Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 – 12:00 am

Votes are being cast in California’s first major election of 2014, and its outcome may set the tone for what happens in the state the rest of the year.

As everyone knows, California Republicans have fallen on hard times – frozen out of statewide office, and holding fewer than a third of legislative seats and scarcely a quarter of the state’s congressional seats.

The GOP, however, has an opportunity for a mini-comeback this year, particularly because voter turnout may be much lower than it was in 2012, a disastrous year for the party.

There’s at least a 50-50 chance that Republicans could gain enough seats to end Democratic supermajorities in one or both legislative houses, and they could pick up a couple of marginal congressional districts.

There’s even an outside chance that Republicans could win a statewide office.

What happens in a hotly contested mayoral race now underway in San Diego, the state’s second-largest city, could be a harbinger.

In 2012, Democratic Congressman Bob Filner captured the mayor’s office, but almost immediately was hammered with allegations that he had sexually harassed numerous women.

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