The Calderon family: A political timeline

(Ed’s Note: Starting with Charles Calderon, a member of the Calderon family has served in the California Legislature for more than 30 years. A June FBI raid on the Capitol offices of Sen. Ron Calderon drew increased public attention to the Calderons and the influence they wield in Sacramento and at home. Following is a timeline for the Calderon family members who have served in Sacramento. Much of the material was provided by the California Journal.   





Date of birth: March 12, 1950


1980-1982: Became a CA Assembly member, 58th District


1982-1984: Ran for re-election for CA Assembly member, 59th District (Won)

–“Key District. Incumbent Marty Martinez is running for Congress, precipitating among primary battle within the Hispanic community. Several of the candidates have local-election experience, and major Louise Davis has good early name identification. Manibog and Tafoya are city council members. Duffy has worked for state Senator Joe Montoya. The Republicans have a well-known candidate in Orozco.” (CA Journal, April 1982, p.128-129)


–“With incumbent Democrat Marty Martinez running for Congress after only one term in the Assembly, a large field has formed in the Democratic primary. If the Hispanic community is divided among Charles Calderon, Richard Tafoya and Louise Davis, will Monty Manibog or Mike Duffy be able to win the primary? Duffy is an aide to state Senator Joe Montoya. Davis, Manibog and Tafoya are council members. This district has a history of primary turmoil.” (CA Journal, May 1982, p.152)


–Primary election. Calderon got 52%. Ran against Duffy, D, 21%; Manibog, D, 14%; Davis, D, 11%; Roman, D, 3%; Orozco, R, 12,717 votes (No given %); Swinney, Lib, 79 votes (No given %)


–“This is the district being vacated by Marty Martinez, who is headed for Congress. Martinez and the bulk of the Latino community unified behind Charles Calderon, member of the Montebello school board, and the race was a runaway. Calderon should lick Bill Orozco, often a GOP candidate, without much trouble.” (CA Journal, July 1982, pg.251)


–General election. Calderon got 64%. Ran against Orozco, R, 33%; Swinney, Lib, 3%


–“Charles Calderon defeated four Democrats in the primary for the seat vacated by Marty Martinez’ move to congress. After June the going was easy.” (CA Journal, December 1982, p.452)


1984-1986: Ran for re-election for CA Assemblymember, 59th District (Won)

–Primary election. Calderon got 22,529 votes (No given %). Ran against Kee, R, 11,775 votes (No given %)


–“Easy going again for Calderon.” (CA Journal, July 1984, p.267)


–General election. Calderon got 67%. Ran against Kee, R, 33%


–“Easy going again for Calderon.” (CA Journal, December 1984, p.490)


1986-1988: Ran for re-election for CA Assemblymember, 59th District (Won)

–Primary election. Calderon got 100%. Ran against Marty Martinez, R, 100%


–“No photo finish here for photographer Roger Martinez, Calderon’s GOP challenger. As a result, Charles Calderon can dip into his campaign coffers to help fund


–Democratic candidates backed by Speaker Willie Brown.” (CA Journal, July 1986, p.351)


–General election. Calderon got 71%. Ran against Marty Martinez, R, 29%


–“Calderon’s most impressive victory to date.” (CA Journal, December 1986, p.600)


1988-1989: Led the “Gang of Five”

–Members included Calderon, Gary Condit, Steve Peace, Rusty Areias and Jerry Eaves


–“Calderon plotted the overthrow of Speaker Willie Brown with the four other Assemblymembers in Paragary’s restaurant in midtown Sacramento.” (Political Almanac, 1991-92, p.154)


–“The failed attempts stripped each member of prime committee assignments and relegated to small offices with limited staff.” (Political Almanac, 2007-08, p.238)


1988: Ran for Assembly Speaker (Lost)

–Ran against Willie Brown, lost 40-34


–“In the start of the 1989 session, Calderon and his “gang of five” found a brief ally in Republican Assembly leader Ross Johnson to have Republicans vote for Calderon, but the effort failed.” (Political Almanac, 1991-92, pg.154)


