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February 14, 2014
Insider Extra: Legislative races to watch in 2014


Veteran political analyst Tony Quinn offers his take on key legislative races, as Republicans seek to cut into Democrats' supermajority status this year. Here's the recap of the series in one easy-to-save list:

2nd District
Democrat Wes Chesbro of Arcata is termed out of the Assembly. In the race to replace him are Hezekiah Allen, the head of an environmental organization, Healdsburg City Councilman Jim Wood and John Lowry, a retired former executive of a development and property management organization. All are Democrats, and Wood looks to have secured the party's backing.

Tony's Take
This was traditionally the north coast district, but redistricting drew it into Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County now dominates the safely Democratic district. Of the three Democrats vying to replace Chesbro, Wood, a Healdsburg dentist as well as council member, boasts a long list of Democratic endorsements, including Chesbro. He will probably face off against one of the other Democrats in the top-two November runoff.

3rd District
Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue of Marysville is challenging Democratic Rep. John Garamendi for Congress, leaving his seat open this year. Republicans running to succeed Logue include James Gallagher, a member of the Sutter County Board of Supervisors, and Ryan Schohr, who hails from a farming family in Butte County. Democrats include Marysville Mayor Ricky Samayoa and tax attorney Jim Reed, who favors creating a new northern state.

Tony's Take
Redistricting shuffled the counties in this Sacramento Valley district, but Butte County, with 48 percent of the district's voters, still dominates. The fight for this safe Republican seat (Romney won here by 12 points) will be a battle of farm bureaus. The Butte County Farm Bureau is behind Schohr; the Sutter-Yuba Farm Bureau is backing Gallagher. This race could be decided in the primary, as two Democrats are also running, and Reed has run before. So a Republican-Democrat fall runoff is likely, but whoever emerges from the GOP part of the primary is the next assemblyman.

4th District
Running to replace Democrat Mariko Yamada of Davis are Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd, Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza, Napa County Planning Commissioner Matt Pope and Davis Councilman Dan Wolk, the son of Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. All are Democrats and Wolk is in line to receive the party's endorsement.

Tony's Take
For years the Assembly member for this safely Democratic Yolo-Solano district has come from Yolo County, but redistricting made major changes. Gone is most of Solano County, and instead Napa County, Lake County and part of Sonoma County have been added. West Sacramento in Yolo County was also removed, meaning Yolo County is now only about a third of the district. If no Republican files, a top-two runoff of Democrats from Yolo and Napa counties seems a good bet.

7th District
Vying to succeed Democrat Roger Dickinson of Sacramento are Sacramento City Council members Steve Cohn and Kevin McCarty, and West Sacramento City Councilman Mark Johannessen, son of former GOP state Sen. Maurice Johannessen. All are Democrats, and McCarty is in strong position to get the party's support.

Tony's Take
All three Democrats have different areas of strength in this heavily Democratic district. Johannessen should do well in West Sacramento, but it is only 11 percent of the district. The rest is in Sacramento County, and each of the two Sacramento councilmen has a base of support. A same party runoff is all but assured as long as no Republican files. If the two Sacramento council members face off, an interesting issue could be public funding of the new Sacramento Kings arena, where the two are on opposing sides.

8th District
Democrat Ken Cooley is up for reelection. He'll be challenged by Republican Doug Haaland, a recently retired legislative staff member.

Tony's Take
It is unclear whether this district will see a serious race. It consists of eastern Sacramento County suburbs, and was pretty much safely Republican a decade ago. A Republican collapse in the county has made the district very much Democratic-leaning. But it is not safe; President Obama received 52 percent of the vote here in 2012, and Cooley 54 percent in his first election. With Haaland the only Republican, this will clearly be a two-party general-election contest.

9th District
In a race to replace Democrat Richard Pan of Sacramento are Elk Grove Councilman and county sheriff's deputy Jim Cooper, real estate agent Sylvia Crockett, Sacramento City Councilman Darrell Fong, Chris Parker, a lawyer with the Franchise Tax Board and county Democratic Party official, and Sacramento Unified Trustee Diana Rodriguez, all Democrats. Republican Tony Amador, a Lodi resident and retired federal marshal, could run, as might Manuel Martin, a local Tea Party leader.

