For the first time in nearly 80 years, one party is on the verge of controlling the California State Legislature, and the 32nd Assembly race figures prominently in that. On election day, Democrats picked up enough victories to claim a supermajority in the state Senate and, with several races still undecided, they're closing in on the Assembly.
Gaining a two-thirds majority in the 40-seat Senate was expected, but the capture by Democrats of 54 seats in the 80-seat Assembly on Tuesday caught most political pundits by surprise.
"I promise we will exercise this new power with strength but also with humility and with reason," said state Senate President Darrell Steinberg.
Several legislative races in swing districts remain close, including the 32nd Assembly District where Pedro Rios and Rudy Salas are separated by a few hundred votes.
"This race of Rudy Salas vs. Pedro Rios was so important, not just for Kern and Kings counties, this is a statewide seat and it turned the balance of power," said 17 News political analyst Cathy Abernathy.
With results still being counted, Democrats were winning seven of eight critical districts in the assembly and three of five hotly contested senate seats.
"We're up to the challenge," said Republican Senator Ted Gaines. "We're up to holding our colleagues accountable."
Republicans warn that a Democratic supermajority in Sacramento will give the party unilateral power to raise taxes and override vetoes without Republican votes.
"The business climate in California, we know, it's not only not good when they're moving out of the state, they're not expanding. Now they're hearing we have a legislature that can raise taxes on a whim," said Abernathy. "It's the worst that could happen economically."
Democrats say with Republicans no longer able to leverage budget cutting concessions in return for budget and tax votes, the legislature will be able to govern without being in constant crisis.
Another analyst says don't think just because they have a supermajority that Democrats in Sacramento will walk in lock step.
"Simply because they have a supermajority doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get things done," said CSUB political science professor Mark Martinez. "This has actually been a problem for the Democrats in the past. You have the lone wolves and you have those who have to think about being re-elected. Those in close elections are gonna be reluctant to cooperate if they think they'll be vulnerable. A supermajority doesn't mean cooperation on the side of the Democrats."