Assembly speaker confident he has a two-thirds majority in lower house
Assembly Speaker John Pérez of Los Angeles said early Wednesday that he believes his Democrats have captured a two-thirds majority in the lower house, while Senate Democrats were within striking distance if they could win some races in which they were leading late.
If the expectations are realized, it would be the first time one party had a supermajority in both houses since 1933, when Republicans held both houses, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said.
Pérez said that with the surprise upset of Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby in Orange County, Democrats in the Assembly have achieved a 54-vote supermajority. Norby lost by about 1,000 votes with 100% of the precincts counted. Although some of the other races still had precincts out, Pérez said the math adds up.
"It feels great to have a supermajority of people who want to come to work and stabilize the economy and get people back to work," he said. "We’re excited to have 54 members."
Democrats were given a head-start in the Senate when Republican Sen. Sam Blakeslee decided not to run for reelection in a newly drawn 17th Senate District that is more Democratic, setting the stage for Democratic Assemblyman Bill Monning of Carmel to win the seat. Monning had a big lead against Republican school board member Larry Beaman with most precincts reporting early Wednesday.
Steinberg said: "I remain optimistic that we are going to achieve our goal.''
"If we achieve it, we're going to use it. But we're going to govern with humility," he said. "There is a lot I want to take on: initiative reform, tax reform. I want to look at a whole host of areas where we haven't had the opportunity because of a lack of two-thirds."
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento