fuentes, who is termed out. Bocanegra has the state party endorsement and ran ahead of Alarcón in June. I give him the edge.

AD-40 - Northeastern Inland Empire: Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Redlands
Pres 2008: Obama 52%-44%
Gov 2010: Brown 45%-45%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 48%-42%
Incumbent: Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga)
Candidates: Mike Morrell (R), Russ Warner (D-Rancho Cucamonga)
Rating: Likely Republican

This district swapped out strongly Republican Yucaipa and parts of Riverside County and added a chunk of heavily Democratic San Bernardino, tipping the partisan balance strongly in favor of Democrats. Morrell's performance in the primary was also uninspiring, garnering 58% of the vote as Latino turnout cratered. Voter registration is neck-to-neck, with Republicans composing 37.95% of the district's voters compared to the Democrats' 37.89%, with a gap of...109 voters. However, Warner, who ran for Congress twice against David Dreier, is not the best campaigner, to put it mildly. He currently has $7k on hand, while Morrell has $189k. This district also overlaps substantially with the notorious CD-31, so while Warner has demographic and partisan trends on his side, Morrell has the edge on fundraising and morale.

AD-41 - San Gabriel Foothills: Pasadena, Monrovia, Upland
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-37%
Gov 2010: Brown 53%-40%
Sen 2010: Boxer 52%-41%
Incumbent: Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge)
Candidates: Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Donna Lowe (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

The old district, which looked somewhat like an octopus, lost its blue legs in the flatlands and took in the much redder foothills. However, the huge Democratic anchor of Pasadena keeps it in our column.

AD-42 - Desert Cities: Yucca Valley, Yucaipa, Palm Springs
Pres 2008: McCain 52%-45%
Gov 2010: Whitman 52%-39%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 55%-37%
Incumbent: Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert)
Candidates: Brian Nestande (R), Mark Anthony Orozco (D)
Rating: Safe Republican

This looks a bit like the old AD-65, except the lower leg loses Hemet and swings east into the Coachella Valley. It's bluing slowly, but its exurban status means it will take a long while.

AD-43 - TV Land: Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge
Pres 2008: Obama 67%-29%
Gov 2010: Brown 59%-33%
Sen 2010: Boxer 59%-33%
Incumbent: Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake)
Candidates: Mike Gatto (D), Greg Krikorian (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Gatto is probably best known for authoring the bill that banned circumcision bans. His poor primary performance (56%-44%) was probably not because of that, but because this area is ancestrally Republican (its congressional counterpart turned blue in 2000).

AD-44 - Coastal Ventura: Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks
Pres 2008: Obama 55%-43%
Gov 2010: Whitman 49%-44%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 49%-44%
Incumbent: Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo)
Candidates: Jeff Gorell (R), Eileen MacEnery (D)
Rating: Likely Republican

I was trying to decide between likely and safe, and putting it down as safe GOP won't be too far off either. While it has the Democratic stronghold of Oxnard and has a high Obama percentage, MacEnery has barely registered in people's radars and Gorell just came back from a Navy reserve stint in Afghanistan, which always helps in this district. However, the presence of two ferocious campaigns in the area (Brownley-Strickland for Congress and Pavley-Zink for state senate) may make a dent in Gorell's dominance or, if all the stars align correctly, to knock him off.

AD-45 - Western San Fernando Valley: Northridge, Woodland Hills, Calabasas
Pres 2008: Obama 64%-33%
Gov 2010: Brown 55%-39%
Sen 2010: Boxer 55%-38%
Incumbent: Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills)
Candidates: Bob Blumenfield (D), Chris Kolski (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic


AD-46 - Southeastern San Fernando Valley: Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Studio City
Pres 2008: Obama 73%-23%
Gov 2010: Brown 66%-27%
Sen 2010: Boxer 66%-26%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), Jay L. Stern (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Due to population shifts, one assembly district moved up the Sepulveda Pass into the Valley. Interestingly, Stern beat out the third place candidate, Democrat Brian Johnson, by 31 votes, essentially handing Nazarian a free Assembly term in this blue district.

