Election Day for Republicans, nationally, was a very good night. Not only did the GOP win the presidency with the election of Donald J. Trump, but it also retained control of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, and won gains at the state level across the country.
However, California once again was an outlier. Democrats had a strong night in the Golden State — most significantly picking up at least two, and probably three seats in the State Assembly, recapturing a super-majority that they had gained in 2012, but lost in 2014.
Election ballots continue to be counted, a week after the polls have closed, because of the massive number of absentee ballots mailed late and turned in at polling places. There was also a large number of provisional ballots, which are typically issued to someone who says they are registered but they aren’t on the list at the local precinct.
Some races are so close that the winner could not be determined Election Night, because of these remaining ballots to be cast. Assemblyman David Hadley’s (R-Redondo Beach) defeat by former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi was called early. But with more ballots in, it is clear that Assemblyman Eric Linder (R-Corona) has been defeated by Sabrina Cervantes, an former aide to Democratic Assemblyman Jose Medina. Linder’s defeat officially gives Democrats the 54 members they need to have a supermajority.
One final race remained too close to call in Orange County, where Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) is losing to former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva by just a few thousand votes, with around 200,000 ballots left to count countywide.
It would appear that Republicans will have have held onto their 14-seat position in the State Senate, depriving Democrats of a supermajority in the upper chamber, but without a vote to spare. Opportunities for Democrat pickups in the Senate were scarce, with most of the attention being paid to the 29th district, which straddles Los Angeles and Orange County. While that seat has been in GOP hands, currently occupied by term-limited former GOP Senate Leader Bob Huff, it has seen a significant shift in voter registration favorable to Democrats. Nevertheless, Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) has a substantial enough lead over Democrat businessman Josh Newman that it appears very unlikely the remaining ballots left to be counted would change the outcome.
Attaining a supermajority in both chambers would have allowed Democrats to be able to pass tax increases, pass urgency legislation (to go into effect immediately), and place measures on the ballot — without a single Republican vote.
California is now one of only four states nationally where Democrats control the sovernorship and hold majorities in both legislative chambers. The other three states are Hawaii, Oregon and Rhode Island.