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WECA Political Update June 23, 2022Thursday, June 23, 2022
US Supreme Court Overrules Key Holding of Iskanian Regarding Arbitrability of PAGA Claims

Key Points
  • On June 15, 2022, in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a California state law rule holding that PAGA claims cannot be compelled to individual arbitration. Instead, PAGA permits private plaintiffs to sue their employers on behalf of the state of California and collect civil penalties for Labor Code violations committed against themselves and other aggrieved employees.
  • Explaining that PAGA allows aggregation of the named plaintiff’s claims and the claims of other employees, Viking River Cruises distinguished between the “individual” and “non-individual” claims brought in a PAGA action. Accordingly, it held that the “individual” claim might be compelled to arbitration but left in place the state law rule against forced arbitration of the “non-individual” claims.
  • The Court also held that under its reading of state law, the “non-individual” claims could not proceed in Court if the individual claims have been compelled to arbitration. Concurring opinions regarding the majority’s application of state law and the potential for legislative responses suggest that litigation over arbitration issues in PAGA cases may continue.
You can read the opinion here: 20-1573 Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (06/15/2022)

And because the left-hand doesn’t know what the right decided…
CA Appellate Court Rejects Uber’s Arbitration Agreement for PAGA Claims
 A California appellate court has upheld the decision of a trial court to deny Uber’s petition to compel arbitration in a case involving the worker misclassification of a former Uber Eats driver. According to the Court, an agreement that the driver signed waiving the right to bring a claim under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) is unenforceable since such claims belong to the state, not the individual. Story

Newly elected Assembly Member Isaac Bryan is the author of AB 2419 to invest 40 percent of IIJA funding to low-income, Indigenous, and rural communities and communities of color, and union construction unions, who, despite their prevailing wages, are, obviously, part of the disadvantaged and low-income communities by requiring that to receive IIJA funds, any project costing more than five million dollars must be carried out under a project labor agreement that includes provisions to encourage apprenticeship training and the hiring of disadvantaged workers. WECA was the lone opponent when it was approved in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, chaired by Senator Stern (a co-author), who replied to WECA’s opposition by incorrectly saying (some might call it “fake news”), “The building trades only want prevailing wages and not a PLA."

SB 1020 Clean Energy, Jobs, and Affordability Act of 2022 State Senator John Laird is the author of a bill to establish interim targets for the statewide 100 percent clean energy policy and requires state agencies to accelerate their 100 percent clean energy goal by 15 years. It also establishes a California Affordable Decarbonization Authority as a nonprofit public benefit organization as a mechanism to help fund various electric utility-related programs and activities. It requires each state agency, except the State Water Resources Development System (State Water Project), to ensure that zero-carbon resources and eligible renewable energy resources supply 100 percent of electricity procured on its behalf by December 31, 2030, by either: installing zero-carbon resources or eligible renewable energy resources on state-owned or state-leased buildings to serve the state agency’s onsite load; or procuring zero-carbon resources or eligible renewable energy resources through the local publicly owned electric utility (POU) or load-serving entity (LSE) providing retail service to the state agency. But, but, but. Because the State Building and Construction Trades Council controls votes, it requires new procurement commitments made on behalf of a state agency by its LSE or POU after June 1, 2022, to be constructed with contractors using multicraft project labor agreements. The bill passed its muster in the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy chaired by Eduardo Garcia (who is very close with the trades). It passed party line with Chad Mayes (I) joining his demo colleagues. WECA was the lone opponent to the mandatory PLA language.

Because the war in Ukraine isn’t F’d up enough, now the lobbyists are involved (and not in the war zone) SCM Consulting Limited, an affiliate of the company that owns the steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, that became the site of a standoff between Russian and Ukrainian militaries in a battle for control of the strategic port city, has hired Qorvis on a $60,000-per-month contract (!) to provide public relations services, according to documents filed recently with the DOJ. Qorvis will highlight the “operations and humanitarian efforts” of the steel plant’s parent company, System Capital Management, which reportedly employs more than 200,000 people, and its owner, Rinat Akhmetov. Akhmetov, who the filings say has “held an important role in political parties in Ukraine,” is the country’s richest man. He told Ukrainian media that he planned to sue Russia for as much as $20 billion in damages to his steel plants. Qorvis will work to win the company-earned media coverage and “assist with securing media interviews and proactive media engagement regarding events and projects as requested by the client,” according to the filings. SCM’s Azovstal steel plant was one of Ukraine’s last holdouts in Mariupol, with hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who had been “holed up in the facility for weeks under an intense Russian assault” finally evacuating the plant earlier this month, The Washington Post reported, calling the showdown “a desperate symbol of Ukrainians’ will to fight and die for their land, a key factor in Ukraine’s military successes against Russia’s larger, more powerful army.”

