Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 – 10:15 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 – 10:53 pm

Two years ago, Democrats won what were quickly dubbed “supermajorities” in both houses of the Legislature, but in the ensuing months, they lost the Senate supermajority.

When a Democratic incumbent resigned in 2013 to become a corporate executive, Republicans won the seat in a special election. And this year, three Democratic senators facing felony charges were suspended.

Those incidents dropped the Democrats from 29 seats to 25, two short of the 27 needed to pass measures requiring two-thirds votes such as constitutional amendments, urgency statutes and tax increases.

It played a role in the drafting of a $7.5 billion water bond for the Nov. 4 ballot. By maintaining solidarity, Republican senators were able to secure more money for new reservoirs.

It also stalled once-ambitious tax increase plans of some Democrats.

The biggest election issue this year, at least among Capitol insiders, is whether Democrats can regain their supermajority in the Senate and hold their 55-seat supermajority, now just one over the two-thirds mark, in the Assembly.

The latter appears to be the more likely. While two Democrats who won in conservative Assembly districts in 2012, Steve Fox of Palmdale and Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton face serious challenges, Republicans also have a seat or two at risk, so the net outcome could be a wash.

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