California Politics

California Politics
California Politics

California’s politics has been mired in controversy for over three decades. There are innumerable cases that have demanded state wide attention and have been successful in receiving it.

Political Issues
  • Passing the term limit restriction, [which allows a person to serve an elected office for a particular number of terms], for the legislature and constitutional officers of the state of California, this issue was debated over in the Supreme Court of California.  
  • Ouster of Rose Bird, the Chief Justice and two associate judges, Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso due to a demand to test the ratification process of the highest court of the state – The Supreme Court.
  • The People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, also known as Proposition 13, was revolted against, which fixed real estate tax rates at 1% after revaluing all the properties according to their 1975 sale prices.
Californians in the Congress
  • Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House and hails from the 8th District.
  • George Miller serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor.
  • Dianne Feinstein heads the Select Committee on Intelligence as the Chairwoman.
  • Senator Barbara Boxer is the head of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Political Parties
  • The Democratic Party and the Republican Party of California are two important parties that are represented in the Congress and State Legislature.
  • Four other parties are eligible for an official ballot status, namely: The American Independent Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, and Peace and Freedom Party.
Percentage of Voters
There are 17, 304, 091 registered voters in California as of 2008. Out of these, 44% are Democrats, 31.3% are Republicans, 4.4% voters affiliated themselves with other political parties and 19.9% were registered as ‘Decline to State’ voters.
Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 36.91% 5,011,781 60.94% 8,274,473
2004 44.36% 5,509,826 54.40% 6,745,485
2000 41.65% 4,567,429 53.45% 5,861,203
1996 38.21% 3,828,380 51.10% 5,119,835
1992 32.61% 3,630,574 46.01% 5,121,325
1988 51.13% 5,054,917 47.56% 4,702,233
1984 57.51% 5,467,009 41.27% 3,922,519
1980 52.69% 4,524,858 35.91% 3,083,661
1976 49.35% 3,882,244 47.57% 3,742,284
1972 55.01% 4,602,096 41.54% 3,475,847
1968 47.82% 3,467,664 44.74% 3,244,318
1964 40.79% 2,879,108 59.11% 4,171,877
1960 50.10% 3,259,722 49.55% 3,224,099
List of Governors of California
S.No, Governor Term Start Term End Party Lt. Governor Terms
1 Peter Hardeman Burnett December 20, 1849 January 9, 1851 Democratic John McDougall ½
2 John McDougall January 9, 1851 January 8, 1852 Democratic David C. Broderick ½
3 John Bigler January 8, 1852 January 9, 1856 Democratic Samuel Purdy 2
4 J. Neely Johnson January 9, 1856 January 8, 1858 American Robert M. Anderson 1
5 John B. Weller January 8, 1858 January 9, 1860 Democratic John Walkup 1
6 Milton Latham January 9, 1860 January 14, 1860 Lecompton Democratic John G. Downey ½
7 John G. Downey January 14, 1860 January 10, 1862 Lecompton Democratic Isaac N. Quinn ½
Pablo de la Guerra
8 Leland Stanford January 10, 1862 December 10, 1863 Republican John F. Chellis 1
9 Frederick Low December 10, 1863 December 5, 1867 Unionist Republican Tim N. Machin 1
10 Henry Huntly Haight December 5, 1867 December 8, 1871 Democratic William Holden 1
11 Newton Booth December 8, 1871 February 27, 1875 Republican Romualdo Pacheco ½
12 Romualdo Pacheco February 27, 1875 December 9, 1875 Republican William Irwin ½
13 William Irwin December 9, 1875 January 8, 1880 Democratic James A. Johnson 1
14 George Clement Perkins January 8, 1880 January 10, 1883 Republican John Mansfield 1
15 George Stoneman January 10, 1883 January 8, 1887 Democratic John Daggett 1
