Legislative update: Early trends in election results

Just over a week has passed since the Nov. 8 general election, and while results are still trickling in, there are already some notable highlights for education.

While polls closed on Nov. 8, county elections officials have 30 days from the date of the election to certify results. This election year saw one quarter of Senate seats turning over and 22 Assemblymembers choosing not to run again — where the final chips may fall is still in question, but some early returns offer insight.

A major theme in Assembly races was intraparty contests as opposed to the more traditional Democrat versus Republican races. While there is set to be significant turnover, Democrats look to increase their hold on their 60 seat super-majority by four votes. Republicans will likely hold on to 16 of their 19 seats. However, at least six seats remain a toss-up and are still too close to call.

In the Senate, seven of the 20 Senators up for re-election could not run again and another three chose not to seek re-election. As of now, it appears likely that the Democrats may increase their majority by one seat to 30, with Republicans holding on to eight and at least six races that are too close to call.

Fifteen state Legislature races (11 in the Assembly and four in the Senate) featured current or former school board members as candidates. As of now, results indicate that nine of those candidates (all incumbent legislators) will win their races, with three (one incumbent and two newcomers) still too close to call.

Leadership changes 

As results continue to roll in, shifts in leadership have begun in Sacramento. Most notably, Assembly Democrats convened to once again take up the question of who will serve as Assembly Speaker in the coming legislative session. In June, current Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) announced that while Rivas had secured the support of a majority of the caucus to become the next speaker, Rendon would remain speaker for the rest of the 2021–22 legislative session.

After months of behind-the-scenes campaigning, the two parties announced that they have agreed to a long transition that will see Rivas take over as speaker in June 2023. Speaker Rendon also announced on Nov. 9 that he appointed Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) as the chair of the Assembly Education Committee, effective immediately, succeeding Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), who retired from the Legislature this year.