California Assembly District 39
This fall, California’s lower legislative chamber will again be filling all 80 of its elected member positions.
Working conditions will depend on the partisan breakdown of all new hires. With the current composition of the Assembly—55 Democrats and 25 Republicans—Democrats are holding on to their two-thirds supermajority by only one seat. A supermajority in both the Assembly and Senate would allow Democrats, if united, to raise taxes, override vetoes, place constitutional amendments on the ballot, and largely ignore their Republican colleagues.
Job duties include:
- Spend months drafting, discussing, and haggling over bills that will affect the lives of all Californians
- Retain the option of waiting until the very last week of session before passing or dumping most of said bills in a flurry
- Spend months drafting, discussing, and haggling over resolutions that will affect the lives of virtually no Californians
- Help craft a multi-billion-dollar budget for the state
- Strive to represent the interests of 500,000 constituents, most of them strangers
Luz Maria Rivas
Ricardo Antonio Benitez
Incumbent Party: Democratic
Democratic vs Republican Voter Registration: 37.8% D
Trump vs Clinton Margin, 2016: 54.8% Clinton
Margin of Victory in Last Election: 20.2%
Top Two Primary Applicants, June 2018: Luz Maria Rivas (43.9%), Ricardo Antonio Benitez (25.1%)
Democratic vs Republican Vote Share, June 2018: 49.8% D
Your job of selecting a new assembly representative in this district has been a little more complicated than usual this year. On June 5, voters were asked to make two hiring decisions—to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, whose term lasts until the end of November; and again to select someone to serve the full two-year term that begins in December. Voters opted for Democrat Luz Rivas and Republican Ricardo Benitez in both cases. The reason for this unusual routine is that Bocanegra resigned last year amid allegations of sexual harassment. He apologized for a 2009 incident in which a staff member said he grabbed inside her blouse, and denied other allegations. Now it’s finally time to pick the winner. It’s not exactly a toss-up. In the June contest to replace Bocanegra until the November election, Rivas won more than two votes for every one of Benitez’s.