Monthly Archives: November 2012

Election Blog Fond Farewell — Until Next Time!

By Lisa Aliferis, Jon Brooks and Tyche Hendricks

With the 2012 election mostly put to bed, this blog is retiring — temporarily. This post features thoughts on elections in general from KQED Election Editor Tyche Hendricks, Election Blog editor Jon Brooks and contributor Lisa Aliferis.

Tyche Hendricks, KQED Election Editor

As the dust settles on this election — with its nail-biter races that ranged from the presidential contest to board of supervisors races and local parcel taxes — it’s a good time to note that our individual votes really can make a decisive difference. It’s true, given our electoral college system, that nobody campaigns too hard for California’s votes in the presidential race. But we did have some state and local races that were decided by razor thin margins.

In two California congressional races, long-time incumbents lost their seats by just a few thousand votes out of more than a quarter of a million votes cast. San Diego Rep. Brian Bilbray and Sacramento area Rep. Dan Lungren both lost by exceedingly narrow margins. And in Alameda County, a sales tax hike for transportation projects fell just about 700 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. With more than half a million votes cast, that was a defeat by a margin of .14 percent. Continue reading

Final Update on Races Too Close to Call

Physician Ami Bera (D) won a hotly contested House seat over incumbent Dan Lungren (R). (Randy Payne/Flickr)

Physician Ami Bera (D) won a hotly contested House seat over incumbent Dan Lungren (R). (Randy Payne/Flickr)

The election blog is coming to an end soon <sniff!> so this is the last update I’ll be posting on those stubbornly close races. Most of them were decided yesterday. There are still 1.7 million votes [PDF] to count statewide.

Jump for joy or read ‘em and weep. Counties have until December 7 to send final counts to the state. The secretary of state must certify the election by December 14.

Many of the close races we have kept an eye on are in Alameda County which finished counting votes yesterday. Here is an update on all the races we’ve been following:

Congressional Races

It’s Over: Bera Beats Lungren

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Republican Rep. Dan Lungren has lost his re-election bid to Democratic challenger Ami Bera in one of California’s most hotly contested congressional contests.

Voters from the Sacramento suburbs ousted the veteran lawmaker in the race for the state’s newly redrawn 7th Congressional District. This was the second attempt for Bera, a 45-year-old physician who failed to unseat Lungren two years ago.

The Associated Press called the race for Bera on Thursday. He defeated Lungren 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.

Bera’s win adds to Democratic gains in California’s congressional races. The state’s majority party benefited from an independent redistricting process that was in full effect for the first time this year.

Before the Nov. 6 election, California’s congressional delegation had 33 Democrats, 19 Republicans and one vacancy in a Democratic district.

Quick Read: Sexy Story — That Youth Carried Prop. 30 — Is a Myth

Questions are swirling around the accuracy of this year’s California exit poll. And now CalBuzz blogger (and former San Jose Mercury news political editor) Phil Trounstine questions just how much of a role the 18 to 29-year-olds played in the passage of Prop. 30.


There’s a popular myth now in circulation – a logical conclusion from the exit polls – that says young voters were the key to Jerry Brown’s Prop. 30 victory. Surely, Gov. Gandalf’s outreach to college students and parents with young children were important factors in Prop. 30′s success.

Read more at: www.calbuzz.com

Wednesday Update on Races Too Close to Call

Ami Bera (D) is holding onto a tight, but growing, lead against Dan Lungren (R) in this Congressional race. (Photos: Republican Conference and Randy Bayne via Flickr)

The vote counting continues on. Latest from the secretary of state’s office is there are still a whopping 1.9 million votes [PDF] left to count. Counties have until December 7 to report their final results. The secretary of state will certify the election by December 14.

In particular, we’re tracking the likely Democratic supermajority in the state legislature.

In the current Congress, the 112th, Democrats hold 34 of 53 House seats. In the new Congress, the 113th, Democrats have definitively picked up two seats, a sure total of 36 seats. There are two other races too-close-to-call, but it’s looking like Democrats will win. That would bring California’s Democratic Congressional delegation to 38 seats out of 53.

Here is an update on the races we’re following:

Congressional Races Continue reading

What Inspired Californians to Vote — And What They Thought of Voting

Via Kyle Akin on Tiny Post.

More than 13 million Californians voted on Nov. 6, according to the secretary of state’s office (when factoring in the uncounted ballots). For Amelia True, her vote reflected her sense of responsibility to those who fought for women’s voting rights.

“I feel connected to my nation when I cast my vote,” she wrote in a comment on KQED’s Facebook page. “I vote because my ancestors fought tirelessly so that I could have just as much of a deciding voice about the future of my country as a man. I vote for my great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, daughters and granddaughters.”

Robert Ashton of San Rafael also commented that his family inspired him to vote.

“My WW II father (told me) me when I was eight, as he took me to the polls with him, that this — exerting our right to vote — is what we owe to those who were sacrificed in battle to preserve that right,” he wrote.