Tony's Take
This district, southern Sacramento County and Lodi in San Joaquin County, is safely Democratic in its voting but has a large enough GOP base that a Republican could make the runoff. The next Assembly member, however, will be one of the five Democrats: Cooper ran for Sacramento County Sheriff in 2010; Fong is a first term councilman; Parker planned to run in a different district in 2012. Early on they would appear to be the strongest candidates. The two Republicans are from Lodi, but that is only 15 percent of the district, so a same-party runoff involving two of the Sacramento Democrats is possible.

10th District
Assemblyman Marc Levine will get intraparty competition from Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Erin Carlstrom and Marin Community College District trustee Diana Conti.

Tony's Take
Former Democratic Assemblyman Michael Allen was a big loser in redistricting, as his formerly Sonoma-Napa district was largely moved to Marin County. In 2012, he lost a top-two runoff to fellow Democrat Levine, a San Rafael Councilman. That left much bad blood, as labor strongly supported Allen. And so Levine will face another likely same-party runoff in November, against either Carlstrom or Conti. Both will be trying to gain labor support and place themselves to the left of the more moderate Levine. The district is heavily Democratic, so it is unlikely a Republican can make the November runoff.

15th District
With Democrat Nancy Skinner departing, this is a wide-open race for the heavily Democratic, Berkeley-based seat. The Democrats running are San Pablo City Councilwoman Cecilia Valdez, Sam Kang, an attorney with the Greenlining Institute, environmental attorney Andy Katz, Elizabeth Echols, a former regional director for the federal Small Business Administration, and Tony Thurmond, a former member of the Richmond City Council. Rich Kinney is the lone Republican.

Tony's Take
This overwhelmingly Democratic district will have a same-party runoff in November. It consists of northern Alameda County and western Contra Costa County. For decades, this was an African American district, and Thurmond is endorsed by the Legislative Black Caucus. The five other Democrats have different areas of strength. Echols and Kang are long time local activists; Katz is openly gay; Valdez holds local office, as does Republican Kinney. But with only eight percent of the voters registered Republican, this will be a hard-fought race between the various Democrats to see which two can make the November runoff.

16th District
Democrat Joan Buchanan is termed out of the suburban East Bay district, which leans blue. Running is Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer, a close adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, all Democrats. Republican Catharine Baker, an attorney from Pleasanton, also has indicated she will run.

Tony's Take
Postal workers in this district better ask for a raise, because this seat is shaping up to be a monster battle between Democratic factions, with a Republican waiting in the wings. Political consultant and council member Glazer was blacklisted by labor in 2013 as punishment for participating in two Democratic races against labor-backed candidates. He is highly critical of public-employee strikes, including the recent BART strike, and can expect business backing and labor opposition in the primary. Labor and most local elected Democrats have rallied behind Sbranti. Glazer and Sbranti are likely to be well funded and will likely draw major outside PAC money that will fill voters' mail boxes with campaign literature. But the two other candidates could play a role. Arnerich has a base in Danville, and Baker is the sole Republican. The question is whether Baker will be funded in the primary and make the runoff, as the district is strongly Democratic but has a Republican base. That could squeeze Glazer out of the runoff, as he will be appealing to Republican voters. A battle royal is shaping up.

17th District
Democrat Tom Ammiano is leaving. Two San Francisco supervisors, David Chiu and David Campos, are already busy slugging it out.

Tony's Take
San Francisco usually does not have legislative campaigns, as the various factions often decide who the candidates will be. But not this time. Supervisors Chiu and Campos will fight it out in June and again in November in this overwhelmingly Democratic district. Retiring Assemblyman Ammiano has endorsed Campos, who is viewed as one of the most liberal of the very liberal San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This district consists of the eastern and generally more liberal part of San Francisco. Campos, who is gay, was born in Guatemala, and Chiu is the son of immigrant parents from China. With probably few issues between them, could this come down to an ethnicity contest?

21st District
Incumbent Democrat Adam Gray is running for re-election.

