Capitol Alert

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California Democrats are on track to secure a supermajority in both houses of the Legislature for the first time in more than a century.

But the domino effect of the balloting in other races raise questions about when -- and for how long -- Democrats would have a legislative supermajority.

Sens. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Chino, and Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, both won elections to Congress last night, meaning two districts now held by Democrats will be vacated until special elections can be held.

Democrats have a 20-point registration advantage in both the soon-to-be open seats -- the pre-redistricting 32nd Senate District and the 40th Senate District. But the timing of when those special elections occur depends on when the incumbent senators step down from their current seats, which weren't set to be up for grabs in 2014.

An immediate resignation could spark a special primary election as soon as early January. But because the Legislature returns in December, before members of the U.S. House of Representatives are sworn in, both could stick around for the start of the new session in Sacramento. Representatives for both senators were not immediately available for comment on their plans.

If a Democrat from the lower house decides to seek one of those open seats, which could be the case if Assemblyman Ben Hueso runs to replace Vargas, for example, Assembly Democrats could find themselves down one seat for a spell early next year as well.

Where Democrats stand will depend on the outcome of some races too close to call for sure today, as they could emerge with a several-seat cushion. But there are other scenarios that could at the very least stall Democrats' two-house supermajority hopes in the first months of session. Democratic Sen. Curren Price, for example, could give up his seat if he wins his bid for a Los Angeles city council seat in the spring.



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