On the one hand, there’s nothing to pay attention to. The big fall question isn’t who has the majority in the state senate but whether Democrats regain their super majority. The three likely competitive races, SD-12, 14, and 34 don’t have competitive primaries. So you’ll just watch those for vote share. So if that’s all you’re interested in, read no further.There are four non-competitive seats that have a lot of drama. And I’m not talking about the indictments. None of those senators are up for re-election.
SD-6: Democratic assemblymen Richard Pan and Roger Dickinson are facing off in this solid blue seat. Pan is the union Democrat while Dickinson is allegedly the more moderate one. That hasn't stopped Dickinson from linking Pan to the [evil] Koch brothers. Republicans are pushing Jonathan Zachariou, but the presence of Republican James Axelgard on the ballot means I’m picking the two Democrats for November. The fun will continue for another five months.
SD-10: This one is even uglier. Bob Wieckowski is an underdog to Obamacare advocate Mary Hayashi in this deep blue district. But there’s been a lot of mudslinging, with Wieckowski tying her 2010 shoplifting conviction to Leland Yee’s gun running. Republican Peter Kuo is likely to finish second, although both Democrats could advance. My pick for first is Hayashi. This is a very Asian district and she dwarfs Wieckowski’s fundraising.
SD-26: There are no Republicans in this race, but there are 7 Democrats and an NPP. Some dude/law professor Seth Stodder will show if not having Democrat next to his name is enough to take Republican votes and make Top Two. I think it is. This district is similar to CA-33, but about 4 points more Democratic. So the question is how far to the left do you have to be to win? I think second place goes to Ben Allen, a Santa Monica-Malibu School Board Member, but surgeon Vito Imbasciani, former assemblywoman Betsy Butler, and Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth also figure to be in the mix. Did I forget Rush Limbaught's favorite Sandra Fluke? I did, because I think she’ll finish way back. That’s a shame, because she’s so entertaining.
SD-28: Just so you know, the Democrats don’t have the market cornered on mud-slinging. Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone is throwing everything he has at former assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia. And she's throwing back. There are two Democrats in this race, and two other Republicans. I expect Garcia to finish first, but I think Stone edges the two Democrats and this continues to November.
Democrats have a super majority in the assembly, 55-25, so once again the big question is whether they’ll retain that or drop to 51-53 seats. That’ll be decided in November. There really isn’t a danger of one of the parties being shut out of a competitive seat in Top Two. So you don’t need to read any further unless you want to read about interparty drama.
AD-4 – This is a safe Democratic seat, but there are three Democrats and two Republicans. Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd should face a some dude Republican, but Dan Wolk, state senator Lois Wolk’s son, and Davis mayor Joe Krovoza are formidable opponents.
AD-9 – This is a district just blue enough to be safe for Democrats, but there are three Democrats in the race and two Republicans. I expect Democrat Darrell Fong to advance, although his November opponent could be fellow Democrat Jim Cooper or one of the Republicans. If school board trustee Diana Rodriguez-Suruki were a more serious candidate the two Republicans could be Top Two. My pick for second is Republican Manuel Martin.
AD-16 – This Tri-Valley district is light blue, but Democrat Joan Buchanan won 59%-41% in 2012. The seat is open, however, so Republican Catharine Baker could have a shot to win in November. She will go there. The question is against whom. Dublin mayor Tim Sbranti is a favorite of progressives and has had a ton of outside union money supporting him. Former Jerry Brown aide Steve Glazer has talked about reducing the power of the BART union and is hated by the left. So bold progressive or “business Democrat?” Maybe I’m just a cynical Republican, but bold progressives usually lose. Glazer is second.
AD-21 – Carly Fiorina won here in 2010, so it was a disappointment that no Republican filed. The Republican who lost in 2012, Jack Mobley, qualified as a write-in. So he’ll get 1% of the vote in June and have a shot in November.
AD-33 – This is Tim Donnelly’s seat and there are 9 Republicans running for it. If there were more than one Democrat in the mix, the GOP might get shut out. As it is, Democrat John Coffey should face Big Bear Lake mayor Jay Obernolte in November.
AD-36 – The most surprising 2012 win for Democrats was this Antelope Valley district. In 2010, no Democrat running statewide won this district. Even the ones that won by 20 points. If Republicans don’t win this district they won’t win any Democratic held districts, and will keep losing districts in every election for the foreseeable future. Republicans have three candidates running to take on Democrat Steve Fox. My pick is educator Suzette Martinez.
AD-40 – None of the Democrats have filed campaign finance reports, so who faces Republican Marc Steinorth is just a guess. I’ll guess educator Melissa O'Donnell.
AD-44 - Democrat Jacqui Irwin will go up against either of the Republicans, businessman Mario de la Piedra or pastor Rob McCoy. De la Piedra has a lot of Charlie Munger independent expenditure money behind him because the Republican establishment is afraid McCoy is too far to the right to hold a district Barack Obama won. I’ll pick de la Piedra for second.
AD-60 – Republican Eric Linder was initially unopposed in this Barack Obama district. Two Democrats and a Libertarian qualified as write-ins however. They’ll each get a handful of votes. If it’ll be a Democrat who advances is up to how hard the Democratic party pushes their candidates to voters. I think they will and Oliver Unaka finishes second.
AD-62 – This Inglewood seat is being fiercely contested by Democrats. Two, Autumn Burke and Simona Farrise, figure to advance.
AD-73 – This safely red Dana Point seat has only one Democrat running, Wendy Gabriella. So she’ll finish first. There were four Republicans in the race, including three serious candidates. Paul Glaab ended his campaign Friday due to health issues. He endorsed Anna Bryson. She was and is my pick for 2nd narrowly over Jesse Petrilla.
AD-74 – Similar to the neighboring AD-73 this is a heavily Republican district with multiple Republicans running. My picks are Republican Keith Curry and Democrat Karina Onofre.