RECENT POSTS

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

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

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

Soda Tax Advocates Undeterred by Election Defeats

The American Beverage Association spent $2.5 million fighting the soda tax initiatives in Richmond and El Monte. (Kristin Farr/KQED)

The American Beverage Association spent $2.5 million fighting the soda tax initiatives in Richmond and El Monte. (Kristin Farr/KQED)

In Tuesday’s election, Richmond voters may have flatly rejected a move to make sodas more expensive, but it seems Richmond city councilman Jeff Ritterman isn’t ready to end his campaign to tax sugary drinks.

“I’m thinking we should do ‘14 in ’14’ — try 14 cities in 2014,” Ritterman said on election night, even as early returns foreshadowed the tax measure’s failure. “Let’s make [the soda industry] fight it in 14 cities.”

That didn’t sound like an idea completely off the top of his head, so I called California Center for Public Health Advocacy and talked to Harold Goldstein. He is a passionate advocate about the health risks of sugar sweetened beverages. His agency is advising cities interested in implementing sugar-sweetened beverage taxes and sponsored two attempts at a statewide tax.

“The first time tobacco taxes were proposed, they lost by large margins, too.”

Goldstein wouldn’t say how many cities he’s working with now — only that in the next few years, “we’ll see a lot more of them.” He said municipalities haven’t been spooked by crushing soda tax defeats in Richmond and El Monte. More than 66 percent of voters in both cities had rejected the penny-per-ounce tax on businesses selling sugary drinks, a cost businesses had been expected to pass on to consumers. Continue reading

Too Close to Call! List of Still-Undecided Contests Across California

In this 2008 photo, workers sort California mail in ballots. (Justin Sullivan: Getty Images)

In this 2008 photo, workers sort California mail in ballots. (Justin Sullivan: Getty Images)

With estimates that for the first time vote-by-mail will exceed in-person voting in California, county voting officials are presumably working hard to get all votes counted. Counties are required to report their final results by December 7, and the secretary of state will certify the election by December 14.

In the meantime well over a million mail and provisional ballots are still being counted statewide.

Here are the races still too close to call:

Congressional Races

  • Bera v. Lungren (7th Congressional District): The political newsletter The Nooner reports that Bera is ahead by 182 votes with 193,000 uncounted ballots. Next update is Friday, 3pm.
  • Bilbray v. Peters (52nd Congressional District): Only a few hundred votes separate the San Diego candidates.
  • Ruiz v. Bono Mack (36th Congressional District): Ruiz is ahead, and local media have called the race for him. But Bono Mack has yet to concede.

Assembly Races

Continue reading

What’s It Like For a Candidate to Be in a Really, Really Tight Election?

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

Democrat Ami Bera is currently up by 184 votes over incumbent Republican Dan Lungren in the District 7 House Race. And while the outcome of that particular contest is not going to determine control of Congress or anything; and while you are, also, not exactly in the habit of ascribing actual human emotions to people running for office…

If you put yourself in the place of the two candidates beyond the remembrance of their depictions in campaign ads that interrupted “Here Comes Honey Boo,” you may eventually get to a place where you realize how, for the contestants, such a close race must really suck.

Which brings to mind a post we did two years back about the 2002 election for California State Controller, when Steve Westly beat Tom McClintock by roughly 17,000 votes out of 6.5 million cast. That’s a margin of .3 percent, and it resulted in the closest California election in memory. (The 2010 Kamala Harris-Steve Cooley attorney general race was almost as close.)

Here’s Scott Shafer’s interview with Steve Westly about what it was like emotionally to get snagged on this type of nailbiting vote count, and what the candidates who do face from a logistical standpoint.

“You’ve been running with every bit of energy you have for two years nonstop and you finally get to election day and your whole psyche is based on are you going to win or not, and then you realize you’re in a close race, and you watch into the wee hours of the morning. And in my case, they literally, county by county, dismissed the vote counters at midnight or one and they still had votes to count and it was still a tie. So you’re stuck… It dragged on for I believe 21 days, and it is a little nervewracking…”

Scott Shafer interviews Steve Westly:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Who Were the Big Winners and Losers in Frenzied Spending on State Initiatives?

By Lance Williams, California Watch

Molly Munger donated $44.1 million to pass Proposition 38, a measure to raise taxes for public education. The initiative failed.

Multimillionaire activists, big labor unions and major corporations combined to pump more than $363 million into political fights over 11 propositions on Tuesday’s state ballot, a California Watch analysis shows.

Prop. 38 backer Molly Munger. (neontommy/flickr)

Prop. 38 backer Molly Munger. (neontommy/flickr)

That’s about $20 in political spending for each of California’s 18.2 million registered voters.By law, state ballot initiatives are exempt from the tough donation limits that otherwise apply in California elections.

In contests over proposed tax increases, car insurance rates, criminal justice reforms and political spending by labor unions, donors with deep pockets took full advantage.

Forty-seven donors – individuals, companies and political committees – donated more than $1 million apiece on initiative campaigns, a review of campaign finance data provided by MapLight.org shows.

Seven donors each gave $11 million or more.

The unprecedented spending spree was a sign of just how far the 101-year-old California initiative process has strayed from its origins. In the beginning, initiatives were a Progressive-era reform devised to allow ordinary citizens to sidestep a legislative process controlled by monied special interests. Continue reading

ACLU, EFF Challenge Human Trafficking Proposition in Court

Getty Images

(AP and KQED) The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging California’s new voter-approved law to boost penalties for those convicted of human trafficking and increased monitoring of sex offenders.

Voters approved Proposition 35 on Tuesday with 81 percent of the vote.

In its lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the ACLU and the EFF argue that a provision of the measure restricts the First Amendment rights of registered sex offenders.

The initiative requires all registered sex offenders in California to provide the police with their email addresses, user names and Internet service providers. Continue reading