Wednesday, May 22, 2013

California takes a small step back from the brink

Andy Vidak
Democrats control all the levers of power in California but that control weakened today.  In what had been a safe Democrat district, Republican Andy Vidak won an open California State Senate seat with 52% of the vote.  Even with some votes remaining to be counted, his Democrat opponent, Leticia Perez, conceded defeat today.  Vidak's victory threatens the Democrats recently acquired Senate supermajority, potentially restricting their ability to raise taxes.  The Sacramento Bee explains:

Vidak's victory shaves the Democrats' margin in the Senate, which had been 29-11, by one seat, but another Democratic senator, Curren Price, is due to resign to take a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. Thus chances have dimmed for the Democratic supermajority to pass a constitutional amendment or a tax increase, both of which would require two-thirds legislative votes.

Last November, for the first time in living memory, the Democrats gained supermajorities in both California houses as well as as the Governorship.  Without a Senate supermajority, they will, as in years past, be forced to compromise with Republicans.

Perez outspent Vidak by nearly 2-to-1.  But, Vidak, a cherry farmer, had the advantage of better name recognition.

In 2014, Vidak will have to run for reelection.  However, at that time, redistricting kicks-in for his district, CA's 16th Senate District, and it switches from safe-Democrat to safe-Republican.

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