SACRAMENTO — Democrats will have a two-thirds supermajority in both chambers of the California Legislature next year after Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang lost her bid to advance to the state Senate.
Election results released Monday showed Democrat Josh Newman narrowly defeated Chang for a Senate seat concentrated in northeastern Orange County.
Newman's victory gives Democrats control of two-thirds of the 40 seats in the Senate -- enough for them to approve tax increases, suspend legislative rules, pass emergency legislation or overturn the governor's vetoes without any support from Republicans.
Newman is a U.S. Army veteran from Fullerton who founded a nonprofit to help veterans pursue civilian jobs following work in the entertainment and technology industries. He will replace Sen. Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, who was barred by term limits from seeking another term.
Chang, of Diamond Bar, is finishing her first term in the Assembly after serving in a variety of local offices. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment made through aides in her Assembly office.
The 29th District was one of two open seats Democrats targeted in their quest for a supermajority. In the other targeted district, Republican Assemblyman Scott Wilk defeated Democrat Johnathon Ervin to maintain control of the seat formerly held by Republican Sen. Sharon Runner, who died in July.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, welcomed Newman to the Senate and said a tireless campaign team helped Democrats succeed in conservative Orange County.
"Senator-elect Newman was obviously a highly effective candidate, and I know he will be a great elected leader for his constituents," de León said in a statement.
Monday's results also showed that Republican Assemblyman Marc Steinorth of Redlands defeated Democrat Abigail Medina in a tight Southern California Assembly seat. Still, Democrats picked up three Assembly seats and will have a supermajority in the lower chamber.
A supermajority gives Democrats significant legislative power in theory, but the party is not monolithic ideologically. Liberal Democrats have repeatedly seen their priorities reined in by more moderate lawmakers from their own party or by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who espouses caution particularly on budget matters.