SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13/AP) — A Democratic state senator from the Central Valley has resigned unexpectedly, dropping Democrats below the two-thirds threshold they need to pass tax changes or override vetoes.
“It’s a big shocking decision,” Republican strategist Rob Stutzman said.
Sen. Michael Rubio from Shafter, which is near Bakersfield, announced his resignation Friday to take a government affairs job with Chevron Corp.
Rubio did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Greg Schmidt, secretary of the Senate, confirmed his resignation letter to The Associated Press.
In the letter, the first-term senator said the job of a legislator kept him away from his wife and two daughters. He also noted that his youngest child has special needs.
With two Democratic-leaning seats already vacant, Rubio’s resignation temporarily drops Democrats to 26 of the possible 40 seats in the Senate, one shy of a supermajority.
“You get to something like the budget where they may want to raise taxes or fees, they may not have two-thirds in order to do that,” said Stutzman.
With each seat influencing whether a bill may be passed, the campaigning is already underway.
“One vote can make a difference and that’s exactly what’s happened in the Senate, and I’m sure people are talking on both sides of the isle as I speak about who the right candidate is for that senate district,” Republican Sen. Ted Gaines said.
But Democrats may not have to wait to long to regain the supermajority.
“For the next couple weeks, the Senate won’t have that majority, and then the assembly won’t a few weeks after that. So, fortunately there is enough internal fighting among Republicans that the Democrats can count on that, practically, to get that two-thirds vote on the budget and other important matters” CBS13 Democratic political analyst Steve Maviglio.
As Senate seats are being decided, it sets off a domino effect where the supermajority is lost in the assembly as assemblymembers try and move up to fill those Senate seats. So, Republicans will have to fight hard to steal some of those districts.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)