–“Joyce “Sunny” F. Mojonnier, R-San Diego, voted no for Calderon as instruction from Republican leader Ross Johnson.” (Political Almanac 1989-90, p.324)


1988-1990: Ran for re-election for CA Assemblymember, 59th District (Won)

–Primary election. Calderon got 100%. Ran against Pencall, Lib, 100%


–“Gang of Five member Calderon has no challenge.” (CA Journal, July 1988, p.306)


–General election. Calderon got 87.0%. Ran against Pencall, Lib, 13.0%


–“Gang of Five member Chuck Calderon is secure in his Los Angeles County district but faces an uncertain future in Sacramento where nemesis Willie Brown once again will be speaker.” (CA Journal, December 1988, p.527)


1990-1994: Became a CA Senator, 26th District, special election

Primary election. Calderon got 100%. Joe Aguilar Urquidi, R, 99.54%; Kim Goldsworthy, Lib, 0.46%


“Charles Calderon was one of the guiding lights behind the Assembly’s Gang of Five a few years ago, and he has been itching to move on ever since the Gang’s rebellion against Speaker Willie Brown fell flat following the 1988 elections. The gold-plated opportunity to escape the Assembly presented itself early this year when incumbent Joe Montoya resigned the Senate after being convicted of extortion in federal court. Calderon entered an April special election to replace Montoya, winning the seat outright with more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary. Now, he can begin to pick up the pieces—the political pieces left behind in this district by Montoya, and the pieces of his own career left dangling by the Gang of Five episode. Oh, yes, a Republican will challenge in November. Joe Urquidi, an Alhambra businessman, is the first Republican to run in this Senate district since 1982.” (CA Journal, May 1990, p.257)


–General election. Calderon got 62.78% Ran against Joe Aguilar Urquidi, R, 32.00%; Kim Goldsworthy, Lib, 5.22%


–“Calderon moved from Monterey Park to Whittier to position himself as Joe Montoya’s successor, who, at the time, was investigated by the FBI and convicted on federal birbery and racketeering charges in 1990 . . . His only formidable opponent, Assemblymember Sally Turner, did not run.” (Political Almanac, 1991-92, p. 154)


–“After Montoya went to prison, Senate leadership made Calderon chairman of the Toxics and Public Safety Management Committee, which was an ideal seat for a politician from San Gabriel Valley.” (Political Almanac, 1995-96, p. 117)


1991: Ran for Los Angeles Board of Supervisors (Lost)

–“Calderon’s theory was that the San Gabriel Valley held the balance of votes in the new, court-ordered Hispanic seat.” (Political Almanac, 1991-92, p.154)

Still lost.


1994-98: Ran for re-election for CA Senator, 30th District (Won)

–Primary election. Calderon got 100%. Ran against Ken Gow, R, 66.12%; Araceli Gonzalez, R, 33.88%


–“New district number, same great location for Charles.” (CA Journal, May 1994, p.35)


–General election. Calderon got 67.90%. Ran against Ken Gow, R, 32.10%


–“This district covering the communities just east of downtown Los Angeles is another drawn to favor a Latino, and heavy Democratic registration made it easy pickings for incumbent Charles Calderon. Calderon’s influence in the Senate has been steadily on the rise, and next year he will chair the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.” (CA Journal, December 1994, p.36)


1994: Calderon was fined $15,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for spending $931 of campaign funds on modeling photos for his then-wife, entertainment for his son’s birthday party, and a tennis outfit. (Political Almanac 1995-96, p.117).


