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FIRES: The tally of destruction in th Camp Fire just keeps increasing. It's important to note that this is mostly destruction from the first 48 hours that is only being assessed now. That's the breadth of the devastation. This morning's report adds 924 single-family residences, 33 multi-family, and 11 commercial structures. While there were two more fatalities added yesterday, the number of missing has dropped by over 300 to around 700.

From the good news/bad news front is that rain is arriving tomorrow. Obviously, on the fire front, that is great news. However, much of California is under serious mudslide danger. As we recall, following last December's Thomas fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, 129 structures were destroyed by mud and debris flow in January--in addition to the 1,063 structures destroyed by the flames.

Additionally, the fire crews in the Camp Fire are largely on dirt fire roads. As the LAT story on Sunday pointed out, the CALFIRE captain who first spotted the fire on November 8 immediately knew it was a problem as the roads up to the location across the canyon were too treacherous to send an engine up and air support couldn't arrive until daylight and calmer winds.

Those already dangerous roads will likely be mud by tomorrow night. The flames may be out, but recovery will be significantly hampered.

  • Camp Fire: 79 fatalities, 12,637 single-family residences, 310 multi-family residences, 483 commercial destroyed; 14,500 structures threatened; 151,373 acres; 70% contained
  • Woolsey Fire: 3 fatalities, 1,500 structures destroyed; 96,949 acres; 94% contained 

DEADLIEST WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA RECORDED HISTORY OVER THE LAST 13 MONTHS:

#1 Camp Fire (Butte): 79 deaths (November 2018) - active fire
#4 Tubbs Fire (Napa/Sonoma): 22 deaths (October 2017)
#11 Redwood Valley Fire (Mendocino): 9 deaths (October 2017)
#14 Carr Fire (Shasta/Tehama/Trinity): 7 deaths (July 2018)
#15 Atlas Fire (Napa/Solano): 6 deaths (October 2017)

(source: CALFIRE plus Camp Fire incident update; as of 11/19/18) 

MOST DESTRUCTIVE WILDFIRES IN CALIFORNIA RECORDED HISTORY OVER THE LAST 13 MONTHS:

#1 Camp Fire (Butte): 12,462 structures destroyed (November 2018) - active fire
#2 Tubbs Fire (Napa/Sonoma): 5,636 structures destroyed (October 2017)
#7 Carr Fire (Shasta/Tehama/Trinity): 1,604 structures destroyed (July 2018)
#8 Woosley Fire (Los Angeles/Ventura): 1,452 structures destroyed (November 2018) - active fire
#9 Nuns Fire (Sonoma): 1,353 structures destroyed (October 2017)
#10 Thomas Fire (Ventura/Santa Barbara): 1,063 structures destroyed (December 2017)
#14 Atlas Fire (Napa/Solano): 783 structures destroyed (October 2017)
#20 Redwood Valley Fire (Mendocino): 546 structures destroyed (October 2017)

(source: CALFIRE plus Camp Fire incident update; as of 11/19/18)

THIRTEEN MONTH TALLY (only from top 20):

  • Fatalities: 116
  • Structures: 14,897 structures destroyed (excluding "minor structures" i.e. guest houses/"granny" units, barns)

  

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Upward Mobility at Cal State LA

 

Good morning. Congratulations to Melody Gutierrez, who is moving from the SFChron to the Los Angeles Times! Great for John Myers's team there, but more bad news at the Chron. 

The sky is particularly blue this morning from the view from the desk of the Nooner Global Headquarters, which is quite welcome. Just when people's designer masks were arriving, the smoke clears. Seriously, there are some fancy adornments over the noses and mouths of Sacramentans. I'm guessing they will wear them all winter as a SacTown fashion statement.

Here are a few quick stories that caught my eye. Meanwhile, I have lots of numbers and longer form writing below:

BTW, newly elected congressman Harley Rouda (D-Huntington Beach) stated yesterday that he intends to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, after previously being non-committal. The only member of the California delegation to declare a "no" vote is Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier). It's not clear why, but both Sanchez sisters have always sort of answered to a different political drum.

