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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 →
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 →
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.
One reaction on social media to President Obama’s re-election can be summed up by the popular meme at right.
(You’ve probably seen the president’s celebratory “Four More Years” photo everywhere on Facebook and Twitter. With more than four million “Likes,” it’s Facebook’s most-Liked photo ever. It’s been re-tweeted more than 790,000 times, the most RTs ever.)
Of course, President Obama was a social media star even before he was re-elected, and he’ll probably continue to generate a flood of Likes and RTs through the rest of his term. The Oxford Internet Institute found that the president would have defeated Mitt Romney handily if the election had been based on Twitter references. And on Thursday, the word “Obama” had been used in more than one million Tweets, according to the social search website Topsy. Also trending Thursday on Twitter in the U.S. – “Karl Rove” and “GOP.” But not really in a good way.
But since the election, another term that’s probably more of a concern to the president has started to make its way onto social media:
He’s no John Boehner, but President Obama teared up pretty good while thanking campaign workers in Chicago yesterday. For those people who like Obama, it may strike them as the best speech of his entire campaign.
I try to picture myself when I was your age — and I first moved to Chicago at the age of 25 –and I had this vague inkling about making a difference. I didn’t really know how to do it. I didn’t have the structure. There wasn’t a presidential campaign at the time I could attach myself too. Ronald Reagan had just been re-elected and was incredibly popular. Continue reading →