The Calderon dynasty: 30 years of political power

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit examines the Calderon family’s ups and downs since its patriarch’s first big win

1982: A dynasty begins

Charles Calderon wins a seat in the California State Assembly to represent District 59. A political dynasty is born.

1988: Charles Calderon’s big ambitions

Walt Zeboski/AP

Charles Calderon leads the Assembly‘s “Gang of Five” — along with Gary Condit, Steve Peace, Rusty Areias and Jerry Eaves — in an unsuccessful bid to oust Willie Brown as speaker. Brown strips the Gang of Five members of their committee chairmanships and assigns them to small offices.

1990: Move to the Senate

Charles Calderon is elected to the California State Senate, representing suburban Los Angeles.

1991: Electoral defeat

Charles Calderon runs unsuccessfully for the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors.

1994: Misusing campaign funds

Charles Calderon is re-elected to the Senate. He is also fined $15,000 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for using campaign funds for personal purposes, including purchasing modeling photos of his wife, a tennis outfit and an entertainer for his son Ian’s birthday party.

1996: Making political history

Charles Calderon becomes Senate majority leader, the first Latino to hold the position in California.

1998: Thomas Calderon enters politics

Charles Calderon gives up his Senate seat due to term limits and runs unsuccessfully for California attorney general.

Charles’ younger brother, Thomas Calderon, wins the Assembly seat for District 58.

2000: Thomas Calderon controls Insurance Committee

Thomas Calderon is re-elected to his seat in the Assembly and becomes chairman of the Insurance Committee.

2001: Charles Calderon fined again

Charles Calderon is fined $18,000 by California‘s Fair Political Practices Commission for 10 campaign finance violations, including spending campaign funds for personal use and failing to report contributions during his bid for state attorney general in 1998.

2002: Ronald Calderon joins family business of politics

Thomas Calderon runs unsuccessfully for the Assembly’s 58th District after Charles Calderon becomes ineligible to run because of term limits.

2006: Ronald Calderon joins the Senate

Ronald Calderon leaves the Assembly and is elected to a seat in the state Senate. Meanwhile, Charles Calderon wins the Assembly’s District 58 seat.

2007: The movie business

S Bukley/Shutterstock.com

Ronald Calderon becomes a member of the California Film Commission, which promotes the California movie industry and determines which film projects receive a piece of the $100 million in state tax credits offered annually.

2008: Ronald Calderon heads Insurance Committee

Ronald Calderon becomes chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee.

2011: Swelling influence in new positions

Charles Calderon becomes majority floor leader of the Assembly.

Ronald Calderon becomes vice chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.

2012: The dynasty continues

Thomas Calderon runs unsuccessfully for the Assembly’s 58th District after Charles Calderon became ineligible to run due to term limits.

Ronald Calderon launches a campaign for the U.S. Congress but withdraws his candidacy early.

Ian Calderon, the son of Charles Calderon, wins a seat in the Assembly representing the 57th District. He is assigned to the Insurance Committee.

Al Jazeera Investigative Unit

Related News

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter


Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter