A Tale of Two Tibbits

The List of Assemblymembers lists a J. H. Tibbits who represented Shasta, Modoc, and Lassen counties in 1911, and a separate James H. Tibbits who represented Amador County in 1895.

In the “Great Register of Amador County for 1894,” we learn on line 2686 (on page 36) that James H. Tibbits was a 36 years old in 1894 and born in California (as well as a miner, 5′ 11″ with a dark complexion, black hair and black eyes). This puts his approximate date of birth at 1858. However, the 1892 “Great Register of Amador County” also puts his age at 36, with the same description, which would set his birthyear around 1856.

The other Tibbits, J. H. Tibbits, who served in the legislature in 1911, completed a Biographical Index Card for the California State Library, and we learn that his full name was James Halar Tibbits and that he was born at Amador Co. on October 27, 1854. As of 1911, he was living in Redding.

At this point, it looks like the two James H. Tibbits could be related (because of their close birthyears and strong connections to Amador County). However, they could also be two separate people.

This Election in History (UPDATED 11/13)

Hoping to head to Sacramento?


  • Gavin Newsom will be the first Democratic Governor to succeed another Democratic Governor since 1887, when George Stoneman was followed by Washington Bartlett.

Statewide Offices

  • More women were elected to statewide office in 2018 than at any prior election in California history. With Eleni Kounalakis as Lieutenant Governor, Betty Yee as Controller and Fiona Ma as Treasurer, California will have three women in statewide office. The previous high of two women in statewide office occurred in 1988-1989, 1991-2002, and 2009-2017.
  • Betty Yee


    The all-time record for most votes for a constitutional officer is being set by Betty Yee. Prior to 2018, the highest vote count for a candidate for a non-federal statewide office was Jesse Unruh, who received 5,589,633 votes in his 1986 reelection as Treasurer.

  • Of California’s 12 constitutional offices (8 statewide offices and the four seats on the State Board of Equalization), incumbents were reelected in only three (Secretary of State, Attorney General and Controller). The nine new constitutional officers are the largest turnover of the Executive branch since 1911. It was the 1910 election which brought the Progressive era to California politics.
  • The last election to result in a LARGER turnover of Executive branch offices was the 1906 election, which brought 10 new constitutional officers to Sacramento*. * Back in 1906/1907, California had 16 constitutional officers instead of the 12 we have today; at the time, there was also a three-member Railroad Commission and the Clerk of the Supreme Court was elected statewide).

Board of Equalization

  • The Board of Equalization will have a full turnover of its four elected Board Members in this election for the first time in more than 130 years.
  • At 41, Malia Cohen would be the youngest woman ever elected to a California constitutional office. (NOTE: Elizabeth Whitney was younger when she served as Acting Treasurer in the 1987-1988, but she wasn’t elected)
  • If elected to the BOE, Mike Schaefer would be the oldest freshman constitutional officer in state history by about a decade, breaking the record set by Lt. Governor John F. Chellis (in 1863) and Surveyor General Martin J. Wright (in 1902). After one year in office, Schaefer would be the oldest constitutional officer ever, passing Secretary of State Frank M. Jordan (who lived to about 81 years and seven months).

The Legislature

  • If Democrats reach 60 Assemblymembers, this will be the largest caucus in that house since there were 71 Assembly Republicans in 1937. The last time Democrats had 61 Democrats in 1883.
  • The Senate will start the session with 28 Democrats and 12 Republicans. The last time the Senate had that many Democrats was in 1962.
  • At an estimated thirteen new members, the Class of 2019 will be the smallest incoming class since 1991 (when thirteen new members were elected in the General Election)
    • With 8 new Senators, the Class of 2019 will have the fewest new State Senators since 2003.
    • With 8 new Assemblymembers, the Class of 2019 will have the fewest new State Assemblymembers since 1989.
    • Three of the new Senators are not new legislators; Caballero, Grove, and Jones have served in the legislature previously.

In the Assembly

  • Tyler Diep


    Tyler Diep – It appears that Diep will be the only new Republican in the State Assembly next year, which would be the first time a General Election resulted in a freshman Assembly Republican class of one since Assemblyman Milton Marks (of San Francisco) was elected in 1958.

  • Rebecca Bauer-Kahan – Currently researching.
  • Tasha Boerner Horvath – If you look at the list of the people who have held AD-76 over the years, you’ll see that in the past quarter century, this district number (which has moved several times due to redistricting) has been held by Democratic women and Rocky Chavez. Boerner Horvath follows in the footsteps of Susan Davis (1994-2000), Christine Kehoe (2000-2004), Lori Saldana (2004-2010), and Toni Atkins (2010-2012).
  • Cottie Petrie-Norris – Petrie-Norris would be the first Democrat to represent most of her district since the 1970s; the last Democrat to represent the northern part of the district was Dennis Mangers (who held AD-73) in 1974-1980. The last Democrat from the southern part of that district was Ronald Cordova in 1976-78.
  • Buffy Wicks – Wicks joins Steve Glazer and Wendy Carrillo in making August 10th one of the most popular birthdays for current legislators
  • Robert Rivas – Rivas is the first legislator from San Benito County since Peter Frusetta termed out in 2000. He also appears to be the first San Benito County Supervisor to be elected to the legislature since State Senator Thomas Flint Jr. in 1901-1904.
  • Christy Smith – Smith is the first California legislator to be born in Germany since Frederick Peterson (who served 1933-1936). Peterson was born in the German Empire in 1878.
  • James Ramos – As far as I was able to find, Ramos is the first California state legislator born on tribal land (he was born on the San Manuel Indian Reservation)

In the Senate

  • Bob J. Archuleta


    Shannon Grove – Grove was the first female California state legislator to have served in the military. Another legislator, Lucy Killea, was not actually in the military but served as a civilian employee of the Army in a stateside Military Intelligence unit during World War II.

