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2014 California State Election Overview

Branché Jones

November 6, 2014


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After the polls closed in California and a long night of counting ended most of the state’s legislative and state-wide contests are complete. Overall the Democratic Party was victorious in every state-wide contest. Though several races were very close, Democrats swept each race.
The toughest, most expensive race was for the Superintendent of Public Instruction where the current Superintendent, Tom Torlakson, was seeking a second term in office. He was opposed by Marshall Tuck, a former charter school operator and education reform supporter back by numerous individuals who play heavily in education reform. Torlakson was supported by the California Teachers Association and some of the state’s other unions.
The race became the most expensive race in the state as total spending exceeded $30 million; this was more than triple the total amount spent on the race for Governor where Governor Brown cruised to an unprecedented fourth term. Both sides were well funded and were able to present their case to the voters; in the end the Superintendent will serve four more years.
In the State Senate the Democrats lost a race in Orange County where moderate Democrat Lou Correa was termed out of office. He will be replaced by Republican Janet Nguyen who defeated former Assemblyman Jose Solorio by 20 percentage points. The Republicans were able to hang on to their only ‘targeted’ seat as Senator Andy Vidak beat back his Democratic opponent Luis Chavez.
In a move of musical chairs three State Senators were elected to Congressional seats which will create three vacancies and require three special elections set by the Governor. This will be added to the current vacancy that exists in the 35th Senate district where an election has been scheduled for December 8th.
The 35th will elect a Democratic State Senator, one of the other vacancies will also add to the Democratic side of the aisle and the other two will go Republican. This leaves the State Senate breakdown as 25 Democrats and 11 Republicans; the Democrats currently sit two votes short of a 2/3 majority.
In the State Assembly the Democrats lost four seats but did pick up one vacancy. The Republicans picked up more seats in one election cycle than they have in the last few cycles combined.
The Democrats lost the 16th district where the California Teachers Association fielded one of their former employees Tim Sbranti. After defeating a moderate Democratic candidate in the June primary he lost to Republican Catharine Baker who ran a tremendous race.
In the 36th Assembly district Republican Tom Lackey defeated Assemblyman Steve Fox. Fox’s earlier election had been a surprise to legislative Democratic leaders and he was always considered a ‘target.’
In the 65th Assembly district Republican Young Kim defeated Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and in the 66th Republican David Hadley defeated Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi for the Republicans fourth pick up of the night.
The Democrats did pick up Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell’s seat as he vacated it to run for Congress. That leaves the Assembly breakdown 52-28 in favor of the Democrats again leaving them two votes short of a 2/3 majority.
To view complete election results go to and hit the election results tab.

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