This is what they call a nail-biter, folks. With Democrats managing to hang on to control of the U.S. Senate following votes tallied this weekend, all eyes have shifted to the U.S. House — and to California, which could end up determining the balance of power in Congress and the political direction of the country. […]
GOP Rep. David Valadao speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2021. Photo by Graeme Sloan, Sipa USA via Reuters
This is what they call a nail-biter, folks.
With Democrats managing to hang on to control of the U.S. Senate following votes tallied this weekend, all eyes have shifted to the U.S. House — and to California, which could end up determining the balance of power in Congress and the political direction of the country.
With 218 House seats needed for a majority, Republicans had secured 212 and Democrats 204 as of Sunday, according to the Associated Press. But 19 races remained too close to call — including 12 in California.
In three Golden State contests, the candidates were within 3 percentage points of each other as of Sunday night, CalMatters’ live results tracker shows. Other gaps weren’t much larger: In the Central Valley, for example, Republican Rep. David Valadao was about 5 percentage points ahead of his Democratic challenger, Assemblymember Rudy Salas.
The three closest races include:
The matchup between Democratic Rep. Katie Porter and Republican Scott Baugh in Orange County.
The race between Republican Rep. Ken Calvert and Democrat Will Rollins for a district spanning the Coachella Valley and Riverside County.
And the contest between Republican farmer John Duarte and Democratic Assemblymember Adam Gray for a newly created district anchored in Modesto.
Although the Democratic Party’s unexpectedly strong national showing suggests predictions of a Republican “red wave” were largely overblown, the party is unlikely to flip some GOP-held California congressional seats if current ballot trends persist, Nate Cohn, the New York Times’ chief political analyst, tweeted Saturday.
Regardless of which party ends up in control of the House, a Californian is in line to take the helm: either current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, or Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a Bakersfield Republican.
Pelosi said in a Sunday interview with ABC that she doesn’t plan to leave Congress, but declined to share whether she intends to seek a leadership position: “I’m not making any comments until this election is finished, and we have a little more time to go.”
California poised to elect most diverse Legislature ever
An LGBTQ flag on a desk on the Assembly floor at the state Capitol on May 31, 2022. Photo by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., CalMatters
Although ballots are still being tallied in some of California’s most competitive legislative races, it appears that voters elected record numbers of women and LGBTQ people to the state Assembly and Senate — a milestone that could also translate to different policies coming out of Sacramento, CalMatters’ Ariel Gans and Sameea Kamal report. California is heading toward at least 43 female lawmakers out of 120 — a record — and could elect as many as 52. Meanwhile, eight openly LGBTQ candidates are winning their races — putting California on track to be the first state to achieve proportional LBGTQ legislative representation — and as many as 14 could be elected.
Susannah Delano of Close the Gap, a political advocacy group that works to elect Democratic women, said having more female lawmakers could result in an increased focus on reproductive health care, pay equity and family economic issues.
Samuel Garrett-Pate of Equality California, a political advocacy and civil rights group supporting LGBTQ+ candidates: “There’s a lot of work for us to do to achieve full equality. It’s not as simple as just passing civil rights protections. It’s tough work that takes a long time, but we know that we can make greater progress when we have more (LGBTQ) people in the room helping make these decisions.”
State braces for week of strikes
Demonstrators walk through the UCLA campus demanding fair wages for UC faculty on Oct. 13, 2021. Photo by Zaydee Sanchez for CalMatters
Welcome to “Strikesgiving,” round two: At least three strikes are set to take place across California in the next week as burned-out and frustrated workers hit the picket line:
Starting today, as many as 48,000 University of California academic workers — including teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars and graduate student researchers — are set to strike at all 10 UC campuses, a move that could cause some classes, grading and lab work to grind to a halt just weeks ahead of final exams. The four striking unions — which have filed 23 unfair labor practice complaints against UC — are pushing for significant pay increases, improved child care subsidies, enhanced health care coverage and public transit passes, among other demands. “We teach the classes, grade the papers and perform the cutting-edge research that has earned UC its reputation as the best public university in the world,” the unions told the Los Angeles Times. UC said in a statement that it has “bargained in good faith” and proposed contracts that “are generous, responsive to union priorities, and recognize the many valuable contributions of these employees.”
Next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 21-22, more than 21,000 registered nurses and nurse practitioners are set to strike at 21 Kaiser Permanente facilities across Northern California to call for increased hiring and training, minimum staffing guidelines and improved job protections. “We are chronically short-staffed, which means patients are waiting longer for care,” Cathy Kennedy, president of the California Nurses Association, said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and unconscionable when Kaiser made more than $14 billion during the first two years of the pandemic.” Kaiser told the Sacramento Bee that it’s hired about 3,300 additional nurses since 2021 and is “committed to hiring hundreds more.” The proposed labor action comes not long after thousands of Kaiser mental health workers walked off the job for 10 weeks.
Flu surge strains capacity at some hospitals
A child arrives for vaccination against COVID-19 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego on June 21, 2022. Photo by Mike Blake, Reuters
Dr. Zoey Goore, a pediatric hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente in Roseville, told CapRadio: “All of the children that have been hospitalized with complications of the flu did not have their vaccine yet this year.”