Hardball Diplomacy (The best kind). People close to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti reportedly privately pressured Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly to support Garcetti’s ambassadorial nomination, according to a story in POLITICO. As part of the push, they left the strong impression that the Arizona Democrat could be cut off from donor networks should he refuse to back the beleaguered nominee to be U.S. ambassador to India. The outreach infuriated Kelly, who vented to associates that he felt like he was being strong-armed over his refusal to relent on Garcetti’s nomination, two of the people with direct knowledge said. Kelly, up for reelection this year, is a top Senate fundraiser and frequently draws from Southern California as part of his campaign’s national reach. One person familiar with the advocacy said they were surprised that allies in Garcetti’s orbit believed Kelly, a retired astronaut (and fighter pilot) who prides himself on his independent streak, could be swayed by appeals from significant donors and luminaries. The person added that they believed the appeals were part of a coordinated campaign involving several Garcetti supporters. “These kinds of tactics backfire,” a second person familiar with the effort told POLITICO. “It’s hard to believe Garcetti didn’t have knowledge or didn’t push for these donors to call.”

IRS Raises Standard Mileage Rate for July to December 2022 On June 9, 2022, the Internal Revenue Service issued Announcement 2022-13, increasing the optional standard mileage rate for the final six months of 2022 from 58.5 cents per mile to 62.5 cents per mile. The new rate will be effective for travel from July 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022. The old rate of 58.5 cents per mile will remain effective through June 30, 2022. Learn more

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry inks agreement with Israeli counterpart Arizona’s business advocacy organization signed a deal with Israel’s leading business group to collaborate on areas of shared interest. The signing between the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce was part of an Arizona delegation to Israel last week led by Gov. Doug Ducey. Story

Inflation costs you… according to NBC’s Charlie Herman, an American household now has to pay an additional $460 monthly to buy the same things they did a year ago. So how many families have an extra McKinley lying around? (Yes, there is (was) a $500 bill).

November State Ballot Four ballot measures have already qualified, with another six awaiting confirmation they’ve secured enough signatures by the June 30 deadline. But a few high-profile issues have recently cropped up in the Legislature and could show up in November, along with a deal that could remove one proposition — if they clear both houses by the end of the month.

Abortion: Legislative leaders had said they were considering enshrining the right to an abortion before POLITICO published the early draft majority opinion by the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade. (Yeah, right). But the revelation put that action into high gear, prompting Sen. Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) to introduce SCA 10, which would protect the right to abortion as well as contraception. An easy path to the ballot is anticipated, considering the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature and how swiftly SCA 10 cleared three Senate committees last week. On Monday, the bill cleared the Senate and now moves on to the Assembly.

Involuntary servitude: Another proposed state constitutional amendment is in play: ACA3, introduced last year by Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), would ban involuntary servitude in California. The bill cleared the Assembly months ago and proposed an amendment to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude “except to punish crime.” Depending on how that is defined, it could increase pay for inmate labor. It now faces a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Kamlager is on the fast track to higher office. In 2010 Kamlager worked on the campaign to elect Holly Mitchell to the California State Assembly, becoming District Director after Mitchell's victory. In 2015 she won a seat on the Los Angeles Community College Board. After Sebastian Ridley-Thomas announced his resignation from the State Assembly on December 27, 2017, Kamlager entered the race to serve the remainder of his term. She won the April 3, 2018, special election to represent California's 54th State Assembly district. Then on November 10, 2020, Kamlager announced that she would be a candidate for the California State Senate to succeed her former boss Holly Mitchell, who was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. On March 2, 2021, Kamlager was elected to the California State Senate with a 67.67 percent vote. Then, she became a candidate to replace Karen Bass, following her mayoral bid, for California's 37th congressional district. Whew, four races in seven years.

