Business Prepared to Go to War in Senate District 27

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

As part of an on-going effort to prevent a veto proof Democratic majority in the state senate, business interests have zeroed in on the newly created Senate District 27 that covers the western portion of Los Angeles County and the Eastern section of Ventura County. New redistricting has created concern that the Senate could go two-thirds to tax-hungry Democrats, which have focused business interests on SD 27 as a key swing district where a Republican can win with big-time financial help.

As of now the race appears to pit Republican Senator Tony Strickland against Democratic Senator Fran Pavley. Both live in the district. The new district has lost some of the coastal communities that Pavley represented and has more of a valley center.

Registration in the district favors Democrats 40.9% to 34.5% for Republicans and 19.9% for Decline-to-State voters. Those numbers indicate the district is a toss-up because Republicans tend to turn out to the polls in higher percentages.

Strickland has succeeded in similar election scenarios before when he topped Hannah Beth Jackson in a campaign that saw $10 million spent, $5 million on each side. Strickland is expected to have much more money this time around with the business community seeing Strickland as a possible savior in the Senate. Business sources indicate they are looking to go all-in for Strickland.

Rob Lapsley, the former state political director for the California Chamber of Commerce said,  “The business community is focused on building a bi-partisan governing coalition that will help to restore our economy and create jobs.  Success or failure will boil down to just a few legislative seats in 2012 and SD 27 is a key battleground.”

Democrats led by President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg will be spreading campaign funds around to capture other seats and it remains to be seen if he makes this seat a priority and dedicates the resources to match Strickland’s war chest.

Pavley believes she can capture the district that easily defeated Proposition 23 in 2010, a measure that would have undone Pavley’s AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act signed into law in 2006.

However, basing political fortunes on a ballot measure campaign ignores many other factors, including results of candidate races in the same district.

In what is now SD 27, Meg Whitman topped Jerry Brown in the governor’s race, Carly Fiorina beat Barbara Boxer for U.S. Senate, and Steve Cooley crushed Kamala Harris in the attorney general contest.

It is true that Strickland, himself, lost the controller’s race in the district to strong incumbent John Chiang by three points while being outspent. That will almost assuredly not happen in the state senate race.

With the California Supreme Court turning aside lawsuits against the new senate districts and the fate of the referendum of the senate redistricting uncertain, business interests have concluded that they must go all in on SD 27 in order to stop the Democrats from gaining a two third majority in 2012.

 

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