  • Brian Jones – Jones brings the number of currently serving Texas-born State Senators to two (the highest number since Ralph Dills and Barbara Lee served together in 1997-98).
  • Anna Caballero – Caballero will be the first Democratic legislator elected from Madera County since 2000.
  • Bob J. Archuleta – At 73, Senator Bob Archuleta will be the oldest freshman legislator since the end of World War II. Previously, that record was held by Assemblyman Steven Choi (sworn in at 72) who was the oldest new legislator since Assemblyman Albert I. Stewart (age 74) was inaugurated in January 1945.
  • Maria Elena Durazo – Although several current and former legislators were previously recognized as a legislative “Woman of the Year,” Durazo is the first double-honoree to serve in the legislature (1995 in the Assembly and 2001 in the Senate).
  • Melissa Hurtado


    Melissa Hurtado – Hurtado will be the youngest female State Senator in California history and the youngest State Senator since 1981. Hurtado will also be the first Democratic legislator elected from Tulare County since 2010.

  • Andreas Borgeas – Prior to Borgeas (and Caballero), California has not had a Arizona-born State Senators since 1970.
  • When the new Senator from SD-32 is inaugurated in December, it will be the first time that three people have held a single seat in the Senate within a calendar year.
  • BIRTHYEAR: At the start of the 2017-18 Session, the legislature had more current members born in the 1960s than any other decade. By the end of the session, legislators born in the 1970s were the largest group. The 2019-20 Session begins with the proportion of 1970s-born legislators having grown slightly, now at 30% of the legislature.
  • Jim Nielsen


    For members at the start of the 2019-20 session, the average age of the State Assembly is 50.2 years old and the State Senate is 57.2 years old.

  • BIRTHPLACE: 78 of the 120 legislators were born in California (down from 81 at the end of last session) and 15 were born in other countries (up from 13).
  • DEAN OF THE LEGISLATURE: Senator Jim Nielsen is starting his 18th year in the Senate (22nd year in the legislature) and is currently the 43rd longest-serving Senator in state history and the 63rd longest serving legislator in state history.
  • TERM LIMITS: None of the current Assemblymembers are scheduled to term out until 2024. There are no longer any Prop 140 Term Limits legislators in the Assembly, and Term Limits 2.0 legislators now make up almost half of the Senate (18 out of 40).

UPDATED 11/5 @ 8:04 pm: Three things that I forgot to mention earlier;

  1. It was rockstar Nuriel Moghavem, MD who caught the cool fact about no Democratic Governor succeeding another since 1887.
  2. Between 1879 and June 2018, the California State Constitution has been amended 539 times. Proposition 5 and Proposition 6 (which included amendments to the California State Constitution) both failed meaning that the number of amendments stays the same.
  3. Keep your eyes peeled for a State Assembly candidate who gets 189,531 votes or more. It’s quite likely that we will see the all-time high of 189,530 votes broken tomorrow.
  4. Also watch for a State Senate candidate to receive more than 303,241 votes (the most since 2010) or more than 326,755 votes (the most since Los Angeles was carved up into multiple Senate districts in the mid-1960s).

Senator Delgado Arrives

Senator Vanessa Delgado

Senator Delgado

Due in large part to an curiously timed Senate special election that resulted in Vanessa Delgado winning her special election (but not the primary for the new term beginning November 30th), Senator Delgado has been sworn in to an unusually short term in office.

It’s worth noting that this election almost didn’t happen. If Senator Mendoza had resigned just a little over two weeks later, the election wouldn’t have happened. California law makes it clear that if a legislative vacancy occurs after the close of the nomination period, no special election will be held and the office will remain vacant through the rest of the term.

When a vacancy occurs in a legislative office after the close of the nomination period in the final year of the term of office, no special election shall be held.
Elections Code Section 10701 (b)

In the case of the Senate District 32 vacancy, Senator Mendoza resigned on February 22nd, 16 days before the end of the filing period (March 9th).

Now, some fun facts about Senator Delgado’s term in office:

  • Senator Delgado will be the shortest-serving State Senator in more than a century. The last Senator to serve a shorter term was Orrin Z. Hubbell, a Republican who served 15 weeks in 1903 before he died in office.
  • Senate District 32 in 2018 will be the first time in California history that three Senators have represented a single Senate seat in one calendar year. Tony Mendoza held the seat between January 1st and his resignation on February 22. Vanessa Delgado will hold the seat from August 9 until the end of the current term on November 30. The candidate who wins the General Election in November will assume office on December 3.
  • With the election of a new Senator in the November General Election, this will be the first time in California history that three Senators have represented a single Senate seat (SD-32) in one calendar year.
  • At 17 weeks in office before the end of the term, Vanessa Delgado will be the shortest-serving female legislator in state history, replacing Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (who served 39 weeks in 2006-07).
  • Senator Delgado will be the 157th woman to serve in the California State Legislature, and the 46th to serve in the Senate.
  • Senator Delgado will be the sixth woman elected to the State Senate without ever having served in the Assembly are in office now. Senator Delgado joins Senators Leyva and Nguyen to bring the number currently in office to three.
  • Senator Delgado will be the seventh woman elected to the State Senate in a special election (although women have been elected to the Senate in special elections eight times; Sharon Runner won special elections in 2011 and 2015).
  • In the past 50 years, only one California state legislator has left office without authoring a single bill that became law. Assemblyman Adrian C. Fondse, who served for 35 days in 1980-81, is the only California state legislator who didn’t have a single bill chaptered.