Democrat Steve Fox - #1 Target
- Democrat perennial candidate Steve Fox accidentally won a GOP held Assembly seat by only 145 votes in the 2012 Obama landslide. This makes the district target #1 for the California Republican Party.
(Sacramento Bee) - Between terse responses, his asthmatic wheeze labors across the table. Wearing a dark suit with two pea-sized stains around the buttons, Steve Fox briefly makes eye contact before shuffling across his Capitol office and returning with a collection of campaign buttons.
A half dozen pins sit snugly in the frame – Fox for hospital trustee, for college board, for city council and, improbable as it sounded at the time, for the 36th Assembly District. Fox knows nobody expected him to make it to Sacramento. When he won his seat by 145 votes in 2012, the self-described conservative and former Republican became the first Democratic legislator to represent the Antelope Valley in 34 years.
Republicans will need his seat if they want to prevent Democrats from again controlling a supermajority in the Legislature’s lower chamber. That leaves the 61-year-old freshman as the most vulnerable incumbent in recent memory.
|The district is 36.9% Democrat, 37.3% GOP |
and 25.8% independent and smaller parties.
“We picked up this seat thanks to Mr. Fox, and we are going to help him keep it,” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins said in a recent interview. “I know he comes off as a really nice, congenial, ‘thank you, Madam Speaker’ (guy). But he didn’t get elected in a district that no one thought we would take without having an underlying tenacity. He’s going to stick to it. Don’t underestimate him.”
Though Fox finished the primary 8 percentage points behind Republican Tom Lackey, the accidental assemblyman, as he’s sometimes called, has spent his life quieting skeptics. A janitor-turned-math teacher, Fox took the bar exam 28 times before opening his law firm.
“Nobody’s perfect,” he said through a nagging cough, the result of severe allergies. In the courtroom, clients say he reminds them of the disheveled but wily 1970s TV detective Columbo.
Fox estimates he’s stood for election more than 100 times going back to his youth. Asked if his wife of 33 years ever tires of the constant campaigns, he jokes that the running part she’s used to; it’s the winning that’s new. Fox was recalled 16 months after being elected to the Antelope Valley Hospital District. He ran to regain his seat and finished first among five contenders for three seats. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his own campaigns.
“He is a hardworking individual who has gotten here only through his wit and ability to maneuver,” said Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Burbank. “For me, he’s the perfect example of don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Fox’s district is centered in Palmdale and Lancaster, rival Los Angeles County cities separated by what locals call the “cactus curtain.” Experts attributed Fox’s win to a trio of factors: shifting demographics that favor Democrats, increased voter turnout in a presidential election year and a relatively uninspired campaign run by Republican Ron Smith.
Democrats are laying the groundwork to rally potential voters in what is expected to be a low-turnout year. Nancy Bednar, a political science professor at Antelope Valley College and Democratic activist, said while the party will likely exceed its goal of registering 20,000 voters, she still expects the competition to be significantly more fierce.
Read the full article . . . .
|California State Assembly elections, 2012|
|Democratic gain from Republican|
|High Desert of the Antelope Valley|
The 36th Assembly District is located in the Antelope Valley. The district includes communities in both Los Angeles and Kern Counties.
The Antelope Valley is located in northern Los Angeles County, California and the southeast portion of Kern County, California, and constitutes the western tip of the Mojave Desert. It is situated between the Tehachapi and the San Gabriel Mountains. The valley was named for the pronghorns that are said to have roamed there until being eliminated by hunters and bad weather in the 1880s. The principal cities in the Antelope Valley are Palmdale and Lancaster.