1996-1998: Became CA Senate Majority Leader, 58th District


1998: Ran for Attorney General (Lost)


–Primary election. Calderon got 23.58% for his party and 11.80% overall, respectively. Main democratic opponent was Bill Lockyer, D, 47.27%, 23.66%; Lynn Schenk, D, 25.03%, 12.53%. Main republican opponent was M. David Stirling, R, 66.40%, 29.49%


2006-2008: Became a CA Assemblymember, 58th District

Primary election. Calderon got 37.2%. Ran against David W. Armenta, D, 20.9%; Geraldine “Gerri” Guzman, D, 19.8%; Owen Newcomer, D, 22.1%; Jim Kleinpell, R, 100%


–General election. Calderon got 69.4%. Ran against Jim Kleinpell, R, 30.6%


2008-2010: Ran for re-election for CA Assemblymember, 58th District (Won)


–Primary election. Calderon got 100%.


–General election. Calderon got 70.4%. Ran against Carlos A. Getino, R, 29.60%


2010-2012: Ran for re-election for CA Assembly, 58th District (Won)

Primary election. Calderon got 100%. Garrett M. May, R, 100%


–General election. Calderon got 68.9%. Ran against Garrett M. May, R, 31.1%


2011-2012: Became CA Assembly Majority Leader, 58th District




Date of birth: April 8, 1954


1998-2000: Became a CA Assemblymember, 58th District

–Primary election. Calderon got 83.45% for his party and 62.92% overall, respectively. Ran against Richard Mayer, D, 16.55%, 12.48%; Albert J Nunez, R, 100%, 24.60%


–“As was the case with 50th Assembly District winner Marco Firebaugh, school board member Tom Calderon had plenty of outside help in clearing the primary field for this Latino-influenced district being vacated by future Congresswoman Grace Napolitano. Unlike Firebaugh, though, Calderon was more successful, thanks in no small measure to family ties—his brother is Senator Charles Calderon. Only water board member Rick Mayer stood in his path and while Mayer boasted some labor support, he was no match for the overwhelming forcer the region’s Latino power base.” (CA Journal , July 1998, p.52)


–General election. Calderon got 72.21%. Ran against Albert J Nunez, R, 27.79%


–“The brother of area Senator Charles Calderon, school board member Tom Calderon, benefitted from a clear field in the primary and token opposition in the general election while following in his older sibling’s footsteps.” (CA Journal, December 1998, p.39)


2000-2002: Ran for re-election for CA Assemblymember, 58th District (Won)

–Primary election. Calderon got 100% for his party and 74.4% overall. Ran against Alex A. Burrola, R, 100%, 25.6%


–“Businessman Alex Burrola scored a whopping two points better than Republican registration. Must have been the McCain Factor.” (CA Journal, April 2000, p.56)


–General election. Calderon got 75.3%. Ran against Alex A. Burrola, R, 24.7%


–“Freshman Tom Calderon had little trouble returning for a second term in Sacramento, where he will chair the Assembly Insurance Committee. Kid in a candy store? More likely, a kid bellied up to a juice bar.” (CA Journal, December 2000, p.45)


–2002: Ran for Insurance Commissioner (Lost)

Primary election. Calderon got 22.9%. Ran against John Garamendi, D, 38.6%; Tom Umberg, D, 28.3%; Bill Winslow, D, 10.2%


“Call it the Quackenbush Quotient: Take the number of insurance industry dollars a candidate receives and divide it by the number of votes they get. The result? A third place finish. That’s what happened to Democratic Assem. Tom Calderon of Montebello. Calderon’s strategy was to rake in as much money as he could from insurance companies ($1.5 million) in order to finance commercials for his campaign and then tell voters he wouldn’t be a pawn of the industry. Voters, however, clearly didn’t buy it, not after watching the last insurance commissioner, Charles Quackenbush, accept millions from insurers and later resign amid scandal.


Calderon’s Democratic rivals hammered him steadily for his insurance industry contributions while refraining from taking any themselves. John Garamendi, the state’s first insurance commissioner from 1990-94,used this strategy effectively to capture the Democratic nomination. That, coupled with solid name identification from having earlier held the office, allowed him to win the Bay Area, almost all of the Central Valley and Northern California, plus Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Garamendi’s previous stint as com- missioner came under attack by Calderon for the seizure and sale of Executive Life, an insurance company that collapsed in the early 1990s after investing heavily in junk bonds. But Calderon’s attacks failed to hurt Garamendi.


Garamendi’s closest challenger proved to be Tom Umberg, a former state assemblyman from Orange County. Umberg, like Garamendi, had to borrow heavily to finance his campaign, one that played up Umberg‘s service as a colonel in the Army Reserve to capitalize on the post-Sept. 11 patriotic fervor. The plan didn’t work. Umberg managed to win only a handful of counties, including Orange and San Diego. This was slightly better than Calderon, whose only significant victory came in Los Angeles County.


The Republican primary proved much quieter and uneventful. None of the three contenders raised enough money to hit the airwaves, so instead it became a battle for political and media endorsements. Attorney Gary Mendoza, former director of the state Dept. of Corporations under Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, and one-time Los Angeles deputy mayor under Richard Riordan, showed signs of pulling away from his three rivals when late contributions began pouring into his campaign in the closing days of the contest. Altogether, he took in nearly $90,000 in late money after raising only approximately $70,000 from January to mid February. Stefan “Watchdog” Stitch,who officially changed his middle name so it would appear on the ballot, polled five points behind Mendoza. Insurance broker Wes Bannister, who lost to Garamendi in 1990 and the GOP nomination to Quackenbush in 1994, once again had trouble raising money for his campaign. He Finished a distant third. — Noel Brinkerhoff” (CA Journal, April 2002, p.24-25)


2012: Ran for CA Assembly, 58th District (Lost)


–Primary election. Calderon got 22.7%. Ran against Patricia A. Kotze-Ramos, R, 28.1%; Cristina Garcia, D, 26.6%; Luis H. Marquez, D, 12.3%; Daniel Crespo, D, 6.5%; Sultan “Sam” Ahmad, D, 3.7%




Date of birth: Aug. 12, 1957


2002-2004: Became a CA Assemblymember, 58th District


–Primary election. Calderon got 46.0%. Ran against Charles P. “Chuck” Fuentes, D, 40.8%; Leonard Zuniga, D, 13.2%

“Clan Calderon batted .500 on Election Day. Brother Tom finished a dismal third in the statewide race for insurance commissioner. Brother Ron, on the other, hand,, won the Democratic nomination to replace Tom in the Assembly, defeating Chuck Fuentes—district aside to U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano. Calderon had plenty of backing from Sacramento, as well as strong support from the insurance industry, and some independent expenditure campaigns from the moderate Democratic JOBS PAC and from Californians United (Gallo, SEIU and Duke Energy). Fuentes, too, had independent help form trial lawyers, conservation voters and nurses, as well as a key endorsement from Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn. Trial lawyers, especially, hammered at Calderon. But Fuentes had trouble overcoming the Calderon name. Ron is the third Calderon brother to represent the area in the Legislature (following Chuck and Tom), and area lawn signs portrayed the family name in large bold letters, so that voters may not have been sure which Calderon was running. The campaign went mildly negative, with Fuentes accused of carpetbagging because he recently moved back from Washington, D.C., to run. Calderon was hit much harder over contributions form the tobacco and insurance industries.” (CA Journal, April 2002, p.43)


–General Election. Calderon got 63.50%. Ran against Dave Butler, R, 36.50%


–“Ron Calderon follows brothers Charles (1982-1990) and Tom (1996-2002) into the Assembly.” (CA Journal, December 2002, p.31)


2004-2006: Ran for re-election for CA Assemblymember, 58th District (Won)


–Primary election. Calderon got 100% Ran against Rita Topalian, R, 100%.