Plastics: Voters are slated to decide on a November plastics proposition that would ban Styrofoam, place a fee on single-use plastics, and start the clock on making these products compostable and recyclable by 2030. But that measure could be replaced by a deal in the form of SB54 by Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), which legislative leaders and environmental groups say doesn’t go far enough. Atkins, Rendon, and other opponents have described the timeline to negotiate the bill and get it passed and signed by the governor by June 30 as “impossibly short."

Dan Walters covered a couple of other measures we’ll see (maybe) in November:

With the scarcity of drama in statewide office campaigns, the November election’s major focus will be on ballot measures, topped by a high-dollar duel over who, if anyone, will control gambling on sports events.

Tribes that now dominate casino gambling in the state are divided over whether to pursue a tribal measure to limit sports wagering to their casinos, which has already qualified for the ballot or concentrate resources on defeating a rival measure proposed by a coalition of online gambling companies.

Tribes committed to an opposition strategy are already broadcasting and streaming ads aimed at the online betting measure, alleging that it will cause gambling addiction. The opposition coalition plans to place its online measure on the 2024 ballot if it can defeat the corporate proposal.

However, sports wagering is not the only issue facing voters. Others likely to make the ballot include two measures that would raise income taxes on high-income Californians, one for pandemic preparedness, and the other to subsidize electric vehicle purchases.

Lyft, a major rideshare corporation, primarily sponsors the latter. It has been criticized as a corporate effort to make taxpayers underwrite a state requirement that Lyft and other companies, such as Uber, electrify their fleets.

Other pending initiatives would guarantee state funding for arts and music in the schools, reduce single-use plastic packaging and impose new staffing requirements on dialysis clinics. Previous union-backed dialysis measures have failed.

A measure to raise the state’s minimum wage to $18 per hour, sponsored by wealthy Los Angeles investor Joe Sanberg, might make the ballot, but only if it meets the signature requirements by the June 30 deadline.

Finally, a referendum would overturn a state ban on flavored tobacco products— the latest example of corporate interests turning to the ballot to escape new regulations imposed by the Legislature.

The initiative and referendum processes were brought to California more than a century ago as a way for voters to assert their will over a Legislature then dominated by corporate interests. However, they have largely evolved — or devolved — into ways for corporate and other special interests to have their way, as this year’s crop of ballot measures proves anew.
WECA Political Update, 6-9-22: Special Election Edition of Preliminary ResultsThursday, June 09, 2022
Special Election Edition of Preliminary Results

We’ll focus this edition exclusively on this week’s preliminary election results. I didn’t cover all 152 district races – but more interesting ones.

State election results are updated as often as county elections offices submit new data. Ballots continue to be counted after election day during the canvass period; county elections officials must report the final official results to the Secretary of State by July 8, 2022. The Secretary of State will certify the results on July 15, 2022.

As of Wednesday morning, 3.5 million votes have been counted, which equates to a turnout of 16%. With the caveat that there are still many more votes to count, it seems safe to say that turnout in yesterday's primary will not be a shining example of citizen civic engagement. Several explanations are circulating, including a lack of statewide ballot measures.

The June top-two primary is when California voters choose their two favorites for governor and other constitutional offices. Ditto for each of the 80 Assembly districts, 20 state Senate races, and 52 congressional districts where 160, 40, and 104 candidates will emerge after all the ballots are counted.

In some races, this is the election that counts. There will be overwhelmingly blue or decisively red districts where only one member of the dominant party will secure one of the two spots for November, ensuring their victory. But in others, the contests will create Democrat versus Democrat battles or, to a lesser extent, Republican versus Republican fights.

Governor Gov. Gavin Newsom is poised for reelection after crushing a crowded field of scarcely known challengers in California’s statewide primary. He will face off against Northern California Republican State Senator Brian Dahle.