During the past few months — over a variety of projects — KQED has interviewed dozens of Californians about voting. We also asked users of the Palo Alto-based mobile app Tiny Post to share their inspiration for voting in a photograph. On Election Day we heard from more than 100 Californians about their voting experiences.

Most of the comments about Bay Area polling places were positive.

“Overall the experience was very easy, smooth, and fast,” wrote Jennifer Koth of Livermore. ”There was no wait and I felt the volunteers were personable but not pushy. I also felt good because I brought a piece of paper in listing how I wanted to vote on the issues happening in my area.”

Click on the polling locations in the map below to read what other area residents had to say about voting.

Continue reading

UPDATE: Races Too Close to Call

Dan Lungren and Ami Bera are locked in a tighter than tight race. (Photos: Republican Conference and Randy Bayne via Flickr)

The number of too-close-to-call races is shrinking. Many counties continued to count votes over the holiday weekend. They have until December 7 to report their final results.The secretary of state will certify the election by December 14.

Of special note in these races is the make up of the California Congressional delegation. You’ve heard all about the Democratic supermajority in the state legislature.

At the national level, California Democrats have also gained ground. In the current Congress, the 112th, Democrats hold 34 of 53 House seats. In the new Congress, the 113th, Democrats have definitively picked up two seats, a sure total of 36 seats. There are two other races too-close-to-call, but it’s looking like Democrats will win. That would bring California’s Democratic Congressional delegation to 38 seats out of 53.

Here is an update on the races we’ve been following:

Congressional Races Continue reading

Exit Interviews on the Exit Poll

San Francisco State University history lecturer Steve Leikin, left, talks with a student at a university election rally in October. Leikin was working with the campaign against Proposition 32. Photo by Ian Hill/KQED.

Leading California pollsters are raising questions about the accuracy of the Edison Research exit poll (viewable on the CNN website) in terms of how big a share young voters — and non-white voters — comprised of all those casting ballots in California in last Tuesday’s election.

What’s not in dispute: Young voters and “ethnic voters” (which is to say Latinos, Asian-Americans and African-Americans) played an influential role in California’s big Democratic turnout… helping to pass Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike measure, and giving President Obama a 21 percentage point edge in the already-blue state.

As we reported last week, Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo cast doubt on the share of last Tuesday’s voters who were under 30. The Edison exit poll put 18-29 year olds at 27 percent of Californians who voted in this election. But 18-29 year olds make up just 16 percent of all registered voters in the state, said DiCamillo. And in 2008 exit polling showed this age group was 20 percent of California voters.

“I certainly believe that the story line of this elections the power of ethnic voters, and that younger voters turned out in high numbers,” DiCamillo said. “It has to do with the governor [specifically Gov. Brown's campaign for Prop. 30] and online registration [which went into effect in September and has so far been used mostly by young Californians]…. But I can’t believe the 27 percent. That’s a huge number. To move the needle one full percentage point is a big thing, to move it seven or eight points is beyond credibility.” Continue reading

STILL Too Close To Call — Could Be Days; List of Undecided Contests

Dan Lungren and Ami Bera are locked in a tighter than tight race. (Photos: Republican Conference and Randy Bayne via Flickr)

Sit down and take a deep breath. The updated Secretary of State’s numbers show more than three million votes left to count.

If you’ve been following the handful of too-close-to-call races across the state, you’ll likely be waiting for a few days.

Counties have until December 7 to report their final results.The secretary of state will certify the election by December 14.

Here are the races still too close to call:

Congressional Races

  • Bera v. Lungren (7th Congressional District): Bera’s (D) lead is slim, but keeps edging up. Yesterday, he led Lungren (R) by 182 votes. Today, with an additional 40,000 votes counted, he’s up by 1,779. (105,245 to 103,466) Continue reading

Willie Brown Weighs In on Democratic Supermajority

Willie Brown served in the California Legislature for more than 30 years. (Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

This week’s buzzword in California politics: supermajority.

Democrats in California have a supermajority in the State Senate and are simply waiting for confirmation from two yet-to-be-fully-counted-but-leaning Democrat races in southern California to achieve a supermajority in the Assembly.

In case you missed it, in California politics a “supermajority” is a two-thirds majority. Most people know that any local measures to raise property taxes in California must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the people. That’s thanks to 1978′s Proposition 13. But Prop. 13 also requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature to raise taxes. While Republicans have long been the minority party in Sacramento, they wielded influence by blocking votes needed to pass a tax increase.

To find out what lies ahead in the state legislature, beyond one less road block to tax increases, KQED Forum guest host Scott Shafer spoke with Willie Brown, who served over 30 years in the state Legislature, to describe how a supermajority can change Sacramento.

Here is an edited transcript of Shafer’s interview with Brown on Friday morning’s show: Continue reading