Incumbents Facing Challenges

Assemblywoman Betsy Butler at an event promoting aerospace jobs in California (April 2012).

Assemblywoman Betsy Butler

At least four incumbents are facing challenging primary opponents. Although usually a rare occurrence (there have only been two incumbents defeated in primaries in the last decade), the combination of new district lines and the top-two primary have made this a potentially record-breaking year. In fact, the last time California saw more than two incumbents defeated in a primary was 34 years ago when Senator Alfred Song and Assemblyman Mike Cullen were defeated in 1978.

The four in the greatest danger this year are;

Betsy Butler – Probably the most serious primary challenge for an incumbent legislator this year is in AD-50, where Torie Osborn has mounted a full-scale offensive on first-term Assemblywoman Butler. Osborn has more than four hundred thousand dollars on hand and has collected endorsements from L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, the Nurses, and a number of local officials. Butler, who has almost half a million in the bank, has a fight on her hands. This is going to be the race to watch in June.

Dan Logue – Logue, a two-term Assemblyman, is facing a challenge from Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams. With the advantages that come from being an incumbent and having the larger warchest (Logue had $193,908 in his account, compared to $57,917 for Williams), Logue has made himself difficult to dislodge. Williams, endorsed by the two other local Republican legislators (Senator La Malfa and Assemblyman Nielsen), has a major challenge cut out for him in the next month.

Beth Gaines – Gaines faces a challenge in AD-06 from Andy Pugno, a fellow Republican who ran in 2010 for AD-05 (and lost to Richard Pan). Shortly before the end of the filing period, Pugno decided to jump into the race for the sixth, putting a hurdle in what had appeared to be an easy reelection for the first-term Assemblywoman. Gaines will benefit from a strong name ID, while Pugno will have an advantage (in the Primary) from his strong conservative background. This too will be one to watch.

Alan Mansoor – Freshman Assemblyman Mansoor faces a challenge from Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle. Although a ‘legislator vs. councilmember’ match-up would usually be an easy call, Daigle has built up an impressive $107,955 in her account (with Mansoor holding a narrow lead at $115,371). Her online endorsement list demonstrates strong support in Newport Beach, but translating that to a victory in June will likely be a tough challenge.

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)

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.

2011 Districts added to JC “Redistricting” page

Statewide maps of the Senate, Congressional, and Board of Equalization district maps drawn by the California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission have been added to the Redistricting page on JoinCalifornia. The Assembly district map should be added soon.