By Dennis Albiani, FBA Legislative Advocate

As the final votes are tallied in California, more races get called for the Democrat challengers taking down the few moderate Republicans that remained in California.  The tight race for California Senate District 34 took a shift on Monday when Democrat Tom Umberg pulled ahead of Republican incumbent, state Sen. Janet Nguyen.

Umberg, a retired U.S. Army colonel and previous assemblyman, was leading for the first time since Election Day with 50.09 percent of the votes to Nguyen’s 49.91 percent, according to data released Monday by voting officials. Umberg had 126,824 votes and Nguyen had 126,386 votes, reversing a lead held by Nguyen since the Nov. 6 election.

It’s unclear how many ballots are left to be counted in the district. There are a total of 91,338 ballots left to be tallied in Orange County and an estimated 422,600 left in Los Angeles County.

“What’s interesting is how much it shifted from a safe Nguyen victory to a potential Umberg win,” Mitchell said.  If Nguyen loses, “she could be a casualty of national reaction to Trump,” Mitchell added. “She has an ‘R’ next to her name, and that could (make the) difference.”

Another Orange County incumbent trailing in his bid for re-election was Assemblyman Matthew Harper, a Republican from Huntington Beach. Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris was leading late Monday with 96,238 votes, or 52.5 percent of the ballots counted, to Harper’s 87,082 votes, or 47.5 percent.

The state Senate 34th District includes Little Saigon and parts or all of Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and other north Orange County communities, as well as a portion of Long Beach.  Nguyen, 42, is viewed as a moderate Republican. She has served on the Garden Grove City Council, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and more recently the state Senate, where in 2014 she became the first Vietnamese-American elected to the office and the country’s first Vietnamese-American woman state legislator.

In the Bay Area, the last remaining Republican office holder, Assembly Member Catherine Baker, conceded her race to Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan.  Bauer-Kahan is an environmental attorney and community activist. Baker’s defeat means the Bay Area no longer has any Republican representatives in the state Legislature.

A victory for Bauer-Kahan had been considered a longshot, because Baker is a moderate Republican and had won the endorsements of the region’s daily newspapers. But Bauer-Kahan, a progressive, benefited from the Democratic blue wave this election cycle — and from strong voter turnout in the East Bay.

The sprawling 16th District runs from Lafayette and Orinda to Livermore. As of Nov. 16, Bauer-Kahan was leading Baker by about 2,500 votes, 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent.

Governor-Elect Newsom announces ‘ambassadors’ for “All In California” transition

Governor-Elect Newsom announced an inclusive “All In California” transition program intended to provide opportunities for all Californians to participate in state government. Part of that program is to enlist “ambassadors” from diverse backgrounds and locations to assist identify qualified candidates from across California wanting to serve. Upon announcing the list of appointees, Newsom said, “These respected leaders will help me as I search for innovative ideas and talent across this state.”

Newsom said his goal in creating the advisory group is to “create an inclusive, people-powered transition that reflects the diversity and values” of California.

According to a November 16 release from the Governor-elect, leaders who have agreed to be “All in California” ambassadors include:

  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed
  • San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (Ret.)
  • State Senate President pro Tempore John Burton (Ret.)
  • Laphonza Butler, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • California State Treasurer John Chiang
  • California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin (Ret.)
  • California State Controller Betty Yee
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia
  • Alice Huffman, California NAACP President
  • State Senator Christine Kehoe (Ret.)
  • Monica Lozano, former chair, U.S. Hispanic Media, Inc.
  • Congressman George Miller (Ret.)
  • California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
  • Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer and CEO, California Labor Federation
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis
  • Environmental activist Tom Steyer
  • Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin (Ret.)
  • Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Ret.)
  • CalChamber President Allan Zaremberg

Governor-elect Newsom will be sworn in on Monday, January 7.

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