Newsom’s dominance comes nine months after he prevailed in a recall attempt. The one-two punch showed just how formidable he remains in California politics even after a first term in which he was tested by the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic, six of the largest wildfires in state history, and an ever-worsening homelessness crisis. Moreover, many believe he will be poised to engage in a presidential run in 2024 if the Biden/Harris administration continues to suffer from low approval ratings.

U.S. Senate Two primaries for United States Senate were on the California ballot on Tuesday. Sen. Alex Padilla and Republican attorney Mark Meuser both won and advanced to the November elections. Padilla, a Democrat, had to run in both a special and general election to keep the seat through January 2029. The special election is for the last two months of the current term; the general election is for a full, six-year term that starts in January 2023.

Attorney General Incumbent Rob Bonta will beat Nathan Hochman or Eric Early in November. As the Sacramento Bee’s Editorial Board explains: “It didn’t matter that [NPP Anne-Marie] Schubert had more relevant experience and greater credibility than her Republican opponents to serve as California’s attorney general. Her support from law enforcement leaders, unions, and crime victims wasn’t enough. Her office’s prosecution of the Golden State Killer case, her lawsuit against the state over the early release of inmates, her leadership on the unemployment fraud task force — the first wave of primary results made it clear that not identifying as a Republican was an obstacle she struggled to overcome.”

Controller “Lanhee Chen is either the great Republican hope to win statewide in California, or he's 'fool's gold,'” said Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle: “State controller candidate Lanhee Chen is giving Republicans hope that he can do something the GOP hasn’t done since 2006: win statewide office in California.” He will face Malia M. Cohen, one of four Democrats in this race.

Treasurer Numerous allegations of sexual and financial impropriety didn’t keep voters from overwhelmingly picking Fiona Ma for a second term. The race for second is close.

Insurance Commissioner Accepting campaign contributions from the insurance industry he regulates didn’t seem to bother voters who gave incumbent Ricardo Lara 37% of the vote in a crowded race. Despite numerous endorsements by newspapers statewide (you remember those, right?) Democrat Marc Levine is ending up out of the mix; Lara will beat whichever Republican finishes second.

Northern California

Sacramento Supervisor The race to replace left-moderate Don Nottoli pitted two former Elk Grove Councilmen against a labor-backed local district board member. While votes are still being counted, it looks like right center Pat Hume will face far-left, PLA-loving Jacklyn Moreno in November. Hume - 8, 388, 41.9%; Moreno - 6,095, 30.8%; Steve Ly - 3,808; 19.2% and Alex Joe - 1,562, 9.9%. The big question is, where will Ly and Joe's voters go in November?

Contra Costa County BART Board member and former ABC Northern California chair Deborah Allen is in second place, but only by 389 votes, a very tight margin that could change in the coming days.

AD 10 (Open, D-Cooper) - Democrat Stephanie Nguyen, an Elk Grove city councilmember, is comfortably ahead in the top spot, with Sacramento city councilmember Eric Guerra running 50 votes ahead of Republican Eric Rigard. Supporters of Guerra had spent money boosting Rigard to block Nguyen from the top two, although that move may very well backfire once all the votes are in.

AD 27 (Open, D-Gray) - Democrat Esmeralda Soria, a Fresno city councilmember, and Republican Mark Pazin, the former Merced County Sheriff, will advance to a November runoff. Democratic candidates combine for 51.6% of the vote, portending a potentially competitive race in November.

AD 30 (Open, R-Cunningham) - Democrat Dawn Addis, a Morro Bay city councilmember who received independent expenditure support from the California Farm Bureau, charter school advocates, and the correctional officer’s union, advances to a runoff with perennial, Republican Vicki Nohrden. Addis is not expected to face a competitive challenge.

CD 03 (NEW, Placer/Sacramento) - Democrat Kermit Jones leads with 39.4%, with Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley in second with 36.5%. The Republican candidates are currently leading the Democratic candidates 53.5% to 46.5% in a race where Republicans are favored in November.

CD 09 (D-Harder) - Incumbent Josh Harder leads with 36.5%, and Republican San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti is in second with 28.9%. The Republican candidates are at 49.54%, and the Democrats are at 49.49%.