–General election. Calderon got 62.0%. Ran against Rita Topalian, R, 38.0%


–“Say, are there any more at home like you? Seems there always are. Incumbent Ron is the third brother to hold the seat, following in the illustrious footsteps of Charles and Tom.” (CA Journal, December 2004, p.29)


2006-2010: Became a CA Senator, 30th District

–Primary election. Calderon got 50.4%. Ran against Rudy Bermudez, D, 49.6%; Selma H. Minerd, R, 100.0%


–General election. Calderon got 71.0%. Ran against Selma H. Minerd, R, 29.0%


2007-2008: Becomes Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments


–Senate Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, appointed him


2008: Named California State Sheriffs’ Association “Outstanding Legislature for 2008”

–“I’m thankful and humbled by the honor,” said Calderon. “The men and women who protect our streets and neighborhood cannot be thanked enough for the work and sacrifice they endure. The California State Sheriff’s Association reflects great credit to all professional organizations that stand ready to protect our rights, freedom and safety.” (GovBuddy)


2008: Became Chair of the Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee

–From his website: “For too many Californians the American Dream has become the nightmare of foreclosure,” said Senator Calderon. “There has never been a more critical time for the Legislature to act. The Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee will play a central role in protecting homeowners, while ensuring the economic viability of our financial institutions that are so important to our economy.”


2008: Declines bid for 32nd Congressional Seat

–Calderon did not replace congresswoman Hilda Solis, who vacated the 32nd Congressional seat to take a cabinet post in the Obama administration. (Calderon’s website)

–“My work here in the state is far too important to my constituents and Californians to abandon my responsibilities,” said Calderon. “Californians need me at home.” (Calderon’s website)


–Calderon instead endorsed senate colleague Gil Cedillo for Solis’s congressional seat. (Calderon’s website)


–“Senator Cedillo is the right man for the job,” said Calderon. “He is a skilled legislator and the kind lawmaker who understands the needs of working families.” (Calderon’s website)


2010-Present: Ran for re-election for CA Senator, 30th District (Won)

–Primary election. Calderon got 100%. Noel A. Jaimes, R, 28.8%; Warren P. Willis, R, 71.2%

–General election. Calderon got 68.6%. Ran against Warren P. Willis, R, 31.4%


2011-2012: Becomes new Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus

–Assemblymember Tony Mendoza, D, District 56, became the new Chair. (GovBuddy)


–“I am humbled to serve as Vice Chair. I am dedicated to using this post to improve the lives of working Latino families. I will also focus on ensuring that Latino owned businesses have the opportunities to thrive,” said Senator Calderon. (GovBuddy)


2012: Ran for CA 38th Congressional Seat (Withdrew early)

–Ran against Grace Napolitano, D, Norwalk


–After withdrawal, Calderon endorsed Linda Sanchez for the Democratic ticket.


2013: On June 4,  FBI agents raided Calderon’s Capitol offices.


–The federal Investigation reportedly involves Calderon’s relationship with an L.A.-area water district, and also may include others in the family. There have been no charges, and the investigation is continuing.




Date of birth: Oct. 19, 1985


2012-Present: Became CA Assemblymember, 57th District

–Primary election. Calderon got 28.5%. Ran against Noel A. Jaimes, R, 43.8%; Rudy Bermudez, D, 27.7%


–General election. Calderon got 63.5%. Ran against Noel A. Jaimes, R, 36.5%


–“If the California dream is to be kept alive, the state needs leaders with new ideas and fresh perspectives who see a California filled with promise and opportunity; and who act out of charity, hope, and confidence not indifference, fear and hate,” said Calderon. “One of my legislative priorities will be ensuring we are educating our youth to compete in a world economy, and making sure they have a job when they graduate.” (Calderon’s website)


2013-Present: Became Chair of the Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee

–Appointed by Speaker John A. Pérez


–Pérez appointed Calderon as Chair of the Select Committee on Youth and California’s Future, to serve on the Joint Committee on Arts, and to serve as an appointee to the California Cultural and Historical Endowment.


–In addition, Calderon was assigned by Pérez to serve on the Appropriations Committee, Insurance Committee, Accountability and Administrative Review Committee, and the Human Services Committee


–“I look forward to working with my colleagues on securing a bright future for California and its youth, as well as preserving our State’s rich cultural legacy through my work on these committees and the Endowment,” stated Calderon. (Calderon’s website)

Ed’s Note: Robert Thompson is a Capitol Weekly intern from the University of California Sacramento Center’s public affairs journalism program.

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