The news does not get better for California Republicans as we'll see below. Beyond that, the State Senate fortunes do not get better in 2020, as I look at after the jump. Lets start with numbers...

 

BALLOT UPDATE as of November 18, 2018

  • Vote-by-mail: 608,837
  • Provisional: 895,862
  • Conditional Voter Registration Provisional: 47,621
  • Other (i.e. damaged): 48,485
  • Total: 1,600,805

TURNOUT as of November 18, 2018

  • Eligible to register:  25,200,451
  • Registered voters as of 10/22: 19,696,371
  • Ballots tallied through 11/18: 10,947,983
  • Turnout of eligible: 43.44%
  • Turnout of registered: 55.58% 

So, now that we are about two-thirds the way through tallying vote-by-mail and provisional ballots, I've added the turnout statistics. They are truly remarkable and explain the results we have been seeing. With an assumption of 75% validity of unprocessed ballots (all big counties have updated their numbers), I estimate that there are 1.2 million ballots that will eventually be counted.

That would be a turnout of 61.7%. That is astonishing. The last time California saw a turnout that high was in the presidential election in the year of my birth--1972. In that election, California native Richard Milhous Nixon was on the ballot for re-election against George McGovern. Nixon carried 49 states to McGovern's 1 state and the District of Columbia. Turnout in California that November was 64.52%.

Of course, the Schitt hadn't hit the fan in November after the break-in at the DNC headquarters at the Watergate that June. Nixon would only serve 31 months of that presidential term.

Turnout of registered voters in general elections since 1990

(P=presidential; M=midterm)

  1. P-2008: 59.22%
  2. P-2016: 58.74%
  3. P-2004: 57.03%
  4. M-2018: 55.58% (incomplete)
  5. P-2012: 55.47%
  6. P-1992: 54.52%
  7. P-1996: 52.56%
  8. P-2000: 51.92%
  9. M-1994: 46.98%
  10. M-2010: 43.74%
  11. M-1998: 41.43%
  12. M-1990: 41.05%
  13. M-2006: 39.29%
  14. M-2002: 36.05%
  15. M-2014: 30.94%

We're likely looking at the highest, or close to, turnout in 28 years, or 14 general elections. As to midterms, the last two above 60% were 20.23% in 1958 and 64.26% in 1934. California is obviously a very different state now.

Political scientists will study why the turnout was so large, and it would be a fun time to be looking for a thesis (is it too late to go back to school?). Obviously, the headline is the Trump factor. Here are the exit poll results for California from CNN:

  • Strongly approve: 20%
  • Somewhat approve: 17%
  • Somewhat disapprove: 5%
  • Strongly disapprove: 56%

[n=2,052]

Not surprisingly, 82% who approve of President Trump voted for Republican John Cox, while 89% voted for Democrat Gavin Newsom

But, the bigger story has been the changes in California law to make it easier to register to vote and cast ballots. Here are the major factors that make California stand out:

  • Permanent (or one-time) vote-by-mail status without a stated reason. (13 states still require a reason, reports NCSL).
  • Acceptance of ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within the three subsequent business days.
  • Regular registration extended 15 days before the election -- net new registrations on October 22 were 609,782 greater than September 7
  • Online registration
  • DMV registration
  • Conditional registration and voting -- same-day registration at the polls; if registration is processed and validated as not duplicate, ballot is counted
  • Ability for any adult to collect completed and signed ballots, rather than previous law that restricted it to certain relatives and residents of the same household.
  • Top two primary and resulting engagement of more "no party preference" voters

I'm sure Noonerites have differing opinions on the "small l" liberalization of voting in California, although most had been called for by academics and nonprofit, nonpartisan groups. California stands in stark contrast to many states. 

Will this high turnout be a Trump-attributed occurrence or a longer-term trend of higher voter participation in California. I would guess it we will have seen truth to the latter, but spiked this month by the former.