CD 13 (NEW, Central Valley) - Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray appears poised to advance to a runoff with farmer/businessman Republican John Duarte. Gray leads with 33.2% to Duarte's 30.8%. The Democratic candidates are at a combined 52.2% to the GOP candidates' 47.8% in a Biden 11% district that is certain to be a top target in November.

CD 21 (D-Costa) - Incumbent Democrat Jim Costa easily beat back a challenge from progressive Democrat Eric Garcia, receiving 50.5% of the vote and advancing to November with Republican Micahel Maher, who received 23.7%.

Old CD 22 (R-Nunes) Connie Conway, a former GOP state assemblymember, won the special election for the U.S. House of Representatives seat vacated by Devin Nunes. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, once she’s sworn into office, a record 146 women will be serving in Congress, making up a little more than 27% of the body. But she’ll only have about six months in office: in 2023, Nunes’ seat will cease to exist in its current form due to redistricting.

CD 22 (R-Valadao) - Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas leads incumbent Republican David Valadao 47.1% to 25.7% in the current returns, with two pro-Trump Republicans splitting the rest of the GOP vote. Fewer than 20,000 votes have been counted at this stage, though the GOP candidates are still combining for 52.9% in this Biden 13% district. Valadao's primary campaign faced a last-minute dose of chaos when Super PACs aligned with Speaker Nancy Pelosi pumped six-figure sums to promote former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys as a preferable option for GOP voters, despite being perceived as a weaker candidate against Salas in the fall.

SD 04 (Open, R-Borgeas) – In yet another example of a Republican circular firing squad, two weak Democratic candidates evenly divided the minority of the vote while the six Republicans battled it out for the other 56% of the vote – thus locking themselves out of the November ballot – that a Republican should have won! Labor leader Tim Robertson leads with 23.4%, Democrat Marie Alvarado-Gil, whose campaign spent nothing, is taking 20.1%, and Republicans George Radanovich, Steven Bailey, and Jeff McKay are evenly splitting the vote for third, receiving 17%, 14.93%, and 14.89%, respectively. One more lost Republican seat – great move, guys!

SD 06 (Open, R-Nielsen) - Former GOP Assemblyman Roger Niello took the number two spot over Republican physician Michael Huang. Paula Villescaz, the only Democrat on the ballot, received 46%. The race is expected to be competitive, albeit Republican-leaning.

SD 08 (Open, D-Pan) - Democrat Dave Jones leads Angelique Ashby 45.8%/42.1%. Both will advance to November when the torrent of I.E. spending that defined the primary is expected to flare back up with even more intensity.

SD 16 (D-Hurtado) - Republican David Shepard took the top spot with 42.1% of the vote, while incumbent Democrat Melissa Hurtado easily beat former Assemblymember Nicole Parra and progressive Bryan Osorio. The race is expected to be competitive. The two Republican candidates are currently at 50.3% of the vote, with the three Democrats at 49.7%.

Southern California

LA Mayor Rick Caruso is ahead of Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) by 5.1 points in the Los Angeles mayoral race, though barely a third of the results are in. Caruso held a narrow but widening lead over Bass in partial returns early Wednesday. With more than one-third of the expected votes counted, Caruso was ahead with 42% to Bass’ 37%. Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León was third, far behind the leaders, with progressive activist Gina Viola fourth.

Chula Vista Mayor John McCann, who has always been a friend of the merit shop, came in first in his Chula Vista mayor’s race. First, however, he will face Ammar Campa-Najar, who lost a house seat to Issa in 2020.

Orange County Supervisor D4 Surprisingly, two Democrats made it to the runoff for Orange County Supervisor District 4.

Orange County Supervisor D2 Two Democrats made it to the runoff for Orange County Supervisor District 2. Both candidates come from cities that have recently enacted PLAs.

Orange County Supervisor D5 State Senator Pat Bates will probably face Democrat-labor lawyer Katrina Foley in the November election.

San Bernardino Mayor Merit Shop supporter John Valdivia lost his reelection bid.

Riverside County Supervisor D5 Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt made the top two runoffs with PLA supporter Yxstian Gutierrez, the mayor of Moreno Valley.

