Balance of Power

Published: Oct. 24, 2014 Updated: 6:43 p.m.

When you get past the nasty ads, a key issue in the state Senate race between Janet Nguyen and Jose Solorio is whether the district would be better represented by a member of the Legislature’s Democrat majority or by a Republican who would give the minority party a stronger position.

Senate District 34 is one of two Senate races expected to determine whether Democrats regain their two-thirds supermajority in the upper chamber, an advantage that allows them to raise taxes, put measures on the ballot, override gubernatorial vetoes and confirm gubernatorial nominees without a single GOP vote.

Democrats have had a supermajority intermittently over the past two years and have not raised taxes, but Nguyen said it’s better to not have one party with so much control.

“That’s absolute power,” said the Republican, an Orange County supervisor since 2007. “You need someone who go up there and fight for the people, someone who can stand up to the powers that be.”

Solorio counters that when it comes to Senate decisions, the district will have more leverage with a member of the majority party.

“It’s important to send a voice to Sacramento that will be heard,” said the Democratic community colleges trustee and former assemblyman. “If we’re going to have a vote in the state Senate, we should have a vote that counts.”

The winner will replace termed-out incumbent Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, in a district whose 2011 realignment reduced a strong Democratic majority to a negligible 3.5 percentage point edge.

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