 

Outlook
(as of 11/18/18)
  U.S. House of Representatives State Assembly State Senate
As of 11/06/2018 39 Democrats
14 Republicans
55 Democrats
25 Republicans
26 Democrats
14 Republicans
2019-20 45 Democrats
8 Republicans
60 Democrats
20 Republicans
29 Democrats
11 Republicans 

 

ELECTIONS: I wasn't expecting it to happen so fast without the help of Los Angeles, but former assemblymember Tom Umberg (D) took the lead over State Senator Janet Nguyen (R) last night in SD34 (Westminster-Santa Ana). Los Angeles County updates tonight. In LA, SD34 has south and east Long Beach, which includes Cal State Long Beach. The trends both in Orange County and the current count and trends in Los Angeles strongly suggest a win by Umberg.

CA21 (Valadao) is also getting very close--968 votes.

More on State Senate below the jump.

The Election Contest Top 25 has been updated with a projected win of Umberg in SD34. Participants can also use the link I sent on Friday evening to see their updated scorecards. Yes, SD34 shuffled around the top of the pack, although #1 remains the same.

 

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE... 

  • CA21 (Kings): *David Valadao (R) 52,308 (50.5%), TJ Cox (D) 51,340 (49.5%)
  • SD34 (Westminster-Santa Ana): Tom Umberg (D) 126,824 (50.1%), Janet Nguyen (R) 126,386 (48.9%)
  • AD77 (North San Diego): *Brian Maienschein (R) 92,908 (50.7%), Sunday Gover (D) 90,345 (49.0%) 

 

SCORING THE POLLSTERS AND PROGNOSTICATORS: I began yesterday with four congressional races and wrap today with the remaining five. I'll write more on what this all means as the dust settles.

 

CA39 (Fullerton/Diamond Bar): Gil Cisneros (D) v. Young Kim (R) 

POLLING IN CA39 (Fullerton/Diamond Bar)

 

NYT/Siena

Berkeley IGS

Monmouth

Average

Result as of 11/19

 

10/18-23

9/16-9/23 

9/13/16

 

 

Gil Cisneros (D)

47%

49%

42%

46%

 51.0%

Young Kim (R)

46%

48%

46%

47%

49.0%

undecided

7%

3%

12%

7%

 

 

ATC/Nooner Cook UVA/Sabato Roll Call/
Inside Elections
FiveThirtyEight CNN Result
Toss-up Toss-up Toss-up Toss-up Leans Dem Toss-up Dem pick up 

 

CA45 (Irvine): Katie Porter (D) v. Mimi Walters (R)

POLLING IN CA45

 

Berkeley IGS

NYT/Siena

Average

Result as of 11/19

 

9/16-23

 10/26-11/01

 

 

Katie Porter (D)

52%

48%

50%

51.7%

*Mimi Walters (R)

45%

46%

45.5%

48.3%

undecided

3%

6%

4.5%

 

 

ATC/Nooner Cook UVA/Sabato Roll Call/
Inside Elections
FiveThirtyEight CNN Result
Leans Dem Toss-up Leans Dem Toss-up Leans Dem Toss-up Dem pick up 

 

CA48 (Huntington Beach): *Dana Rohrabacher (R) v. Harley Rouda (D) 

POLLING IN CA48 (Huntington Beach)

 

Berkeley IGS

Monmouth

NYT/Siena

Average

Result as of 11/19

 

9/16-23

10/17-21

 10/29-11/04

 

 

*Dana Rohrabacher (R)

48%

50%

46%

48%

46.7%

Harley Rouda (D)

48%

48%

45%

47%

53.3%

undecided

4%

2%

9%

5%

 

 

ATC/Nooner Cook UVA/Sabato Roll Call/
Inside Elections
FiveThirtyEight CNN Result
Toss-up Toss-up Toss-up Tilt Dem Leans Dem Toss-up Dem pick up 

  

CA49 (S. Orange County/N. San Diego County): Diane Harkey (R) v. Mike Levin (D)

POLLING IN CA49

 

