Three Senators Leave for Congress

The Senate Daily Journal for January 5th is now online, containing the resignation letters for State Senators Mark DeSaulnierSteve Knight and Mimi Walters.

It’s notable that all three letters arrived on different days and all three specified different days and times for the respective resignations to take place. DeSaulnier wrote his letter before Christmas, resigning at 11:59 p.m. on January 2nd, Walters wrote a January 3rd letter resigning effective that same day. Knight’s letter (dated January 5th) resigned effective that day.

Senator DeSaulnier wrote his letter with “great sadness and joy…”


December 23, 2014
The Honorable Kevin de León
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Dear Senator De León:
It has been an honor to represent the Seventh Senate District for the last six years. As you know, I was elected to the 11th Congressional District in November. So it is with great sadness and joy that I write to tender my resignation from the State Senate effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 2, 2015. I will miss all of my colleagues, the staff at the Senate Desk and the Senate Sergeants and all the people that make the Senate a wonderful place to work.
Senator, 7th District

Walters, who had a contentious relationship with De Leon during her time in the Senate, wrote:


January 3, 2015
The Honorable Kevin de León
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Dear Senator De León:
Effective January 3, 2015, I resign my seat as State Senator, District 37. I am grateful for the time I spent with my fellow Senators and look forward to further serving the great state of California in Congress.
Senator, 37th District

Steve Knight, who apparently understood that although the Congressional term began January 3rd, he would not be sworn in until the 6th, wrote the following:


January 5, 2015
The Honorable Kevin de León
President pro Tempore of the Senate
Dear Senator De León:
It has been an honor and privilege to be a member of this august body and to serve the constituents of the 21st Senate District. In November, I was chosen by the voters to represent them in Washington D.C., and I will be sworn-in to the 114th United States Congress on January 6, 2015. Therefore, although bitter-sweet, I am resigning from the California State Senate effective January 5, 2015. Thank you for the comradery and friendship.
Senator, 21st District

Governor Brown has yet to call the Special Election to fill these three vacancies.

More Things to Watch on Election Night

Sorry about that folks. I spent a little more time thinking about the upcoming election and found a few more things for you to ponder on election night. Continuing the numbering from my previous post…

17.  First former Speaker Elected to the Senate in 82 Years.
If Bob Hertzberg wins in SD-18, he will become the first Speaker in 82 years to reach the upper house. The last Assembly Speaker to become a State Senator was Frank F. Merriam (Speaker in 1923-1926), who was elected to the State Senate in 1928 and went on to be Governor in 1934.

18. Largest Incoming Class of Female Senators in State History
1992 is frequently called “The Year of the Woman” because of the number of women elected that year. The California State Senate actually only picked up two new female Senators that year. The current record for largest class of new female Senators is five, set in 1999 and in 2009. It looks quite possible that record will be broken this year with the election of six new women to the Senate.

19. Most Republican Women Senators in History
If Pat Bates and Bonnie Garcia and Janet Nguyen and Jean Fuller win, the Senate will have 5 Republican women, more than at any other point in it’s history. The previous high-water mark of 3 was set in 1993 (with Senators Bergeson, Morgan and Wright) and matched again in 2010-2012 (with Senators Fuller, Runner, and Wright).

20. Most Women Senators in History
If Bates, Nguyen, Mitchell, Garcia, Fluke, Leyva, and Fuller win their Senate races, they will join Senators Wolk, Galgiani, Hancock, Jackson, Liu, Pavley, and Walters (bringing the number of women up to 14 (which is the most women that we’ve ever had). Of course, Mimi Walters will probably be resigning fairly quickly to take her seat in Congress, dropping that number back down to 13 (which is a number that we have seen before).

21. Largest Vote Separation in Recent History in the Governor’s Race
The percentage of the vote separating the winner and second-place candidate for Governor has averaged 12.3% over the past 50 years (with the highest margin being George Deukmejian in 1986 with 23.1% and the lowest being Jerry Brown in 1974 with 2.9%). The highest margin since WWII was Earl Warren in 1946, with 84.7% of the vote separating him from his nearest competitor.

22. Most Resignations in a Session
Although the election is almost here and the Legislature has been adjourned for a while, the 2013-14 Regular Session of the Legislature is still in office. Before the current session, the record for most Senate resignations in a session was set in 1857, when four Senators (Mandeville, Norman, Tilford, and Walkup) left before the end of session. So far in the current session, there have been six resignations (Negrete-McLeod, Vargas, Rubio, Price, Emmerson, and Wright). Additionally, two current Senators are running for Congress, and both are expected to win (DeSaulnier and Walters). If either of them resign prior to November 30th, their resignations would count toward the 2013-14 Session, if they wait until January (when Congress gets sworn in), it would count in the 2015-16 session.

