Record Setting Legislative Turnover (December Update)

As we discussed in a previous post three months ago, it looks like California is going to see a near-record number of new legislators in 2013.

In the Senate, 7 State Senators will be leaving due to term limits. Four Senators (Ronald Calderon, Gloria Negrete-McLeod, Michael Rubio, and Juan Vargas), are running for Congress mid-term, which has the potential to create two new vacancies in mid-2013 if they win.

Potential new Senators: 11

In the Assembly, 22 Assemblymembers will be leaving due to term limits. Another five will give up their Assembly seats to run for Congress (Norma Torres, David Valadao, Isadore Hall, Roger Hernandez, and Jeff Miller). Assemblyman Fletcher will give up a third term in the Assembly to run for Mayor of San Diego. Bill Berryhill, Marty Block and Bill Monning will be running for Senate. Paul Fong, Bonnie Lowenthal and V. Manuel Perez, who had been thinking about Senate campaigns, have decided to remain in the Assembly. Alyson Huber will be voluntarily declining to seek a third term. Warren Furutani, eligible for another term in the Assembly, is currently running for Los Angeles City Council (with the run-off scheduled for January 17th) Finally, Mike Morrell and Tim Donnelly are likely to face tough primary challenges, while Jeff Gorell may have difficulty in November.

Potential new Assemblymembers: 33-36 31-34

These numbers (a total of about 44-47 at this point) ignore the number of new Assembly vacancies that might open if any of the State Senators are elected to Congress.

Updated 12/23/2011 at 7:16 pm to include information about Morrell, Donnelly, Gorell, and Furutani.

Updated 12/27/2011 at 3:52 pm to remove Michael Rubio’s congressional run. He announced today that he will not be running.

Updated 12/30/2011 at 9:57 am to remove Isadore Hall’s congressional run. He announced yesterday that he would remain in the Assembly rather than run against two incumbent members of Congress.

Lawsuit Filed to Challenge Prop 14

A lawsuit has been filed in the Alameda County Superior Court to challenge the new “Top Two Primary” and request an injunction to prevent its use in the 2012 and 2014 elections. The lawsuit was filed Monday against Secretary of State Debra Bowen by Michael Rubin, Manja Argue, Steve Collett, Marsha Feinland, Charles L. Hooper, Katherine Tanaka, C. T. Weber, Cat Woods, the Green Party of Alameda Co., the Libertarian Party of California, and the Peace and Freedom Party of California.

At a press conference outside of the Secretary of State’s office this morning, the plaintiffs made a case very similar to that described by Dr. Levinson in her recent Loyola Law Review article; that the new law will create a de facto barrier to minor party participation in General Elections, which will result in their eventual disqualification. Richard Winger, editor of the Ballot Access News, noted that this is just the latest in a number of judicial and legislative attempts to clarify or correct issues with Proposition 14.

Special Elections Timing in 2013

The 2011 Redistricting has led to a significant number of legislators who will be changing district numbers in the 2012 election. One interesting impact is in the State Senate, where the four year terms are likely to cause a number of vacancies as members jockey for their new districts. Although it’s still early to figure out exactly which legislators will end up running for which districts, one thing that we can figure out is when the special elections will be.

California’s election code says that Special General Elections (run-offs) are to be scheduled for a Tuesday between 112 and 126 days after the Governor calls the election. An extra two weeks of flex time is available because the Governor is given two weeks from the time of a vacancy to call the election.

Because Senators are unlikely to resign from their current Senate seats until after they’ve actually won the election to their new seats, the earliest that vacancies are likely to occur is the day after the 2012 General Election (which would be November 7th). The latest that a Senator is likely to resign their previous Senate seat is December 3rd, which is the first day of the new legislative session (the day they would be sworn into their new office).

If a Senator waits until December 3rd to resign their current Senate seat, and the Governor waits two weeks to call the special election, and then schedules it out as far as he can, the Special General would fall on April 16th and the Special Primary (which is 8 weeks before the General) would fall on March 12th .

If the Senator resigns on the first day after the general election (which would be November 7th), and the Governor called the election the same day, and scheduled it for as soon as possible, the Special General Election would fall on February 27th (and the primary would fall on New Years Day or Christmas). Therefore, the earliest we’re likely to see a Special Elections scheduled are March 5th (with a January 8th Special Primary).

2013 “First Round” Special Election Date Ranges
Vacancy: November 7th to December 3, 2012
Primary: January 8* to March 12, 2013
General (Run-off): March 5 to April 16, 2013

“Follow-up Special Elections” (resulting from Assemblymembers being elected to the Senate in Special Elections in the January to April range above would fall somewhere between March and September

2013 “Follow-up” Special Election Date Ranges
Vacancy: January 9th to April 30, 2013
Primary: March 12 to July 9, 2013
General (Run-off): May 7 to September 3, 2013