AD-47 - Central Inland Empire: Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino
Pres 2008: Obama 67%-29%
Gov 2010: Brown 62%-28%
Sen 2010: Boxer 60%-30%
Incumbent: Wilmer Carter (D-Rialto)
Candidates: Joe Baca, Jr. (D-Rialto), Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Carter has endorsed Brown, but Baca, son of Congressman Joe Baca, represented this district for one term in 2004. Given the uninspiring primary results of both father and son, they can both potentially lose their elections, but they currently have the edge.

AD-48 - Eastern San Gabriel Valley: Baldwin Park, West Covina, Glendora
Pres 2008: Obama 61%-35%
Gov 2010: Brown 56%-35%
Sen 2010: Boxer 53%-37%
Incumbent: Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina)
Candidates: Joe Gardner (R), Roger Hernandez (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

A collapse in Latino turnout led to a collapse in Democratic performance here. Fear not, however, for even though it absorbed quite a bit of red territory, it's too blue to go to a Republican.

AD-49 - Western San Gabriel Valley: Alhambra, Monterey Park, Arcadia
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-36%
Gov 2010: Brown 55%-37%
Sen 2010: Boxer 54%-37%
Incumbent: Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park)
Candidates: Edwin Chau (D-Monterey Park), Matthew Lin (R-San Marino)
Rating: Likely Democratic

This district is currently the only Asian-majority state legislative district outside Hawaii. It lost heavily Democratic South El Monte and half of El Monte and took in redder Temple City and Arcadia. Chau is the protégé of Eng and Congresswoman Judy Chu, the power couple in California APIA politics (and whose home base is Monterey Park), while Lin is the former mayor of San Marino. Unexpectedly, Lin won 52% of the vote in the June primary, giving the GOP a sort of Linsanity boost. Chau took 35%, while a third candidate, Democrat Mitchell Ing, got 13%. Turnout was highest in the redder foothills and lowest in the blue flatlands, so Lin may have hit the ceiling. This district will be closely fought until November, but its blue tilt, high general election turnout, and the power of the Chu/Eng machine should tip the scales in Chau's favor.

AD-50 - Glitzy Los Angeles: Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood
Pres 2008: Obama 73%-24%
Gov 2010: Brown 66%-29%
Sen 2010: Boxer 67%-28%
Incumbents: Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Betsy Butler (D-Beverly Hills), Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles)
Candidates: Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Betsy Butler (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

First, why three incumbents? This district collapsed two old districts into one, and both of the incumbents (Brownley and Feuer) are termed out. Butler, whose district was shredded, moved to run here instead of the swingy AD-66. Butler, a powerhouse fundraiser for the state Democratic Party, has the establishment behind her, with Speaker John Pérez pulling out all the stops to secure her a second term. Of course, West LA always has its own ideas, and two candidates emerged: Richard Bloom, mayor of Santa Monica, and Torie Osborn, a veteran LGBT activist. A Republican, Brad Torgan, also ran. In June, all four candidates hovered around the 25% mark, with Bloom and Butler edging ahead. This race is the marquee establishment vs. grassroots battle for the Democrats and will last all the way until November.

AD-51 - Eastern Los Angeles: Eagle Rock, Echo Park, East Los Angeles
Pres 2008: Obama 79%-17%
Gov 2010: Brown 77%-15%
Sen 2010: Boxer 77%-15%
Incumbent: Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles)
Candidates: Jimmy Gomez (D-Echo Park), Luis Lopez (D-Silver Lake)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Gomez is the political director of the United Nurses Association of California, has the endorsement of the Democratic establishment, and outpaced Lopez by 13 points. Lopez is openly gay and has the endorsement of the third-place candidate, Arturo Chavez. Make of this what you will.

AD-52 - Western Inland Empire: Pomona, Chino, Ontario
Pres 2008: Obama 62%-34%
Gov 2010: Brown 55%-35%
Sen 2010: Boxer 54%-37%
Incumbent: Norma Torres (D-Pomona)
Candidates: Kenny Coble (R), Norma Torres (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

This district saw one of the least changes of any district in California, with a simple addition of a tail east of Ontario. Torres is safe here.