NYT/Siena

Berkeley IGS

Average

Result as of 11/19

 

9/18-9/23

9/16-23

 

 

Mike Levin (D)

51%

55%

53%

56.0%

Diane Harkey (R)

41%

41%

41%

44.0%

undecided

8%

4%

6%

 

 

ATC/Nooner Cook UVA/Sabato Roll Call/
Inside Elections
FiveThirtyEight CNN Result
Likely Dem Leans Dem Leans Dem Leans Dem Safe Dem Leans Dem Dem pick up 

 

CA50 (E. San Diego County): Ammar Campa-Najjar (D) v. *Duncan Hunter (R)

 

POLLING IN CA50 (East San Diego County)

 

Berkeley IGS

Survey USA

Average

Result as of 11/19

 

9/16-23

10/25-29

 

 

Ammar Campa-Najjar (D)

47%

45%

46%

57.8%

*Duncan Hunter (R)

49%

48%

49%

52.2%

undecided

4%

8%

6%

 

 

ATC/Nooner Cook UVA/Sabato Roll Call/
Inside Elections
FiveThirtyEight CNN Result
Leans Republican Leans Rep Leans Rep Toss-up Likely Rep Likely Rep Rep hold

  

The GOP 2020 outlook in the State Senate after the jump...

 

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  • Education: UOP/McGeorge School of Law: MPP/MPA (full-time or part-time, 3 miles from the Capitol)
  • Education: Wharton School of Business: Executive MBA Informational Reception: Thursday, December 6
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  • Job: NorCal Cannabis: Political, Legislative and Regulatory Strategist/Analyst
  • Job: Reed and Davidson: Associate Attorney (Los Angeles)
  • Job: The University of California Office of the President: Associate Director of Strategy, Planning & Operations in its (Sacramento). 
  • Lobbying: The California Rental Housing Association: lobbying RFP
  • Training: Lobbying Seminars with veteran Ray LeBov: Next dates: December 13-14, February 7-8, April 4-5
  • Training: PDI (Political Data Inc.): weekly online trainings of various skill levels 

 

This year has been a roller-coaster for State Senate Republicans. In June, they successfully engineered a recall of state senator and replaced him with Ling Ling Chang in SD29 (Fullerton/Diamond Bar) That denied the supermajority of 27 votes the Democrats had won in the 2016 election. 

However, it appears that Democrats will enter the 2019-20 session with 29 votes--two more than that supermajority. Unaffiliated observers were pretty certain the majority would regain the supermajority with SD12 (Salinas-Merced) and maybe one of SD14 or SD34. Nobody predicted a sweep, but that appears very likely to have happened.

If that is the case, practically, Democrats will have 28 votes and Republicans will have 10 until SD01 (Gaines) and SD33 (Lara) are filled in late spring. Both are solidly in the hands of the parties, Republican and Democrat respectively.

So, assuming we have a State Senate made up of 29 Democrats and 11 Republicans. What does the next election portend, when the odd-numbered districts are up for new four-year terms.

In 2020, that would have five Republican and 15 Democrat seats up. That would ordinarily sound like great news for Republicans, but a look at the landscape does not pan out that way.


 

The 2020 State Senate Landscape
District Current Party 2020
SD01 R

 

VACANT
SD03 D Bill Dodd
SD05 D

 

Open (Galgiani)
SD07 D Steve Glazer
SD09 D Nancy Skinner
SD11 D Scott Wiener
SD13 D

 

Open (Hill)
SD15 D

 

 

 

Open (Beall)
SD17 D

 

Open (Monning)
SD19 D

 

Open (Jackson)
SD21 R Scott Wilk
SD23 R Mike Morrell
SD25 D Anthony Portantino
SD27 D Henry Stern
SD29 R Ling-Ling Chang
SD31 D Richard Roth
SD33 D

 

VACANT
SD35 D Steven Bradford
SD37 R John Moorlach
SD39 D Toni Atkins

Of the Republican districts, one is very competitive and two are somewhat competitive. On the Democrats' side, there is one somewhat competitive.

