SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sen. Leland Yee’s arrest is just the latest in a string of alleged corruption at the California State Capitol that could affect the Democratic party’s supermajority.
Yee’s arrest comes after corruption and bribery charges filed against Sen. Ron Calderon in February, and Sen. Rod Wright’s conviction on felony voter fraud charges in January. All three are Democrats.
“That’s one out of every nine Democratic senators in the Capitol is in trouble with the law,” said Republican strategist Rob Stutzman. He is currently working on the campaign for Dan Schnur, an independent running against Yee in the Secretary of State race.
He believes the GOP will get a boost from the senators’ legal troubles, especially with elections coming up this year.
Yee planned a run for California Secretary of State this year after he termed out of the legislature. Calderon would have termed out before this year’s election. Wright’s term would have run through 2016.
“I think Republicans can play it up, but they should be very careful, and very cautious,” Stutzman said.
Even with Democrats’ legal troubles, he only expects a minor shift in seats in the 2014 election.
Democrats still have a stronghold on the Assembly with a supermajority, but between Calderon, Wright and Yee, that power is gone in the Senate.
“We’ve already seen a financial disclosure bill fail in the Senate, because Democrats didn’t get the two-thirds votes they need,” said Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio.
He says the blue party is on a dangerous path, running the risk of being branded as a party of corruption, but he thinks candidates need to stick to the issues when stumping for votes.
“I think it would be a mistake for the Republicans really to jump all over this, because it could happen to any one of them at any time,” he said.
Both strategists agree that partisanship aside, the allegations are bad for politics all around.
“It puts a strain on the entire institution,” Maviglio said.
I think politicians in this town better start demonstrating to the public that they can clean up the mess,” said Stutzman.