Marc Steinorth

Marc Steinorth

By Jeff Horseman / Staff Writer
Published: Oct. 12, 2016 – Updated: 10:00 p.m.

  • If they take the seat, Democrats would be one step closer to restoring their two-thirds supermajority in the state Legislature

There’s more at stake in California’s 40th Assembly District than incumbent Marc Steinorth’s political career.

By beating Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, Democrats would be one step closer to restoring their two-thirds supermajority in the state Legislature.

Republican and Democratic party committees have spent more than $1.2 million combined in the Inland district, tops in the state in terms of legislative races with targeted incumbents, said Rob Pyers, research director for the California Target Book, which studies legislative races.

In an appeal to the 40th District’s plurality of Democratic voters, Steinorth’s challenger, Democrat Abigail Medina, is trying to link Steinorth to Donald Trump. Steinorth has fired back with an ad portraying Medina as a “reckless politician” who spent taxpayer dollars on trips to Miami Beach and Las Vegas.

Medina, a San Bernardino Unified School District trustee, and Steinorth, a former Rancho Cucamonga councilman, are running for the right to represent the 40th District, which includes part of the city of San Bernardino in addition to Redlands, Highland, Loma Linda and most of Rancho Cucamonga.

The race is one of the most competitive of this election cycle. Medina finished about 2,200 votes ahead of Steinorth in the June 7 primary.

The district’s voter registration has gone from a nearly even split to an almost 15,000-voter edge for Democrats. Higher projected turnout in a presidential election year also could boost Medina.

The district has shown the single largest decline in GOP voter registration as a percentage of the electorate of any of the state’s 80 Assembly Districts, Pyers said.

But Pyers sees positives for Steinorth. The California Association of Realtors and another group funded by real estate interests could come to Steinorth’s aid, he said.

Also, Republican and no-party-preference voters could turn out in higher numbers in November than they did for the primary, Pyers said, adding that Steinorth stands to draw a larger share of independent voters and may benefit from split-ticket voting.

“All things considered, I’m inclined to give the edge to the incumbent in this race,” he said.

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