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California Senate leader skips national convention, focuses on state races

September 5, 2012 |  1:27 pm

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While many California Democrats are in North Carolina for their national convention, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg has stayed behind, saying Wednesday he was focused on trying to win his party a two-thirds majority in the state’s upper house come November.

Just days after the Legislature ended its two-year session, Steinberg said he has pivoted to the campaign to add at least two seats and possibly three to the Democratic majority, which would give it power to raise taxes, overturn vetoes and take other actions without Republican support.

"There is no guarantee but certainly we have a great shot," Steinberg told reporters Wednesday.

A redrawing of Senate districts means that Senate Democrats have a chance to increase their number from 25 to 28, Steinberg said. His efforts will focus on three seats, including the 27th Senate District, where Republican incumbent Tony Strickland is running for Congress.

State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has a good shot against Republican Todd Zink, a deputy district attorney, Steinberg said. "We feel very good about that race," he said.

The Senate Democrats are also helping retired Gen. Richard Roth in the Inland Empire race against Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller in the 31st Senate District. "It’s going to be all in there as well," Steinberg said. He is also raising money to help Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy) in her contest against Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres) in the 5th Senate District. "Tough district. Great candidate," Steinberg said of Galgiani.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), talking to the press last month, said Wednesday he is skipping the Democratic National Convention to focus on state campaigns. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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