2016 Federal Election Roundup


Nov. 10, 2016

CLSA is pleased to provide you with this exclusive 2016 federal election update, and what these results mean for California’s life sciences sector. With this week’s elections, and looking forward to challenging legislative environments at all levels in 2017, CLSA has already begun the work necessary to ensure our continued success — not only with our returning allies and champions, but with the many newly elected public officials as well.

After a hard-fought, historically negative campaign, Republicans ultimately emerged victorious on Nov. 8, with President-Elect Donald Trump winning the Presidential election with 279 to 228 electoral votes over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While Arizona (11 Electoral votes, leaning Trump), Michigan (16 Electoral votes, toss-up) and New Hampshire (4 Electoral votes, leaning Clinton) remain too close to call, Trump had already secured more than the 270 Electoral votes required to win the presidency.

Republicans also maintained their majorities in both the House and Senate for the 115th Congress, marking the first time since the 2004 election that Republicans will hold the White House and both chambers in the legislative branch. Republicans now control at least 51 seats in the Senate, losing two races (in Illinois and New Hampshire) and with one race still too-close-to-call (Louisiana, leaning Republican and pending a December run-off election). In the House of Representatives, Republicans will control at least 238 seats, representing a net loss of six seats and with four races still too-close-to-call (including two races each in California, one each leaning Democrat and Republican, and two races in Louisiana, with one leaning Democrat and the other pending run-off between two Republicans in December). Despite maintaining the Senate, Republicans will still fall shy of the 60-vote threshold needed to block a filibuster.

Of California’s 55-member congressional delegation, at least 47 incumbents will return to Washington, D.C. to serve in the 115th Congress. The last three election cycles have brought incredible change to the delegation, now with nearly half of the federal legislators in the state having served less than three terms on Capitol Hill.

2016 saw another wave of long-serving members announce retirements: Reps. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), Sam Farr (D-Santa Cruz), Janice Hahn (D-Carson), Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D). Thus, the 115th Congress will usher in a new class of at least 6 New Member-Elects to the delegation, bringing the number of members in their first, second or third term to 25. Although the 2016 contest will not result in sweeping party changes for California at the federal level, the loss of institutional knowledge creates both significant challenges as well as opportunities to develop new champions for our state’s life sciences innovation ecosystem.

CLSA is well positioned to represent the life sciences sector in the upcoming Congress, having held numerous meetings and developed strong relationships with returning and newly elected members. We are excited for the opportunity to engage with these new legislators, to help them better understand and appreciate our state’s unique life sciences innovation ecosystem.

Below we have summarized some of the key changes in our delegation, and notable outcomes after Tuesday night’s election.

New Members

 California’s congressional delegation in the 115th Congress will include at least six new members:

  • CA-17: This race in the Democratic stronghold of Silicon Valley turned particularly negative in the closing weeks of the election, with 8-term incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D) filing a lawsuit against repeat challenger Ro Khanna (D) alleging that the campaign had illegally accessed data on Honda’s donors. In the end, Rep. Honda was soundly defeated with 59.8% of the vote going to Khanna.
  • CA-20: In the upper Central Coast region, Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Jimmy Panetta (D) won 70.6% of the vote and defeated Pacific Grove Councilwoman Casey Lucius (R) in this race to replace retiring 23-year incumbent Rep. Sam Farr.
  • CA-24: Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal (D) won 53.8% of the vote and defeated small businessman Justin Fareed (R) in this Central Coast race to replace retiring 18-year incumbent Rep. Lois Capps (D).
  • CA-44: In South Los Angeles, California State Senator Isadore Hall (D) ultimately lost to Hermosa Beach City Councilwoman Nanette Barragan (D), with 51.2% of the vote. This is an open seat to replace retiring incumbent Rep. Janice Hahn (D), who was elected to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
  • CA-46: In East Orange County, former California State Senator Lou Correa (D) won 70.2% of the vote to defeat fellow former California State Senator Joe Dunn (D) to replace Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D), who stepped down to run for the open Senate seat vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).
  • California Senate Race: In the statewide race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, Attorney General of California Kamala Harris (D) defeated Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) with 62.5% of the vote.

Races Too-Close-to-Call

  • CA-07: Ami Bera (D-Sacramento):
    • In a tightly contested race still too-close-to-call, two-term incumbent Rep. Ami Bera holds a narrow lead over Sacramento County Sherriff Scott Jones (R) with 50.6% of the vote.
  • CA-49: Darrell Issa (R-Vista):
    • Although this seat has typically been a safe race for Republican Rep. Darrell Issa – he won with 60% of the vote in 2014 – the 2016 election proved to be much closer than prior contests. With only 51.1% of the vote, 8-term incumbent Rep. Issa appears poised to narrowly defeat Ret. Marine Colonel and businessman Douglas Applegate (D).

Other Notable Races

  • CA-10: Jeff Denham (R-Modesto):
    • In California’s Central Valley, three-term incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham took 52.4% of the vote to narrowly defeat small businessman challenger Michael Eggman (D).
  • CA-21: Rep. David Valadao (R-Bakersfield):
    • First elected in 2012, incumbent Rep. Valadao held onto his seat in South Central California with 58.6% of the vote over civil rights attorney Emilio Huerta (D). Rep. Valadao was a 2014 recipient of CLSA’s Visionary Award, presented to federal legislators who have shown leadership and commitment to public policies that encourage biomedical research, investment and innovation in life sciences.
  • CA-25: Steve Knight (R-Simi Valley):
    • Going into Tuesday’s election, incumbent Rep. Steve Knight was ranked as one of California’s most vulnerable incumbents and the only remaining Republican congressman in Los Angeles County. Rep. Knight ultimately prevailed, holding 54.3% of the vote over challenger Bryan Caforio (D).
  • CA-31: Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands):
  • In San Bernardino, one-term incumbent Rep. Pete Aguilar held a narrow lead of 54.9% over Naval reservist challenger Paul Chabot (R).
  • CA-52 – Scott Peters (D-San Diego):
    • Since Rep. Scott Peters defeated incumbent Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) in 2012, the CA-52 race has been too close to call on election day. That changed on Tuesday when Rep. Peters soundly defeated small businesswoman Denise Gitsham (R) with 56.7% of the vote. Rep. Peters was a 2014 recipient of CLSA’s Visionary Award, presented to federal legislators who have shown leadership and commitment to public policies that encourage biomedical research, investment and innovation in life sciences.

Questions? Please contact Jenny Carey, CLSA’s Vice President of Federal Government Relations & Alliance Development (