Democrats in the California Legislature are hoping to clinch a supermajority in this fall’s election by picking up two more seats in the Assembly and one in the Senate. They’re targeting several Republican-held districts around the state.
The 16th Assembly district spans some of the Bay Area’s more affluent eastern suburbs like Orinda and Pleasanton. While Democrats outnumber Republicans, the district also has more than 60,000 voters registered without party preference.
Catharine Baker, the GOP incumbent, says she can attract moderates, thanks to her votes backing gun control and climate change.
"You know, I won my primary with a significant number of not just Republicans but Democrats and Independents voting for me," says Baker.
The Democratic Challenger, Cheryl Cook-Kallio, is a former Pleasanton city councilmember. She wants to convince voters that Baker hasn’t done enough on those issues, or on women’s healthcare.
"I’ve heard people as I go door-to-door, complain about this anemic way of dealing with legislation that’s important to the voters of this Assembly district," says Cook-Kallio.
Democrats see this race, along with several in Southern California, as part of a push to secure a supermajority.
Scott Lay, who tracks California legislative races, says those odds look better in the Assembly than in the Senate.
"The Assembly is much more likely to be a supermajority," says Lay. "The Senate is more difficult because they have two seats that Democrats are defending. That’s really tough."
However Lay says a supermajority is somewhat overrated now, since it’s no longer needed to pass a state budget.