AD 34 (R-Lackey / R-Smith) - Tom Lackey holds a narrow lead in the redistricted A.D. 34, currently running 41 votes ahead of Assemblyman Thurston 'Smitty' Smith. Democrat Rita Ramirez-Dean is a close third, 2% behind Smith.

AD 40 (R-Valladeres) - Despite her district shifting sharply to the left, incumbent Republican Suzette Martinez Valladares is currently logging 51% of the vote in this Biden 16% district. Labor-backed Democrat Pilar Schiavo is handily beating third-place 2020 candidate Annie Cho.

AD 47 (Open, NPP-Mayes) - There are warning signs for Republicans looking to hold onto the Riverside/San Bernardino County district being vacated by independent Chad Mayes. Democrat Christy Holstege, a Palm Springs city councilmember, leads Mayes' district director Greg Wallis 50.1% to 30.9%. A second Democrat is receiving another 8% of the vote, while the GOP vote share is currently under 42%.

AD 63 (Open, R-Seyarto) - With Fauzia Rizvi as the only Democrat on the ballot, the race between Republicans Bill Essayli and Clint Lorimore for the second spot remains tight, with Essayli leading Lorimore 29.8% to 27.6%. Whichever Republican advances is expected to prevail in November.

AD 70 (Open, R-Nguyen) - In what was expected to be a somewhat competitive race, the Republican candidates are currently at 61.5% of the vote. However, 2020 candidate and Garden Grove city councilmember Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen is in the top spot with 38.5% of the vote as the only Democrat on the ballot, with Republican Tri Ta, the mayor of Westminster, outpacing the other four GOP candidates on the ballot to take the second spot.

AD 71 (NEW, Orange County/Riverside) - It's a close race in the safely Republican AD 71 in the two-person race, with Temecula mayor Matt Rahn leading former Darrell Issa aide Kate Sanchez 52.2%/47.8%. Both will advance to a same-party GOP runoff.

AD 73 (D-Petrie-Norris / R-Choi) - While the redrawn district remains incredibly hostile territory to Republican candidates, as of this morning, Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris is leading Republican Steven Choi by single digits in a district that voted for Biden by nearly 26%. Choi faces a tough race in November.

AD 74 (R-Davies) - Incumbent Republican Laurie Davies narrowly leads Democrat Chris Duncan, a San Clemente city councilmember, 52.9%/47.1%. The race is almost assured to be a top battleground in November.

AD 75 (R-Waldron / R-Voepel) - The edge in the incumbent-on-incumbent Republican race goes to Marie Waldron, who is crushing Voepel 62.6%/37.4%.

AD 80 (Open, D-Gonzalez) - While progressive Georgette Gomez is leading David Alvarez 35%/32% in the four-way race for the entire term, Alvarez is currently far ahead of Gomez in the two-person runoff for the remainder of Lorena Gonzalez' current term, receiving 56.1% to her 43.9%. The San Diego County Republican Party provided some modest spending in support of Alvarez during the runoff. As with the runoff, Alvarez appears to have much more room to grow in November as the comparatively moderate candidate in the democrat-on-democrat race.

CD 27 (R-Garcia) - Despite losing the conservative Simi Valley portion of his district, Mike Garcia is currently at 49.6%, with two other GOP candidates bumping the Republican vote share to 53.4%. Repeat Democratic candidate Christy Smith easily dispatched newcomer Quaye Quartey for the second spot by a 6% margin. This will be Smith’s third race against Garcia. She gave up a safe Assembly seat to run for Congress. In 2020, Garcia defeated Smith in the general election by 333 votes, making it the third-closest U.S. House race that year. Three independent election forecasters rated the general election as a toss-up.

CD 40 (R-Kim) - Incumbent Republican Young Kim fought off a challenge from her right from serial candidate Greg Raths, outpolling him 34.3% to 24.6%. Physician Asif Mahmood currently receives 39.8% as the only Democratic candidate on the ballot.

CD 41 (R-Calvert) - Incumbent Republican Ken Calvert is currently in first place, with just 43.6% of the vote. Democrat Will Rollins is a lock for the second spot with 35.6%. The two Democratic candidates are currently polling at 50.5% to the GOP candidates' 48.3%, which will no doubt set off alarms at the NRCC.