16 Washington Bartlett January 8, 1887 September 12, 1887 Democratic Robert Waterman ½
17 Robert Waterman September 12, 1887 January 8, 1891 Republican Stephen M. White ½
18 Henry Markham January 8, 1891 January 11, 1895 Republican John B. Reddick 1
19 James Budd January 11, 1895 January 4, 1899 Democratic Spencer G. Millard 1
William T. Jeter
20 Henry Gage January 4, 1899 January 6, 1903 Republican Jacob H. Neff 1
21 George Pardee January 6, 1903 January 9, 1907 Republican Alden Anderson 1
22 James Gillett January 9, 1907 January 3, 1911 Republican Warren R. Porter 1
23 Hiram Johnson January 3, 1911 March 15, 1917 Republican A. J. Wallace
Progressive John M. Eshleman
William Stephens
24 William Stephens March 15, 1917 January 9, 1923 Republican vacant
Clement C. Young
25 Friend Richardson January 9, 1923 January 4, 1927 Republican Clement C. Young 1
26 Clement C. Young January 4, 1927 January 6, 1931 Republican Buron Fitts 1
H. L. Carnahan
27 James Rolph Jr. January 6, 1931 June 2, 1934 Republican Frank Merriam ½
28 Frank Merriam June 2, 1934 January 2, 1939 Republican vacant
George J. Hatfield
29 Culbert Olson January 2, 1939 January 4, 1943 Democratic Ellis E. Patterson 1
30 Earl Warren January 4, 1943 October 5, 1953 Republican Frederick F. Houser
Goodwin Jess Knight
31 Goodwin Jess Knight October 5, 1953 January 5, 1959 Republican Harold J. Powers
32 Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown, Sr. January 5, 1959 January 3, 1967 Democratic Glenn M. Anderson 2
33 Ronald Reagan January 3, 1967 January 6, 1975 Republican Robert Finch 2
Edwin Reinecke
John L. Harmer
34 Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. January 6, 1975 January 3, 1983 Democratic Mervyn M. Dymally 2
Michael Curb
35 George Deukmejian January 3, 1983 January 7, 1991 Republican Leo T. McCarthy 2
36 Pete Wilson January 7, 1991 January 4, 1999 Republican Leo T. McCarthy 2
Joseph Graham "Gray" Davis
37 Joseph Graham "Gray" Davis January 4, 1999 November 17, 2003 Democratic Cruz Bustamante
38 Arnold Schwarzenegger November 17, 2003 incumbent Republican Cruz Bustamante
John Garamendi
Abel Maldonado
Other High Offices Held
Governor Gubernatorial Term U.S. House U.S. Senate Other Offices Held
John Bigler 1852–1856 U.S. Minister to Chile
.John B. Weller 1858–1860 S U.S. Representative from Ohio, U.S. Minister to Mexico
Milton Latham 1860 H S*  
Leland Stanford 1862–1863 S  
Frederick Low 1863–1867 H U.S. Minister to the Great Qing Empire
Newton Booth 1871–1875 S*  
Romualdo Pacheco 1875 H U.S. Minister to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
George Clement Perkins 1880–1883 S  
Henry Markham 1891–1895 H  
James Budd 1895–1899 H  
Henry Gage 1899–1903 U.S. Minister to Portugal
James Gillett 1907–1911 H†  
Hiram Johnson 1911–1917 S*  
William Stephens 1917–1923 H  
Earl Warren 1943–1953 Chief Justice of the United States*
Ronald Reagan 1967–1975 President of the United States
Pete Wilson 1991–1999 S  
Living Former Governors
Governor Gubernatorial Term Date of Birth
Jerry Brown 1975–1983 April 7, 1938 (1938-04-07) (age 72)
George Deukmejian 1983–1991 June 6, 1928 (1928-06-06) (age 82)
Pete Wilson 1991–1999 August 23, 1933 (1933-08-23) (age 76)
Gray Davis 1999–2003 December 26, 1942 (1942-12-26) (age 67)
California State Senators
Aanestad, Sam
Alquist, Elaine
Ashburn, Roy
Calderon, Ron
Cedillo, Gilbert
Cogdill, Dave
Corbett, Ellen
Correa, Lou
Cox, Dave
Denham, Jeff
DeSaulnier, Mark
Ducheny, Denise Moreno
Dutton, Robert D.
Emmerson, Bill
Florez, Dean
Hancock, Loni
Harman, Tom
Hollingsworth, Dennis
Huff, Bob
Kehoe, Christine
Leno, Mark
Liu, Carol
Lowenthal, Alan S.
Negrete McLeod, Gloria
Oropeza, Jenny
Padilla, Alex
Pavley, Fran
Price, Curren
Romero, Gloria
Runner, George
Simitian, Joe
Steinberg, Darrell
Strickland, Tony
Walters, Mimi
Wiggins, Patricia
Wolk, Lois
Wright, Roderick
Wyland, Mark
Yee, Leland
Vacant, SD15

