Assembly speakership fight boils over into Assembly district races

The Capitol Building in Sacramento is quiet.  The 2021-2022 Legislative Session is over and staff are cleaning up and preparing for the next session.  The Assemblymembers and Senators are back in their districts campaigning working with their constituents.  Yet a very clear battle is being waged.  

As Calpeek has discussed, Assemblymember Robert Rivas tried to unseat Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon over the summer.  Although Rivas has significant support, Rendon has held on to power.  As election season is heating up, Politico reports that Rivas’ supporters are engaged in the “raise money to help incumbents and hopefuls” effort.  They have formed a campaign committee called “Democratic Leadership Coalition PAC.”  Their goal is to help elect Assemblymembers who will support Rivas when it is time to vote for a new Speaker.

Normally, support for incumbents who face significant challengers and candidates in open seats comes from the current Speaker’s leadership fund.  The same is true on the Senate side.  The Speaker and the Senate Pro Tem help to raise and direct funds. 

The new Democratic Leadership Coalition PAC campaign committee was formed early this year, but as of June 30, 2022, it had only incurred the expense of a campaign finance reporting company.  More recently, its late independent expenditure reports show monetary “support” for 13 candidates ranging from $384 – $79,425.  The details in the paper filings show which Assemblymembers have given to the Democratic Leadership Coalition PAC.

We will have to wait a month to see if the General Election results determine who the next Speaker will be.  If the results are unclear, the fight will move back to Sacramento’s capitol building where the Democratic Caucus will meet and consider if Rendon will remain Speaker.  The Republican Assemblymembers do get to vote on the new Speaker, but they are not expected to play a significant role due to their limited numbers. 

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