16 Things to Watch on Election Night

As the 2014 election wraps up, here are some statistics and historical facts to watch for when you see the results.



TENURE: Jerry Brown is already the longest-serving Governor in State history (his tenure surpassed Earl Warren’s in October 2013). With all other living former Governors term limited to eight years (except George Deukmejian, who also left office before term limits), it’s unlikely that we will see a longer-serving Governor anytime in the near future.

Also worth noting is the total number of votes that Brown receives. In the 1986 General Election, Jesse Unruh was elected Controller with 5,589,633 votes, becoming the California constitutional officer to receive the highest number of votes ever. I have a sneaking suspicion that we may see that record broken this year by either Brown or Chiang.



If elected, Ashley Swearengin would be California’s first Republican state Controller since Houston Flournoy was elected in 1970. Flournoy is interesting because he eventually went on to be the Republican who lost to Jerry Brown, giving him his first term.


Superintendent of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson came very close to winning reelection in the primary, but Marshall Tuck has been running a strong campaign since then. If Torlakson is defeated, he will be the first Superintendent of Public Instruction to be defeated in a reelection bid since Wilson Riles in 1982.

Congressional District 7
If Doug Ose wins, it will be the first time an incumbent Democratic congressman was defeated in a reelection bid by a Republican since 1994 (when three incumbents were replaced; Daniel Hamburg, Richard H. Lehman, and Lynn Schenk)



Congressional Districts 11 and 33

Pete Stark, who left office in 2013, currently holds record as California’s longest-serving Congressman (for his 40 years between 1973 and 2013). Congressmen Henry Waxman and George Miller, both of whom are not running for reelection, will leave office in January after 14,611 days in office (an exact tie with Stark).

Congressional District 12
Assuming that she is reelected (she has defeated this same opponent twice before), Nancy Pelosi will become the longest-serving current member of California’s congressional delegation.

Congressional District 17
If Ro Khanna wins, it will be the first time an incumbent Democratic congressman was defeated in a reelection bid by a member of their own party since 2012 (when Howard Berman, Joe Baca, Laura Richardson, and Pete Stark left office that way). Being the “first person to do something that hasn’t been done since two years ago” doesn’t seem that impressive, but it actually is.

Congressional District 26
As noted in Congressional District 7; if Jeff Gorell wins, it will be the first time an incumbent Democratic congressman was defeated in a reelection bid by a Republican since 1994 (when three incumbents were replaced; Daniel Hamburg, Richard H. Lehman, and Lynn Schenk)

There will only ever be ONE Ralph Dills


State Senate District 04

If he is reelected, this will be Jim Nielsen’s fifth time winning election to the State Senate. The last time a person won their fifth senate election was 1994, when Diane Watson and Ken Maddy won their 5th elections, Ruben Ayala won his seventh, and Ralph Dills won his eighth.

Senator Z

State Senate District 14

If Luis Chavez unseats incumbent Andy Vidak, he will be the first Democrat since George Zenovich in 1978 to win that particular district number (Senate District 14).

State Senate District 28
With two Republicans (Bonnie Garcia and Jeff Stone) on the ballot in  SD 28, it’s guaranteed that one of them will become the first Republican to win in that district number since Bill Symons Jr. won it in 1962.

State Assembly District 36
The race in AD36 is one of the most contested in the state, and Steve Fox has a very real chance of losing. If he does, it will be the first time in twenty years that an incumbent Democratic state legislator was defeated for a reelection bid by a Republican.


State Assembly District 40

Redistricting makes district numbers jump around every ten years, but it’s still impressive that until Mike Morrell won it in 2012, no Republican had been elected to represent Assembly District 40 since the Great Depression (1938). Can Marc Steinorth be the first Republican to win it and hold it for a full term (Morrell moved to the Senate just 16 months into the term) or will Kathleen Henry bring it back into the Democratic win column?
It’s worth noting that the Senate District which was Republican for the longest time (SD-35) hadn’t elected a Democrat since Harry C. Westover in 1936 when Rod Wright won it in 2012. Like Morrell, Wright departed before finishing his ground-breaking term.


State Assembly District 57

If Ian Calderon loses in AD57, Rita Topalian would be the first Republican since Charles J. Conrad in 1970 to hold that District Number. Conrad was a Republican movie star who decided to pursue elected office in California, but actually did it decades before Reagan or Muscles.

State Assembly District 65
Like AD 36, the race in AD 65 is highly contested, and it could be several days before we know the final outcome. If Quirk-Silva loses her reelection, it will be the first time in twenty years that an incumbent Democratic state legislator was defeated for a reelection bid by a Republican.