March 26, 2014 | San Francisco Chronicle
The federal corruption and bribery charges leveled against state Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco mark the third embarrassing scandal this year for Senate Democrats and their party, which controls both houses of the state Legislature and every statewide office in California. Coming on the heels of recent tangled legal troubles of two high-profile Los Angeles County Democratic state senators - Ron Calderon of Montebello and Roderick Wright of Inglewood- Yee's arrest may now hand the beleaguered state Republican Party an opening in a midterm election year, political observers say. California Democrats, already challenged in 2014 elections by a more energized and angry GOP electorate, are now "at substantial risk," said Larry Gerston, a professor of political science at San Jose State University. The Democratic Party's latest troubles with Yee come weeks after Calderon became the high-profile target of FBI investigations that resulted in federal corruption charges after he was accused of accepting almost $100,000 in bribes in tony meals and fancy golf games. Yee's headline-making arrest Wednesday creates at the very least a major image problem for Democrats, as voters may well "begin to wonder if the (Democratic) leadership there has just gone amok - perhaps out of complacency, perhaps out of a false sense of security," Gerston said.