Tony's Take
Someday Republicans may again compete for this Merced-Stanislaus Assembly district, but not this year. Gray is home free.

25th District
Democrat Bob Wieckowski is testing his fortunes in a state Senate race, and a host of Democrats are running to retain the deep blue district. They are San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu, Milpitas City Councilman Armando Gomez, Ohlone Community College Trustee Teresa Cox and Craig Steckler, the former police chief of Fremont.

Tony's Take
Wieckowski was lucky in 2012 that he had a Republican runoff opponent in this safe Democratic seat that consists of part of San Jose and of Fremont. With two thirds of the voters in Santa Clara County, Chu and Gomez may have an edge, but Steckler is known in Fremont, as is Cox, who has the support of the Legislative Black Caucus. The district is one-third Asian in its voter registration, covering San Jose's historic Asian neighborhoods, and that could give Chu an edge. Chu and Steckler seem to be winning the endorsements war. A same-party top-two runoff seems likely.

28th district: Democrat Paul Fong is termed out. The two Democrats to succeed him are Evan Low, a member of the Campbell City Council and Barry Chang, a member of the Cupertino City Council. The lone Republican is Michael Hunsweck, a silicon chip processing engineer.

Tony's Take
Twenty years ago Republicans were very competitive in this west Santa Clara County district that covers the Silicon Valley, and Fong did face a semi-serious challenge from a former Republican running as No Party Preference in 2012. But the district now is safely Democratic. Low and Chang are probably fighting it out for one of the runoff spots, as there is still a sufficient GOP base to get Hunsweck into the runoff. Low has the endorsement of Fong and a bevy of Democratic legislators and interest groups.

26th District
Republican Connie Conway of Tulare must step down because of term limits.
Running on the Republican side are insurance broker Esther Barajas and Rudy Mendoza, the district director for GOP Rep. Devin Nunes. The Democrats are Tulare City Councilman Carlton Jones, Tulare County Democratic Party Chairman Ruben Macareno and Derek Thomas, a correctional officer.

Tony's Take
Mendoza has the big advantage in this safe Republican district, with the support of Conway and most overlapping elected Republicans. This is a geographically huge district, but 88 percent of its voters are in Tulare County. Once the county was politically marginal, but no more. Romney carried this district by 16 points. It is possible one of the three Democrats will make it into the November runoff, although an all-Republican top-two contest between Mendoza and Barajas is also possible. Conway did face a Democrat in 2012, a 19-year-old rock band guitar player.

32nd District
Incumbent Democrat Rudy Salas is running for re-election.

Tony's Take
This district consists of Latino parts of Kern County and Kings County. It was a major battleground in 2012, and there is definitely a Republican base here (both the overlapping state senator and congressman are Republicans.) But Salas has been a very moderate Democrat, and a challenge this year seems unlikely.

35th District
Incumbent Republican Katcho Achadjian is running for re-election.

Tony's Take
This district, consisting of San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County, is somewhat marginal on paper, but Achadjian fits it well. Democrats have been waiting for Republicans to nominate a weak candidate, but they have had a long wait since no Democrat has represented this district in recent memory.

33rd District
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, is running for governor. At least six Republicans are making plans to succeed him: Michele Ambrozic, vice president of an insurance service; Art Bishop, a member of the Apple Valley Town Council; Scott Markovich, a Crestline building contractor; Jay Obernolte, a Big Bear Lake council member; Rick Roelle, a San Bernardino County deputy sheriff; and Brett Savage, a graduate teaching assistant at the University of California Irvine.

Tony's Take
This is California's monster district, covering all of the San Bernardino desert and larger than some states. It is safely Republican, but could well see a play out of the national GOP civil war this election. Donnelly is clearly the most conservative Republican legislator, a favorite of the tea party. He has endorsed Bishop, but Ambrozic is a conservative activist. Obernolte is a successful businessman. In 2012, an overlapping congressional district featured a same-party runoff election between a tea party and a business-oriented Republican. That could happen in this district later this year.

36th District
Democratic incumbent Steve Fox of Palmdale is seeking re-election. Republican challengers include Palmdale City Councilman Tom Lackey, a retired sergeant in the California Highway Patrol, and Suzette Martinez, a public affairs specialist.

Tony's Take
Fox was a most improbable winner. His Republican opponent thought the district was so safe that he did not bother campaigning in the 2012 general election. He got quite a surprise when he lost by a few hundred votes. Republicans thought they had the perfect candidate to go against Fox in car dealer Lou Gonzales, but he has dropped out, and party leaders scrambled to find a replacement. Lackey, who lost the primary in 2012, has a number of GOP endorsements. Martinez entered the race more recently.

40th District
Republican Mike Morrell won re-election in 2012, and his seat is viewed as a top target in 2014. Morrell is running in the special election in the overlapping 23rd Senate District to succeed Bill Emmerson. Possible contenders for the Assembly seat are Democrat Art Bustamante of the Chaffey Joint Unified School District, Democrat Elvira Harris, a correctional counselor, and Republican Marc Steinorth, a Rancho Cucamonga councilman. Republican Paul Chabot, a businessman and opponent of legalizing marijuana, is said to be weighing a run.

Tony's Take
With Morrell all but assured election to a safe Republican Senate seat, this increasingly marginal Assembly district will see a major battle in 2014. The Republican base vote in this district is about 45 percent, and Morrell barely won in 2012. When the district was drawn in 2011, voter registration was even between the parties. Now Democrats have taken a small but growing lead. This district is a prime candidate for a Democratic pick-up in 2014 if the registration continues drifting to Democrats.

42nd District
Republican Brian Nestande of Palm Desert is termed out and running against freshman Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert. The Republican contenders for his Assembly seat are Gary Jeandron, the former police chief of Palm Springs, ex-Yucca Valley Town Councilman Chad Mayes and former San Jacinto City Councilman Scott Miller. The Democrat is Karalee Hargrove of the Morongo Unified school board.

Tony's Take
This eastern Riverside and San Bernardino district is safely Republican, although if Hargrove can put on any kind of a campaign and the GOP vote is split, only one Republican may make it to the runoff. Jeandron is probably the early leader for the GOP nod, having run before, but Mayes has a number of endorsements.

44th District
Republican Jeff Gorell is departing to run for Congress. At least seven candidates have indicated plans to challenge for the Ventura County-based seat, including Sean Paroski of the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, Rob McCoy, pastor of Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, and Port Hueneme City Councilwoman Sylvia Muñoz Schnopp on the Republican side. The lone Democrat is Thousand Oaks City Councilwoman Jacqui Irwin after the departure from the race of Bernardo Perez, chairman of the Ventura County Community College District board.

Tony's Take
This is another district sliding away from the Republicans. It includes heavily Democratic Oxnard and shows Democratic registration growth. Mitt Romney only received 46 percent of the vote here in 2012. A Republican vs Democratic runoff is all but assured, but none of the candidates is especially well known district-wide.

53rd District
Democratic Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez is termed out. Los Angeles Community College Trustee Miguel Santiago and Democratic activist Sandra Mendoza are running.

Tony's Take
Santiago has the endorsement of every important Democrat in this district, including Speaker Pérez. His path to Sacramento seems pretty assured, but he may face a same-party runoff in November.

55th District
Republican Curt Hagman of Chino Hills is termed out. Republican candidates are Diamond Bar City Councilwoman Ling-Ling Chang, Phillip Chen of the Walnut Valley school district trustee and Yorba Linda City Councilman Craig Young. Democrats include businessman Christopher Brown.

Tony's Take
This three-county district is safely Republican. It also gives the GOP an opportunity to elect an Asian Republican to the Legislature, something leaders want as the Asian vote has swung strongly to the Democrats in recent years. But there is a problem. The two Asian Republicans, Chang and Chen, are both from the Los Angeles portion of the district, while Young is from Orange County where more than half the voters reside. Chang and Chen show impressive fundraising, while Young has shown no money. Brown, the Democrat, has no campaign so far, so a same-party Republican runoff remains a possibility.

