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Top California State Assembly Races to Watch

by Lucy Ma, published


Earlier this week, the Independent Voter Network profiled four California State Senate races that should be on every Independent voter’s elections watch list.

The races surrounding the 80 State Assembly seats up for grabs this year in California promise to be equally exciting. Under the newly drawn district lines, 35 of these seats are currently open with no sitting incumbent.

The top two vote-getters on June 5th, regardless of party, will advance to a runoff in November. Due to California’s political makeup, there are several districts where Decline to State voters will help candidates pave the path to victory in the state’s first ever “open primary”.

Here is a rundown of four California State Assembly races where the Independent vote will be decisive:

State Assembly District 8:

This newly drawn Sacramento County seat will be a key battleground between Democrats and Republicans this election cycle. Six candidates are vying for the vote: four Republicans (Barbara Ortega, Phillip Tufi, John Flynn and Peter Tateishi), Democrat Ken Cooley, and Libertarian Janice Bonser. The difference in voter registration numbers between Democrats and Republicans are minimal at just under one percentage point- which makes the nearly 18% that have registered as “No Party Preference” or “Other” crucial to this race.

State Assembly District 28:

Democratic Assemblyman Paul Fong will be facing challenger Chad Walsh, a “No Party Preference” candidate and Community College Trustee. Voter registration numbers in this redrawn Santa Clara district put Democrats at a decided double-digit advantage over Republicans. However, over 27% of those registered to vote in the June 5th primary have declared “No Party Preference” or “Other”- a key factor in this race.

State Assembly District 57:

In AD 57, there are two Democrats and one Republican candidate on the ballot for this June. Democrat Ian Calderon (son of Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon) will be facing off against fellow Democrat and former Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez, as well as Republican businessman Noel Jaimes. Voter registration numbers favor Democrats over Republicans at 47.70% to 28.35% respectively. Voters that have registered under “No Party Preference” or “Other” makeup over 21% of the electorate- an important bloc for all three candidates going into the primary.

State Assembly District 77:

This is a four way contest between Democrat Ruben Hernandez, Republican Brian Maienschein, Republican Dustin Steiner, and No Party Preference candidate Greg Laskaris. Republicans have just under a nine point voter registration advantage over Democrats in the district- while Independent voters makeup nearly 27% of the electorate. Those registered as “No Party Preference” or “Other” are sure to be a primary focus for those hoping to make it through to the November runoff.


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