Let's start with the Democrats. The only seat that could be competitive is SD05, which is Stockton-Modesto. The district is held by Cathleen Galgiani (D), who is termed out. This has historically been a battleground region but, as we just saw, Congressman Jeff Denham (R) was just defeated by newcomer Josh Harder (D). CA10 covers the southern, more conservative parts of SD05 of Manteca, Modesto, and Tracy. The congressional district does not contain the city of Stockton, where Democrats have a 28% edge (50.1%-21.9%) over Republicans.

SD05 (San Joaquin) Voter Registration Change 10/12-09/18
Registered voters Democratic share Republican share NPP+ share
45,109 -1.67% -6.37% 7.66%

The trend isn't good for Republicans and likely won't change by 2020, after which we will have new district lines drawn by the Citizens' Commission.

Also worth noting is that, before being elected to the State Senate and while an assemblymember, Galgiani came out as gay in an interview with the Stockton Record. She is a proud member of the Legislative LGBT Caucus, along with Stockton Assemblymember Susan Talamentes Eggman. I only mention that to note that this is not the San Joaquin Valley of which you grew up with a political stereotype.

Before coming out in 2011, Galgiani abstained from the vote on same-sex marriage in 2007, as did then-senator Mike Machado. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill, deferring to the California Supreme Court's ruling on Prop. 22. I'm guessing that would be one of many "do-overs" Schwarzenegger would take advantage of, if he could. Following Obergfell and Windsor, it seems generations ago.

Democrats would need a colossal fumble, as they did this year in AD36 (Palmdale) to lose SD05 in 2020.

On the seats held by Republicans, as I mentioned, there are three seats considered on the playing field.

Obviously, target number one for Senate Democrats is Senate District 29 (Fullerton-Diamond Bar), the home of the June recall. Beyond being the very competitive for Dems, that Schitt is personal as recall campaigns always are. Democrats will throw all they can in to defeat Chang in 2020. Mind you, area Democrats are energized after flipping CA39 and chomping at the bit for a SD29 rematch on the same ballot as Donald Trump, which overlaps much of the same area. Hillary Clinton won SD29 by 12.7% in 2016.

And it will likely be a true rematch, with now former state senator Josh Newman back on the ballot for the Dems. 

The other two current GOP seats subject to Democratic salivation/over-eagerness would be Senate District 21 and Senate District 23, where Scott Wilk and Mike Morrell will be running for re-election. Both are in areas that saw party flips this month. In SD21, both CA25 and AD38 flipped from Republican to Democrat, and the overlap are significant. SD23 is a bit of a greater stretch, as the Dem-Rep VR split is about the same. The district that flipped there was AD40 (Redlands), but didn't have the grassroots element that we saw in the area of CA25.

All that said, Democrats have one seat to defend--SD05. On their offense will be, in order of competitiveness:

  1. SD29 (Fullerton-Diamond Bar)
  2. SD21 (Santa Clarita-Antelope)
  3. SD23 (San Bernardino)

It's been a tough couple of week for my Republican friends and I wish I could deliver some positive news as party leaders are thinking about a new strategy and message. That said, in the State Senate landscape, things simply do not look good. 

 

Probolsky Research

  

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Clark Lee, Eduardo Martinez, Robby Sumner, Jennifer Tobkin, Alex Vassar, and Tim Yaryan!

 

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    The California Rental Housing Association (fresh off a win on Proposition 10) is looking for a lobbyist. For details please contact Russell Lowery at Russell@yourcea.com or call 916-710-2872. CalRHA represents 22,000 people who provide 500,000 homes for families across California. Are you interested in working with the Governor and Legislature on real solutions? Contact us today. [full description]

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    NorCal Cannabis has been developing and shaping the legal cannabis industry since 2016. We are looking for spirited and motivated individual who will ensure NorCal Cannabis Company is engaged and strategic in its current regulations and future legislative changes affecting the company at the state and local level.

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