56th District
Democrat V. Manuel Perez of Coachella is termed out and running for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. His possible replacements on the Democratic side are former Coachella Mayor Eduardo Garcia and former military police officer Charles Bennett Jr.

Tony's Take
This is a safe Democratic district with a 54 percent Latino voter registration. Garcia has all the major endorsements, including Pérez, and is the probable winner, although a same-party runoff in November is likely.

57th District
Democrat Ian Calderon of Whittier is running for re-election. The question is whether he faces any political blow-back from the legal problems confronting his uncle, Sen. Ron Calderon.

Tony's Take
Whether Calderon faces a challenge from another Latino Democrat probably depends on what happens to his uncle. Thus far no names have surfaced, and Ron Calderon has not been charged with a crime despite the leak of a politically damaging affidavit.

60th District
Incumbent Assemblyman Eric Linder is seeking re-election.

Tony's Take
This is one of several Republican-held districts in Southern California that is drifting to the Democrats. Linder was supposed to be safe in 2012, but barely won against a Democrat who spent no money. Whether he is seriously pressed in 2014 remains to be seen, but there are several potentially strong Latino Democrats in this area with a growing Latino population.

62nd District
Democrat Steve Bradford of Gardena is termed out. One of several candidates eyeing the seat is former Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, who shifted back south for the opportunity. The other Democrats are Autumn Burke and Gloria Gray. The Republicans are Eloy Morales, Jr., Patricia Donaldson and Mervin Evans, a perennial candidate.

Tony's Take
This is an African American-held district that is part of the historic Assembly district in south Los Angeles that first elected a great-grandson of President Thomas Jefferson by his slave Sally Hemings to the Assembly in 1918. But the black voter registration is only 27 percent today. Butler, a white former assemblywoman who lost an adjoining district racer in 2012, is a strong candidate, if she doesn't run for an open state Senate seat. This will be a same-party runoff.

64th District
Isadore Hall is termed out and several Democrats are vying to succeed him, including Compton School District member Micah Ali, Carson Councilman Mike Gibson, Long Beach Councilman Steve Neal, and anti-gang activist Prophet Walker.

Tony's Take
This is another historically African American district, although the black voter registration in this district is only 27 percent. The district is among the most heavily Democratic, and a same-party runoff in November is all but assured. The leading candidates are Gibson and Neal, both of whom boast an impressive list of endorsements. This district will almost certainly remain in African American hands.

65th District: Incumbent Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva is running for re-election. Republican challengers thus far are La Palma City Councilman Henry Charoen and Young Kim, a district director for Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton.

Tony's Take
The upset of Republican Assemblyman Chris Norby by Quirk-Silva in 2012 was a surprise, and Republicans badly want this very marginal district back. Charoen is a leader in the local Thai community as well as a local government official. But GOP heavyweights have coalesced behind Kim, a Korean-American, including Royce, who has represented much of this area over the years. The district is 23 percent Latino and 19 percent Asian in voter registration.

66th District
Incumbent Democrat Al Muratsuchi is running for re-election. Taking on Muratsuchi are Republican investment banker David Hadley and attorney Seth Stodder, no party preference.

Tony's Take
Redistricting did Republicans a favor here because it restored the formerly safe GOP seat in the Palos Verdes-Torrance area that was split in the 1991 redistricting. But over time, this area has drifted to the Democrats, and by 2012 was very marginal. The Republicans who used to win here were moderates but the GOP candidate in 2012 was a strong social conservative, and he lost -- gaining just 45 percent of the vote. The fall runoff will probably be Muratsuchi and Hadley.

70th District
Long Beach Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal is running to replace her ex-mother-in-law, Bonnie. Suja was married to the son of Bonnie and Alan Lowenthal. Bonnie is running for mayor of Long Beach, and Alan, her ex-husband, is a freshman congressman. Three Democrats, including Long Beach Councilman Patrick O'Donnell, and a Republican are also running for the Assembly seat.

