fbpx Skip to main content

BioCommunique Article

With ballots still being counted, here’s what we know so far and how California life science companies could be impacted.

Election 2020: Federal, State, and Local Results

  • 2020-11-12T20:00:00.000+0000
  • California
  • Author: Jimmy Jackson

Amidst a year with many plot twists, the 2020 Election has been no exception.

This past weekend, Joe Biden was projected to have been elected the 46th president of the United States after winning Pennsylvania, putting his total Electoral College count over the 270 needed to secure the presidency, though it has not yet been verified by the Electoral College and is still being disputed in some states. Democrats will maintain their control in the House of Representatives, although Republicans also made gains there—so far netting 9 seats (with 16 races not yet called). Control of the Senate will depend on the two runoff elections in Georgia on January 5.

We also saw the impact of changes to state elections in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 100 million Americans voted early, absentee or by mail this year.

A more granular look into the election results today reveal that Californians selected a Biden/Harris administration at 64.2% (10,341,264 votes) with 95% of votes counted, a 3% spread from 2016’s Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Appointing a new Senator to fill Harris’ seat will be the task of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom if the election results hold, and the appointee would serve out the remainder of Harris’ term through 2022.

While this year’s election exposed much tension at the federal and regional levels, the way business is done in Sacramento is not likely to change greatly because of the results, as Democrat to Republican ratios stayed largely the same in both houses of the legislature. Going forward, this means Democrats continue to control the Governor’s office while holding very strong supermajorities in both the Assembly and Senate. This will allow Democrats the ability to pass bills requiring a supermajority, including the budget and such issues as raising taxes, without the need to court Republican votes.

California voters also weighed in on Proposition 14, the only ballot measure endorsed by Biocom, which will extend California’s Stem Cell Research Institute Bond Initiative. The poll continues to edge towards victory with a slight two-plus percentage point lead. This measure would make available $5.5 billion in state bond funding to be granted for stem cell work through a competitive peer-reviewed process, and its renewal is critical to continue the pioneering work being done in California in stem cell research.

With a further focus on measures that may impact the life science industry and its companies, Proposition 15 proposed to raise property taxes for many businesses by creating a “split roll property tax” system whereby businesses would be reassessed regularly and taxed on the revised value of their property. Although votes are still coming in, this measure is considered defeated at 48% to 52%. Full state ballot measure results can be found here. Biocom will keep you abreast if the results of any of these races change before their December 11th certification by the California Secretary of State.

In San Diego, the makeup of both the County Board of Supervisors and City Council shifted to the left, as many Democratic candidates came out ahead in local races. In Los Angeles, several elected officials switched roles, and all will be watching to see whether President-Elect Biden calls on any local elected officials to serve at the federal level. And in the Bay Area, many East Bay incumbents were victorious, San Francisco passed a sweeping business tax overhaul , and Proposition L approval also makes San Francisco the first city in the nation to levy an “overpaid executive tax.” See a detailed breakdown by region here.

In a time of change for our country and industry, California Senator Kamala Harris is poised to take the podium as the first woman, African American, and Asian American to become Vice President. And on a local level, Assemblymember Todd Gloria was elected as San Diego’s first mayor of color, and the first mayor who self-identifies as gay. With a number of ballots still in counting and election results still looming, the one thing that is for certain is that the life science industry must continue navigating the unprecedented path of ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis, right alongside the outcomes of the 2020 election results.

For a more detailed look at the election and its impacts going forward, as well as other important information about Biocom’s policy activities, please subscribe to the Biocom Public Policy newsletter.