Hype over an impending vote that would replace current Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) with Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) continues to grow in the Assembly, with the vote coming as soon as later today.
The surprising possible shakeup has been in the works for weeks, with many Assembly Democrats shifting support to Rivas over several issues such as failed support for water issues, and Assembly Republicans being irked by Rendon’s recent push to stop the Republican’s efforts from halting the states gas tax. With growing discontent, Rivas pulled together a coalition comprised of Democratic Assembly caucuses including leaders of the Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, LGBTQ, Womens’, Jewish, and Progressive caucuses, as well as members of the black caucus, to oust Rendon. In addition, many Republicans have expressed willingness to back Rivas if the vote should go on to a full Assembly vote.
On Friday, with support set, Rivas announced that he had met with Rendon and discussed what a transition of power would look like.
“I am humbled to have received the necessary support of the Democratic Caucus to become the next Speaker of the Assembly,” Assemblyman Rivas tweeted on Friday. “Our coalition represents a diverse group from across the state.”
In an accompanying press release, Rendon added, “I am honored to have earned the support and confidence of my colleagues across the state. I look forward to the progress we will make together to alleviate our affordability crisis, protect our environment, and ensure that California remains a land of opportunity for every resident.”
“Anthony Rendon has been an effective and unifying Speaker, and I am grateful to him for his steady leadership, and I am confident a smooth transition of power is a shared value of ours. My family’s story is similar to the millions of immigrants who have come to California in search of a better life. It shows what is possible in our state. As speaker, I will fight to keep the door of opportunity open for future generations.”
I am humbled to have received the necessary support of the Democratic Caucus to become the next Speaker of the Assembly. Our coalition represents a diverse group from across the state. #CALeg
See my full statement below: pic.twitter.com/1U3BtDXloK
— Assemblymember Robert Rivas (@AsmRobertRivas) May 27, 2022
Rivas versus Rendon
The announcement on Friday shocked many, as it had been widely assumed that, ever since the failed attempt by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Cupertino) to oust Rendon as Speaker last year, Rendon would stay as Speaker through the end of 2024 when he would be out due to term limits.
However, the announcement gained steam during the weekend, with news coming out that 34 Assembly democrats had signed cards pledging to support Rivas in his Speaker bid. While those 34 are enough to win the needed Assembly Democrat vote of at least 30 of the current 58 Assembly Democrats to approve the change, those alone are not enough to get over the 41 votes needed. Rivas would need 41 of the current 78 Assembly members to vote for him, meaning he either needs more support from Democrats or Assembly Republican support to push him over the top and replace Rendon.
On Monday, things only grew more confusing following Rivas tweeting and promptly deleting posts that indicated he has a solid majority of the caucus and that the transition would be “respectful.”
What is going on with on the Rivas-Rendon power tussle??@AsmRobertRivas just tweeted — and then promptly deleted — this thread as rumors swirl about whether Rendon will actually concede the speaker’s chair. #CALeg pic.twitter.com/DRIdQJnbEA
— Dustin Gardiner (@dustingardiner) May 30, 2022
With hype over the vote happening as soon as today only continuing to grow, many Sacramento insiders stressed caution and that “nothing has been set in stone yet.”
“Ever since Rivas tweeted that out on Friday things have been hectic here,” explained “Dana,” a State Capitol staffer, to the Globe on Tuesday. “I mean, no one here was blind sighted by it because there had been some talk, but for him to just come out and say that he had all that support like that? That’s not usually how things are done.”
“But you have to remember, nothing is set in stone yet. We have seen Assembly members and Senators try to do things like this before. [Low] found out the hard way last year when he had some leadership positions taken away by Rendon by gunning for his job. And if Rivas fails here, Rendon will not look upon this favorably.”
“However, Rivas has much more support now than Low did, and he has almost every major Democratic caucus behind him. The GOP, of all Assembly members, may be the deciders here, and Rendon just pissed off the lot of them by not even entertaining their gas tax repeal proposal a few months ago. Plus, with Rivas not coming from a city, many rural Assembly members, many of whom are Republican, may want that kind of thinking from a Speaker, especially when things like agriculture and water are concerned.”
“This has been huge here and it really comes down to now if he can have the right number of votes.”
A vote over replacing Rendon with Rivas is expected soon in the Assembly.
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