Tony's Take
This safe Democratic district seems to be the soap opera of the Lowenthal family that has dominated politics here for a generation. The strongest Democrat may be O'Donnell, since the district is largely Long Beach and he has several important endorsements, including that of Bonnie Lowenthal. A same-party runoff between O'Donnell and Suja Lowenthal is quite possible, meaning the soap opera will continue into the fall.

73nd District
Termed-out Republican Diane Harkey is running for the Board of Equalization. Among the Republicans planning to run here are Dana Point Councilman Bill Brough, Capistrano School Trustee Anna Bryson, former Laguna Miguel Councilman Paul Glaab and Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Jesse Petrilla.

Tony's Take
Sorting out Orange County Republican politics is never easy, and this is the most Republican district in the state, so a same-party GOP runoff is very probable. All the candidates have something of a base in the district. The two candidates who will make the runoff are anyone's guess; Bryson has a long list of endorsers, including former Secretary of State George Schultz.

74th District
Incumbent Republican Allan Mansoor is running for the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Republicans planning to run for this district include Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry, Huntington Beach Councilman Matthew Harper, Irvine magazine publisher Katrina Onofre and Emanuel Patrascu, district representative for Assemblyman Travis Allen.

Tony's Take
This Orange County district is safely Republican, although were a Democrat to run in the top-two primary it is possible a Democrat could make the fall runoff. With none on the horizon, a runoff between two of the four Republicans is likely. There is no apparent leader among the GOP candidates at this time.

2nd District
Democrat Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa is not seeking another term, giving an opening to a host of up-and-comers from this district that spans the Northern California coastline. But education consultant Chris Lehman suspended his campaign and threw his support to Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire. Novato City Councilman Eric Lucan also dropped out and endorsed McGuire. The only other candidate is Republican Lawrence Wiesner, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

Tony' Take
Evans decided to retire, although she could have run for another term. Initially four Democrats planned to run to replace her, but three dropped out, leaving McGuire virtually unopposed. He is a former mayor of Healdsburg, where his family has farmed grapes for a century. Wiesner will provide only token opposition in November in this overwhelmingly Democratic district.

6th District
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento is leaving due to term limits. Democratic Assembly members Roger Dickinson and Richard Pan are running to succeed him. Steinberg has already given his early blessing to Dickinson.

Tony' Take
This safe Democratic district that takes in the city of Sacramento will almost certainly see a same-party runoff in November between Dickinson and Pan. Dickinson is a former county supervisor who had run two previously unsuccessful campaigns for the Assembly. He now represents the Assembly district covering the northern half of the Senate district. Pan was elected to a suburban Assembly district in 2010 but was forced to move into the vacant district covering Southern Sacramento County to run for re-election in 2012. This will be a big-money race, with Dickinson looking for labor support and Pan, a pediatrician, looking for support from medical groups. This district is just under 50 percent Democratic in registration, so how the non-Democrats break in November will probably decide the winner of this contest.

10th District
Democrat Ellen Corbett of Hayward is running for Congress. Two well-known current and former lawmakers may seek to take her place in the Senate. They are former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, who lost a supervisorial bid in Alameda County after being convicted of shoplifting, and Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont. Democrat Roman Reed of the Fremont Planning Commission and Republican insurance agent Peter Kuo also may run. Wieckowski is in line to get the party's support.

Tony's Take
This is such a heavily Democratic district that a same-party runoff in November is all but assured. Wieckowski would seem to have the edge due to Hayashi's legal problems that cost her a seat on the Alameda Board of Supervisors. Reed is a member of the Fremont Planning Commission, but it will be hard for him to make the runoff against two well-known legislators.

12th District
Republican Anthony Cannella of Ceres represents a Democratic district and will try to retain it. Democrat Thomas Hallinan, the city attorney of Patterson, is the first challenger to get into the race.

Tony's Take
Cannella was elected to the heavily Democratic district in 2010, in part because he was the son of a former Democratic assemblyman and his opponent was from Monterey County while he was from the Central Valley where most of the population lives. Given the nature of his district, he has played the bipartisan card while in Sacramento. He is probably most vulnerable to a strong Democratic landside with Gov. Jerry Brown at the head of the ticket. But Central Valley voters still know how to split their votes, and Senate Democrats will need to put lots of money behind Hallinan to make him credible.

