Re-elect State Assemblymember Phil Ting to keep AD-19 on the right track.
About the Position
State Assembly Members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent, and one seat is currently vacant.
About the District
California's 19th Assembly District includes portions of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Democrats typically hold this district. Democrat incumbent Assemblymember has held this office since being elected in 2012. The most recent election results show 81.3 percent of AD-19 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, and 81.4 percent voted for Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.
About the Race
In the primary, Democrat incumbent Assemblymember Phil Ting led Republican challenger John McDonnell by a margin of 64 percent. Ting’s campaign has raised $982,630 and is funded by police money, fossil fuel money, and corporate PACs. McDonnell’s campaign has raised $1,750, completely from candidate self-financing, and has not committed to any of the pledges.
About the Candidate
Assemblymember Ting, a former assessor and recorder, is from San Francisco. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he created GoSolarSF, to increase rooftop solar installations within San Francisco, and launched Reset San Francisco, a web-based tool to facilitate interactions with the government. Additionally, he served as executive director of the Asian Law Caucus and as Community Relations Director at San Francisco State University. He is a longtime supporter of education reform and fighting for equal rights for all Californians. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Ting is running for re-election to pursue responsible budget solutions that strengthen the middle class.
Assemblymember Ting’s priorities for AD-19 this year include economic recovery, equal rights, and environmental preservation. He currently sits on four standing committees: Budget (chair), Business and Professions, Revenue and Taxation, and Utilities and Energy. Assemblymember Ting has sponsored 62 bills about public safety, housing, and the environment this year, of which 15 have been successfully chaptered. He scores a lifetime score of 97 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Ting has supported all progressive bills that made it to a vote in 2019, and supported most in the previous years. That said, in 2018, Assemblymember Ting failed to support SB 298, which would protect seasonal workers’ savings from debt collectors, and SB 64, which would require state agencies to identify ways to reduce air pollution.
Assemblymember Ting is endorsed by many progressive groups, such as the Sierra Club and the California Labor Federation. At this time, Ting does not have any problematic endorsements. However, allegations of abuse of power and exploitation have been brought forward against him by a domestic worker with whom he was having an affair. During their affair, the woman testified in Sacramento on behalf of two workers’ rights bills, one of which was authored by Assemblymember Ting. The affair was originally reported on by a conservative news site, and the woman is now campaigning on behalf of Proposition 22, which would repeal part of AB 5. Assemblymember Ting admitted to the affair, but denied that it influenced his work in the legislature. He has long been an ally to labor and an advocate for workers’ rights. At this time, there has been no investigation conducted to determine the actual circumstances of the power dynamics and the affair between the two. Christine Pelosi, chair of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, said in response to the allegations: “There should be an investigation and a resolution one way or another, because otherwise the message it sends is that if you have powerful friends and people are otherwise distracted, you can get away with things that are not appropriate. And, if in fact, it was all a personal matter, then that should be brought to light too, in fairness to him.”
At the end of the day, McDonnell’s potential policies greatly outweighs Ting’s inaction on campaign financing and unresolved allegations. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Ting is the strongest choice for representative leadership in office.