On Monday, March 16 Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva will host a fundraiser for her bid to reclaim the 65th California Assembly seat from freshman incumbent Republican Young Kim, who triumphed over her in one of the most expensive Assembly elections in state history last year.
In 2012 Sharon Quirk-Silva scored an upset victory over then-incumbent Chris Norby, helping the Democrats to secure a solid two-thirds majority in both legislative houses. While in office, she promoted the establishment of a federal cemetery for military veterans in Orange County. Her voting record can be found here at votesmart.org. It is generally favorable toward labor and immigration priorities, and shows support for limiting high capacity magazines for some guns–just the sort of issues to coax steam from the ears of conservatives. Her environmental record is mixed, showing two “Nay” votes against a statewide plastic bag ban. Lamentably, The Rag has no indication that she ever sought reform of POBR, the Peace Officers Bill of Rights, to require more transparency and accountability of law enforcement officers and agencies.
Her re-election in 2014 was all but impossible given the low voter turnout by Democrats in that year’s mid-term contest. Many voters quickly tired of receiving dozens of mailers from each campaign every week, but at least it was a contested election, something nearly unheard of thanks to gerrymandered legislative districts that normally favor one party over the other.
Barely three months into the job, Young Kim doesn’t have much of a record to run against, other than offering a bill that would prohibit adding toll lanes to OC freeways without direct approval of the electorate–something likely to be popular among voters. With Prop. 14 in place to eliminate third party candidates, it could be a very close election. Sharon Quirk-Silva is no doubt counting on higher voter turnout by her party in a presidential election year to put her over the top, but she may need a stronger message to motivate the electorate this time around.