14th District
Republican Andy Vidak of Hanford scored a surprise win in a special election after Democratic state Sen. Michael Rubio left to take a job with Chevron. Vidak's early opponents are Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle and Luis Chavez, a school board trustee at Fresno Unified. Both are Democrats.

Tony's Take
Vidak's special election win was not quite the shock some people have described it as. He had run a very close race for Congress in the overlapping congressional district in 2010, and that district now has a Republican incumbent. Chavez and Valle will fight to see who gets into the runoff. Chavez has a good base in voter-rich Fresno and Valle comes from Vidak's home county. The district is 53 percent Latino by voter registration, and President Barack Obama carried it by 18 points. Vidak will need some Latino votes to win in November. Like Cannella, his greatest threat is a straight-ticket Latino vote for all Democratic candidates.

18th District
Former Democratic Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg is staging a comeback in a newly drawn district in the San Fernando Valley.

Tony's Take
When they saw the final Senate maps, some Latino activists called on the Citizens Redistricting Commission to reject them as they posed the risk of an actual loss of Latino seats. This will now come to fruition in this safe Democratic district that termed out Sen. Alex Padilla is giving up due to term limits. Hertzberg, who has the support of every major Democrat, will be the next Senator here, and the question is how long he waits before making a move to become Senate President Pro Tem.

28th District
This safe GOP seat pits former Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia against Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone and Indio Councilman Glenn Miller. The Senate GOP backs Garcia, who would help diversify caucus ranks. Attorney Philip Drucker of the Coachella Valley is the Democrat.

Tony's Take
Garcia, who was once famously called a "Hot Latina" by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the clear favorite of the GOP legislative establishment, in part because Stone ran against Sen. Joel Anderson in 2010. But the demographics of the district favor Stone. Most of the voters reside in the western part of the district, including the cities of Murrieta and Temecula that Stone represents. Miller, the third candidate, is from Indio so he and Garcia will split the eastern Riverside vote in this sprawling district. However, the Democrat does not seem strong enough to make the runoff in this safe Republican district, and a top-two runoff between two of the three Republicans is possible.

32nd District
Democrat Ron Calderon is leaving due to term limits. The seat could come open before if the federal investigation into the incumbent comes to fruition. Former Democratic Assemblyman Tony Mendoza and former Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Havice are running for the seat, as is Republican Downey Councilmember Mario Guerra.

Tony's Take
Former Assemblyman Tom Calderon was going to run for this district until the Calderon scandal broke. The Democratic leadership is strongly behind Mendoza, and he looks like a sure winner of one of the runoff slots. Republicans are backing Guerra, a Cuban American, but as Mitt Romney lost this district by 30 points, it is hard to see a Republican being competitive here. Mendoza is the likely winner in November.

34th District
Democrat Lou Correa is leaving, and Republicans want his seat. Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, a Republican, is in. Former Democratic Assemblyman Jose Solorio will try to keep the seat in the Democratic column.

Tony's Take
The Citizens Redistricting Commission received extensive testimony urging it not to combine the heavily Latino Santa Ana area with the Asian and Vietnamese coastal area, so what did the commission do? It combined them into this Senate district. In so doing, it created a marginal seat and both parties will pour millions into this race that will surely go to the November runoff. Nguyen is somewhat controversial and there are some divisions in the Vietnamese community, Solario had had some problems with labor in his Assembly district. But this will be a barn-burner in the fall.

36th District
This is a safe GOP seat that sets up a potential Orange-San Diego county showdown between former Assemblyman Martin Garrick and Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates. The real test here is whether Garrick gives it a go or not.

Tony's Take
This safe Republican seat is all-but-certain to have a November runoff. Although Garrick is a former assemblyman, the GOP leadership, including Sen. Bob Huff, is supporting Bates, currently a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and a former assemblywoman. Garrick is from San Diego County while Bates is from Orange County that has 58 percent of the district's voters. That may give Bates an edge in the fall.

See something amiss or just missing? Contact reporter Christopher Cadelago. Email or call (916) 326-5538.