AD-53 - Downtown Los Angeles: Koreatown, Boyle Heights, Huntington Park
Pres 2008: Obama 78%-18%
Gov 2010: Brown 77%-15%
Sen 2010: Boxer 76%-14%
Incumbent: John Pérez (D-Los Angeles)
Candidates: Jose Trinidad Aguilar (R), John Pérez (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Pérez is the current Assembly speaker. Enough said.

AD-54 - West-central Los Angeles: UCLA, Culver City, Crenshaw
Pres 2008: Obama 84%-14%
Gov 2010: Brown 78%-16%
Sen 2010: Boxer 78%-16%
Incumbent: Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles)
Candidates: Keith Brandon McCowen (R), Holly Mitchell (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Nothing much.

AD-55 - Nixon Country: Diamond Bar, Chino Hills, Yorba Linda
Pres 2008: McCain 50%-46%
Gov 2010: Whitman 55%-37%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 57%-36%
Incumbent: Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills)
Candidates: Gregg D. Fritchie (D), Curt Hagman (R)
Rating: Safe Republican

The LA County portions may be slightly blue, but the ancestral Republicanism of the Orange and San Bernardino parts quash any hope of salvation.

AD-56 - Coachella/Imperial: Cathedral City, Indio, El Centro
Pres 2008: Obama 59%-38%
Gov 2010: Brown 54%-39%
Sen 2010: Boxer 52%-40%
Incumbent: V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella)
Candidates: Corky Reynaga-Emett (R), V. Manuel Perez (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

While this district turned blue only in 2008, the exploding Latino population in this area locks it into the Democratic column.

AD-57 - Northeastern Gateway: Hacienda Heights, Whittier, Norwalk
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-36%
Gov 2010: Brown 56%-36%
Sen 2010: Boxer 52%-37%
Incumbent: Charles Calderon (D-Whittier)
Candidates: Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), Noel A. Jaimes (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

A member of the powerful Calderon family (Charles, Tom, and Ron) has been in the state legislature representing the Montebello-Whittier area since the 1980s. With Charles's son Ian, the dynasty now extends into the second generation. The Calderons are known to be pro-business (read: moderate) Democrats, so progressives don't like them all that much.

AD-58 - Central Gateway: Montebello, Downey, Cerritos
Pres 2008: Obama 66%-31%
Gov 2010: Brown 62%-30%
Sen 2010: 60%-30%
Incumbent: Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Candidates: Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), Patricia A. Kotze-Ramos (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Another member of the Calderon family, Tom, ran here but lost to Garcia, best known for her leadership in the protests during the City of Bell scandal. Garcia now owes the Democratic establishment nothing, so it's anyone's guess how she will be received in Sacramento.

AD-59 - South Los Angeles, Florence-Graham
Pres 2008: Obama 90%-7%
Gov 2010: Brown 86%-6%
Sen 2010: Boxer 86%-6%
Incumbent: Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles)
Candidates: Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Rodney Robinson (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

This is perhaps the most Democratic legislative district in California. Jones-Sawyer, the secretary of the state party, is the odds-on favorite.

AD-60 - Northwestern Riverside: Corona, Jurupa Valley, Riverside
Pres 2008: Obama 51%-46%
Gov 2010: Whitman 48%-43%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 50%-41%
Incumbent: Jeff Miller (R-Corona)
Candidates: Eric Linder (R-Corona), José Luis Pérez (D)
Rating: Safe Republican

This area is rapidly shifting leftward, but at this time it's still firmly in the hands of the GOP. It might have to wait until the end of the decade to become sufficiently competitive.

AD-61 - Perris Valley: Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-36%
Gov 2010: Brown 53%-39%
Sen 2010: Boxer 50%-41%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Bill Batey (R), Jose Medina (D-Riverside)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Look at what happens when this area is un-gerrymandered: a solid Democratic district naturally emerges. This area was formerly split into two districts and diluted with strongly GOP areas. But now, Team Blue has a foothold in western Riverside County.

AD-62 - Northern South Bay: Westchester, Inglewood, Hawthorne
Pres 2008: Obama 80%-17%
Gov 2010: Brown 73%-21%
Sen 2010: Boxer 73-20%
Incumbent: Steven Bradford (D-Gardena)
Candidates: Steven Bradford (D), Mervin Evans (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

South LA encroaches into the Beach Cities due to the VRA, but Democrats retain their iron grip on this district.

