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Some California legislative incumbents fighting to survive

Reginald Jones-Sawyer
Posted at 10:08 AM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 13:08:14-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Democrats are in no danger of losing control of the state Legislature and may even expand their supermajorities after votes are tallied. But incumbents in the 80-member Assembly and 40-member Senate aren’t invulnerable.

That's particularly true with California’s top-two balloting. Voters in some cases have set up contests within the same political party by advancing the two highest vote-getters from the March primary election.

Several in Orange County, the greater Los Angeles area and in the San Francisco Bay Area face challengers and have drawn high spending from interest groups.

Ling Ling Chang
FILE - In this June 22, 2016 file photo, Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, appears before a state Senate committee in Sacramento, Calif. It's a rematch of a rematch as Democrat Josh Newman of Fullerton tries to unseat Republican Sen. Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar in the Orange County-centered 29 Senate District that spills into Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Newman's quirky campaign narrowly beat Chang in 2016, but he was recalled in 2018 and replaced by Chang after he voted for a state gas tax.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Janet Nguyen
FILE - In this March 9, 2015 file photo, then-state Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. It's Nguyen on Nguyen as Garden Grove Democratic Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen vies with former GOP senator Janet Nguyen in the Orange County 72nd Assembly District where Republicans hold a slim majority. The pair bested incumbent Republican Assemblyman Tyler Diep of Westminster in the March primary.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
CA Election 2020 California Legislature
FILE - In this June 15, 2017 file photo, state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, listens during at the Capitol, in Sacramento, Calif. It's a rematch of a rematch as Democrat Josh Newman of Fullerton tries to unseat Republican Sen. Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar in the Orange County-centered 29th Senate District that spills into Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Newman's quirky campaign narrowly beat Chang in 2016, but he was recalled in 2018 and replaced by Chang after he voted for a state gas tax.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Scott Wilk
FILE - In this June 15, 2015 file photo, Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, addresses lawmakers at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Wilk is trying to hold his 21st Senate District seat in a Los Angeles and San Bernardino county district where Democrats have an 8 percentage point advantage in voter registration. He's being challenged by Democratic labor attorney Kipp Mueller.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Ann Ravel
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2013 file photo, Ann Ravel, then the chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Another Democrat-on-Democrat contest, this one for the 15th Senate District open seat being vacated by termed-out Democratic Sen. Jim Beall of San Jose. But organized labor is generally backing Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, while business is supporting Ann Ravel, who once was chairwoman of California's Fair Political Practices Commission and was appointed by former president Barack Obama to the Federal Elections Commission. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Steven Choi
Assemblyman Steven Choi, R-Irvine, is seen at the Capitol Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Democratic challenger Melissa Fox of Irvine has outraised and outspent Republican Assemblyman Steven Choi of Irvine in the Orange County 68th Assembly District where Democrats have taken a narrow lead in voter registration. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Reginald Jones-Sawyer
FILE - In this April 9, 2019 file photo, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, chairman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, discusses legislation to restrict the use of deadly force by police, during a hearing on the measure in Sacramento, Calif. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association literally put a target on Democratic Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles in a 59th Assembly District campaign ad the union quickly withdrew admit criticism. As chairman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, Jones-Sawyer has promoted policies to reduce mass incarceration. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Phillip Chen
FILE - In this Thursday, May 18, 2017, file photo, Assemblyman Phillip Chen is seen at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Republican Assemblyman Phil Chen of Yorba Linda is in a competitive race with Democratic challenger Andrew Rodriguez of Walnut in the 55th Assembly District that includes parts of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Democrats took a narrow lead in voter registration this year.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)