History Note: Brothers in the Senate

On September 1st, Assemblyman Bill Berryhill announced his candidacy for the new State Senate District 5. If elected, he would join his brother State Senator Tom Berryhill and become only the second siblings to serve together concurrently in the upper house.

The only brothers to serve in the Senate at the same time were Robert I. and John F. McCarthy, who served in the State Senate from 1954-1958. One notable difference between the Berryhills and the McCarthys; the Berryhills are both Republicans, while the McCarthys disagreed on their politics; Robert was a Democrat, and Jack was a Republican.

During their service together, Jack authored the bill which created the Bay Area Rapid Transit District [BART]. He later became Minority Leader in the California State Senate (1967).

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

 

Record Setting Legislative Turnover

Based on the current numbers, it appears that California may have more new legislators in 2013 than it has seen in nearly a century. There are 120 inumbent state legislators, of whom 29 will be terming out this year;

7 State Senators; Alquist, Calderon, Dutton, Harman, Kehoe, Lowenthal, Simitian

22 Assemblymembers; Beall, Calderon, Cedillo, Cook, Davis, Eng, Feuer, Fuentes, Garrick, Huffman, Jeffries, Mendoza, Brownley, Portantino, Carter, Galgiani, Hayashi, Ma, Silva, Smyth, Solorio, Swanson

Additionally, a large number are running for other offices;

Congress; At least three Senators (Blakeslee, Negrete McLeod, and Vargas) and three Assemblymembers (Hall, Hernandez, and Miller), possibly also Assemblymembers Torres and Valadao. [Source]

State Senate (Block, Fong, Monning, Perez (V.M.), Harkey, Lowenthal, Williams)

Mayor; Senator Yee (San Francisco), Assemblyman Fletcher (San Diego)

Redistricting. Finally, redistricting has impacted several seats, either changing them to favor the other party (Huber, Gorell) or placing multiple incumbents in the same district (Dickinson vs. Pan, Strickland vs. Pavley)

RECORD-SETTING LEGISLATOR TURN-OVER
This brings the total number of new legislators to somewhere in the range of 40 to 50. The election of 43 new legislators would set the record for turnover going back to 1935, while reaching a total of 50 would tie for the most since 1917.