AD-63 - Central Gateway: South Gate, Lynwood, Lakewood
Pres 2008: Obama 72%-24%
Gov 2010: Brown 67%-24%
Sen 2010: Boxer 66%-24%
Incumbent: Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens)
Candidates: Jack M. Guerrero (R), Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Moving on...

AD-64 - Harbor Gateway: Compton, Carson, Wilmington
Pres 2008: Obama 85%-12%
Gov 2010: Brown 82%-11%
Sen 2010: Boxer 80%-11%
Incumbent: Isadore Hall (D-Compton), Warren Furutani (D-Los Angeles)
Candidates: Isadore Hall (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Hall, a rising star in the party who contemplated running in CD-44 (the Janice Hahn-Laura Richardson race), has this race and the seat all to himself.

AD-65 - Northern Orange County: Fullerton, Buena Park, Anaheim
Pres 2008: Obama 50%-47%
Gov 2010: Whitman 50%-42%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 50%-41%
Incumbent: Chris Norby (R-Fullerton)
Candidates: Chris Norby (R), Sharon Quirk-Silva (D)
Rating: Likely Republican

While safe GOP also works here, Norby's underwhelming performance may put this district in play. It's trending Democratic quite quickly, and Norby may be too conservative for this district. However, I expect him to squeak through this one though.

AD-66 - South Bay: Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes
Pres 2008: Obama 55%-42%
Gov 2010: Whitman 47%-46%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 47%-45%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Craig Huey (R-Rolling Hills Estates), Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance)
Rating: Tossup

This district is giving Democrats a lot of angst and heartburn. Using the rule of thumb that Asians (especially no-party-preference ones) tend to vote for Asians, Muratsuchi should have the edge, especially this year. However, Huey has name recognition from his special election run in the old CD-36 against Janice Hahn last year. The dark-red Palos Verdes Peninsula also gives Republicans an edge. The election here will be decided primarily by Torrance, the largest city, and Asian and Latino turnout.

AD-67 - Western Riverside County: Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Murrieta
Pres 2008: McCain 56%-41%
Gov 2010: Whitman 57%-34%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 61%-31%
Incumbent: Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore)
Candidates: Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), Phil Paule (R-French Valley)
Rating: Safe Republican

If you're a Democrat here, well, good luck.

AD-68 - OC Foothills: Orange, Irvine, Lake Forest
Pres 2008: McCain 52%-45%
Gov 2010: Whitman 60%-33%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 61%-32%
Incumbent: Don Wagner (R-Irvine)
Candidates: Christina Avalos (D), Don Wagner (R)
Rating: Safe Republican

Any hope of Irvine becoming an upstart Democratic base in Orange County have now been dashed by the redistricting commission.

AD-69 - Santa Ana Valley: Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana
Pres 2008: Obama 64%-33%
Gov 2010: Brown 56%-34%
Sen 2010: Boxer 55%-34%
Incumbent: Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana)
Candidates: Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), Jose "Joe" Moreno (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

A blue island in a sea of red. It's ironic how the Latino candidate here is Republican while the white candidate is a Democrat. One would have thought it would be the other way around in these parts.

AD-70 - Harbor: Long Beach, San Pedro, Signal Hill
Pres 2008: Obama 67%-30%
Gov 2010: Brown 59%-34%
Sen 2010: Boxer 57%-34%
Incumbent: Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach)
Candidates: Martha Flores Gibson (R), Bonnie Lowenthal (D)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Bonnie Lowenthal's ex-husband, current State Senator Alan Lowenthal, is running for Congress. I wonder what endorsing each other feels like.

AD-71 - East San Diego County: Santee, El Cajon, La Presa
Pres 2008: McCain 57%-40%
Gov 2010: Whitman 58%-32%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 61%-29%
Incumbent: Brian Jones (R-Santee)
Candidates: Patrick J. Hurley (D), Brian Jones (R)
Rating: Safe Republican


AD-72 - Little Saigon: Garden Grove, Westminster, Huntington Beach
Pres 2008: McCain 53%-44%
Gov 2010: Whitman 55%-37%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 54%-38%
Incumbent: Jim Silva (R-Huntington Beach)
Candidates: Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), Troy Edgar (R-Los Alamitos)
Rating: Safe Republican

This ruby-red district is home to one of the largest overseas Vietnamese communities.