CD 42 (Open, D-Lowenthal / D-Roybal-Allard) - Democratic Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia is expected to cruise to an easy win in November, with perennial Republican candidate John Briscoe claiming the second spot with 28.7% of the vote and Democratic Assemblymember Cristina Garcia a distant third with 12.7%.

CD 45 (R-Steel) - Incumbent Republican Michelle Steel is leading Democrat Jay Chen 49.3% to 41.2%, with perennial Republican candidate Long Pham claiming another 9.5%. Steel appears to be in a strong position for November.

CD 47 (D-Porter) - Incumbent Democrat Katie Porter will need to dip into her enormous war chest if current trends hold. The second-term Democrat is currently winning a narrow majority of the vote with just under 51%. Former Assembly GOP leader Scott Baugh took the second spot with 30.8% and advances to November.

CD 49 (D-Levin) - Incumbent Democrat Mike Levin will advance to a runoff with third-time Republican candidate Brian Maryott, comfortably leading Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett 18.5% to 10.5% for the second spot.

SD 20 (Open, D-Hertzberg) - While early returns had the race as a same-party Democratic runoff between Bob Hertzberg's adult son (hotel employee Daniel) and Democrat Caroline Menjivar, a former East Valley Area Representative in Los Angeles mayor Garcetti's office, late returns pushed the sole Republican on the ballot, realtor Ely De La Cruz Ayao, into the second spot and he now leads Menjivar 29.5%/24.9%.

SD 36 (NEW, Coastal Orange County) - Republican Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen leads Democratic Huntington Beach city councilmember Kim Carr 56.9%/43.1% and is favored to win in November.

SD 38 (Open, R-Bates) - Republican businessman Matt Gunderson is currently in the top spot with 45.3%, with Democratic Encinitas mayor Catherine Blakespear crushing retired fire captain Joe Kerr 43.9%/10.8% for the second spot. The redrawn district voted for Biden by 16%, and Blakespear is favored in November.

SD 40 (R-Jones) - Incumbent Republican Brian Jones leads Democrat Joe Rocha 53.9%/46.1%. The area is trending blue and should be one of the marquee races in November.
California State Capitol

Merit Shop Advocacy for California

Richard Markuson, WECA Lobbyist

Richard Markuson

"Merit shop electrical contractors throughout California are under pressure from a political system that limits their ability to compete for and win public works contracts. Through our coordinated efforts to further the interests of the merit shop community, we will make doing business in California fair and profitable again."

WECA Government Affairs

Political Advocacy and Government Affairs

WECA is the only organization in California that focuses exclusively on the needs of electrical contractors and their employees. We are proud to represent thousands of electricians and hundreds of contractors. Our members believe that fair and open competition is the key to a robust and growing economy. Our members embrace the idea that political action is not simply prudent, but essential to preserving and enhancing their ability to pursue business opportunities in both the public and private marketplace.

The WECA governmental affairs staff works hard to protect the rights of merit shop business owners and their employees throughout California, but our efforts cannot succeed unless those in the merit shop community get involved.

Routine activities of the GA staff includes:

  • Monitoring all State Legislative and Regulatory proposals for beneficial and detrimental changes
  • Regular interaction with other business and construction groups in California and nationwide
  • Maintenance of a regular presence in Washington DC through membership in the US Chamber of Commerce and trips to Capitol Hill to lobby on Federal initiatives
  • Maintaining close working relationships with other merit shop groups such as CFEC, ABC chapters, AGC, ASCA, and Calpasc
  • Routinely monitors more than 305 local agencies including Cities, Counties, School Districts and other Special Districts
  • Evaluates state-wide ballot measures and candidates and recommends support for those causes and candidates that support WECA’s core values
  • Encourages appointment of state and local officials who will approach their assignments without prejudice
  • This website is designed to both educate our members and to empower them to have the greatest possible impact when it comes to effecting political change on the local, state and federal levels. Check out the latest political news and action alerts, learn more about the WECA Political Action Committee (WECA-PAC), and take a moment to visit the partner organizations we work with.

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WECA Political Advocacy