California Sen. Alex Padilla is campaigning hard — just not for himself.
He is working to stop the Republican takeover of the state’s Legislature, but if he wins, his likely successor, Sen. Kevin de Leon will carry on Padilla’s tradition of making his opponents’ jobs more difficult.
In his first 60 days in office, he has introduced bills that have led to a series of court rulings that are now being considered by the Legislature, according to legislative staff.
“He’s got a real hard line in terms of just going into people’s districts and getting legislation enacted,” Senate GOP whip, Rep. Mark Wyland, R-Grand Junction, said of Padilla.
Padilla, a former Air Force captain and veteran of three tours in Afghanistan has made it a signature attack on the GOP-inflicted gerrymandering of the state Legislature, a process that has allowed Republicans to create majority-leader and minority-leader positions in both chambers (House and Senate) he has targeted.
Padilla is trying to use his legislative seat to change district lines, putting Democrats in the majority-leader and minority-leader seats, to give Democrats more leverage to pass bills. But if he does prevail, it will be the first time lawmakers will have needed to use the state’s legislative map to change their own district lines.
“He’s not seeking this for himself and he’s not seeking it for his own party,” Wyland said. “He’s trying to be an anti-gerrymander. And he is successful in this district.”
In the past few weeks, Padilla has introduced a string of bills aimed at changing the way legislative districts are drawn. He started with two bills that would have created more Democrats in the majority- and minority-leader positions. He then introduced a bill that would have required that a certain percentage of the districts in the state be represented by the majority and minority leaders.
His third bill — the most controversial — would have created a requirement for legislators to draw district lines to ensure that no district is more than 30 percent Latino.