AD-73 - South Orange County: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, San Clemente
Pres 2008: McCain 53%-44%
Gov 2010: Whitman 62%-31%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 63%-30%
Incumbent: Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point)
Candidates: James Corbett (D), Diane Harkey (R)
Rating: Safe Republican

Teh librulz shall not pass here.

AD-74 - Coastal Orange County: Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine
Pres 2008: Obama 50%-47%
Gov 2010: Whitman 56%-37%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 56%-37%
Incumbent: Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa)
Candidates: Allan Mansoor (R), Robert Rush (D)
Rating: Safe Republican

This district tends to lean libertarian, and Obama did extremely well here. However, his accomplishments didn't trickle downballot, so the GOP is safe here for now.

AD-75 - Inland North San Diego County: Temecula, San Marcos, Escondido
Pres 2008: McCain 56%-41%
Gov 2010: Whitman 60%-31%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 62%-29%
Incumbent: none
Candidates: Matthew Herold (D), Marie Waldron (R-Escondido)
Rating: Safe Republican

Massive population growth means new assembly district, and in this case it means Republicans get a free seat.

AD-76 - Coastal North San Diego County: Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad
Pres 2008: Obama 51%-46%
Gov 2010: Whitman 52%-40%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 53%-38%
Incumbent: Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad)
Candidates: Rocky J. Chavez (R-Oceanside), Sherry Hodges (R-Encinitas)
Rating: Safe Republican

Like other coastal SoCal areas, Obama racked up high percentages here but failed to have coattails.

AD-77 - Northern San Diego, Poway
Pres 2008: Obama 50%-47%
Gov 2010: Whitman 55%-39%
Sen 2010: Fiorina 54%-38%
Incumbent: Nathan Fletcher (I-San Diego)
Candidates: Ruben "RJ" Hernandez (D), Brian Maeinschein (R-San Diego)
Rating: Safe Republican

Fletcher technically doesn't live here, but he would most likely run here if he wanted to stay in the Assembly. He's done now, so it will revert back to the GOP.

AD-78 - Coastal San Diego, Coronado, Imperial Beach
Pres 2008: Obama 66%-31%
Gov 2010: Brown 54%-39%
Sen 2010: Boxer 54%-38%
Incumbent: Toni Atkins (D-San Diego)
Candidates: Toni Atkins (D), Ralph Denney (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

If anyone condemns California's old CD-23 as the "ribbon of shame," then I'm not sure what to make of this one.

AD-79 - Eastern San Diego, La Mesa, Chula Vista
Pres 2008: Obama 60%-38%
Gov 2010: Brown 51%-40%
Sen 2010: Boxer 50%-40%
Incumbent: Marty Block (D-San Diego)
Candidates: Mary England (R), Shirley Weber (D-San Diego)
Rating: Safe Democratic

It's funny how this district turned red in 2002 and back to blue in 2008. In any case, this race is Weber's to lose.

AD-80 - Downtown San Diego, National City, Chula Vista
Pres 2008: Obama 65%-31%
Gov 2010: Brown 57%-32%
Sen 2010: Boxer 57%-32%
Incumbent: Ben Hueso (D-San Diego)
Candidates: Ben Hueso (D), Derrick W. Roach (R)
Rating: Safe Democratic

We end on a less competitive note.


Crunching the numbers gives:

47 safe Dem
2 likely Dem
2 tossup/tilt Dem
2 tossup
3 likely Rep
24 safe Rep

If the projections pan out, this gives 51-2-27 (or 49-4-27, if you group all of the tossups together). The best case scenario is 53-27, which is Dem+1, while the worst case scenario is 49-31, which is GOP+3. Since 54 seats is the magical two-thirds majority, Democrats are projected to fall short...

With such high turnover this cycle, the Assembly is poised to lose a lot of institutional memory. As current Assembly speaker John Pérez and minority leader Connie Conway are both termed out in 2014, jockeying for the Assembly leadership positions in both parties will occur throughout this session. Might their successors be from the Class of 2012? Stay tuned!