List of United States Senators from California

Class 1

# Senator Party Took office Left office Other offices Term
1 John C. Frémont Democratic September 10, 1850 March 4, 1851 First Republican nominee for President
(1856)
Governor of Arizona Territory
(1878–1881)
1
2 John B. Weller Democratic January 30, 1852 March 4, 1857 Governor of California
(1858–1860)
Minister to Mexico
(1860–1861)
2
3 David C. Broderick Democratic March 4, 1857 September 16, 1859   3
Vacant September 16, 1859 November 3, 1859
4 Henry P. Haun Democratic November 3, 1859 March 4, 1860  
5 Milton Latham Democratic March 5, 1860 March 4, 1863 Governor of California
(1859–1860)
6 John Conness Republican March 4, 1863 March 4, 1869   4
7 Eugene Casserly Democratic March 4, 1869 November 29, 1873   5
Vacant November 29, 1873 December 24, 1873
8 John S. Hager Democratic December 24, 1873 March 4, 1875  
9 Newton Booth Anti-Monopoly March 4, 1875 March 4, 1881 Governor of California
(1871–1874)
6
10 John Franklin Miller Republican March 4, 1881 March 8, 1886   7
Vacant March 8, 1886 March 23, 1886
11 George Hearst Democratic March 23, 1886 August 4, 1886  
12 Abram P. Williams Republican August 4, 1886 March 4, 1887  
13 George Hearst Democratic March 4, 1887 February 28, 1891   8
Vacant February 28, 1891 March 19, 1891
14 Charles N. Felton Republican March 19, 1891 March 4, 1893  
15 Stephen M. White Democratic March 4, 1893 March 4, 1899   9
Vacant March 4, 1899 February 7, 1900   10
16 Thomas R. Bard Republican February 7, 1900 March 4, 1905  
17 Frank P. Flint Republican March 4, 1905 March 4, 1911   11
18 John D. Works Republican March 4, 1911 March 4, 1917   12
19 Hiram Johnson Republican March 16, 1917 August 6, 1945 Governor of California
(1911–1917)
13
14
15
16
17
Vacant August 6, 1945 August 26, 1945
20 William F. Knowland Republican August 26, 1945 January 3, 1959 Senate Republican Leader
(1953–1959)
18
19
21 Clair Engle Democratic January 3, 1959 July 30, 1964   20
Vacant July 30, 1964 August 4, 1964
22 Pierre Salinger Democratic August 4, 1964 December 31, 1964 White House Press Secretary
(1961–1964)
23 George Murphy Republican January 1, 1965 January 2, 1971  
21
24 John V. Tunney Democratic January 2, 1971 January 2, 1977  
22
25 S. I. Hayakawa Republican January 2, 1977 January 3, 1983  
23
26 Pete Wilson Republican January 3, 1983 January 7, 1991 Mayor of San Diego
(1971–1983)
Governor of California
(1991–1999)
24
26
27 John F. Seymour Republican January 7, 1991 November 10, 1992  
28 Dianne Feinstein Democratic November 10, 1992 Incumbent Mayor of San Francisco
(1978–1988)
25
26
27

Class 3

# Senator Party Took office Left office Other offices Term
1 William M. Gwin Democratic September 10, 1850 March 4, 1855   1
Vacant March 4, 1855 January 13, 1857 2
William M. Gwin January 13, 1857 March 4, 1861
2 James A. McDougall Democratic March 4, 1861 March 4, 1867 Illinois Attorney General
(1842–1846)
California Attorney General
(1850–1851)
3
3 Cornelius Cole Republican March 4, 1867 March 4, 1873   4
4 Aaron A. Sargent Republican March 4, 1873 March 4, 1879 Minister to Germany
(1882–1884)
5
5 James T. Farley Democratic March 4, 1879 March 4, 1885 California Assembly Speaker
(1856)
California Senate President pro tem
(1871–1872)
6
6 Leland Stanford Republican March 4, 1885 June 21, 1893 Governor of California
(1861–1863)
7
8
Vacant June 21, 1893 July 26, 1893
7 George Clement Perkins Republican July 26, 1893 March 4, 1915 Governor of California
(1879–1883)
9
10
11
8 James D. Phelan Democratic March 4, 1915 March 4, 1921 Mayor of San Francisco
(1897–1902)
12
9 Samuel M. Shortridge Republican March 4, 1921 March 4, 1933   13
14
10 William Gibbs McAdoo Democratic March 4, 1933 November 8, 1938 Treasury Secretary
(1913–1918)
15
11 Thomas M. Storke Democratic November 9, 1938 January 3, 1939  
12 Sheridan Downey Democratic January 3, 1939 November 30, 1950   16
17
13 Richard Nixon Republican December 1, 1950 January 1, 1953 Vice President of the United States
(1953–1961)
President of the United States
(1969–1974)
18
14 Thomas Kuchel Republican January 2, 1953 January 3, 1969 Senate Minority Whip
(1959–1969)
California Controller
(1946–1953)
19
20
15 Alan Cranston Democratic January 3, 1969 January 3, 1993 Senate Democratic Whip
(1977–1991)
California Controller
(1959–1967)
21
22
23
24
16 Barbara Boxer Democratic January 3, 1993 Incumbent   25
26
27