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East Bay Institution Pete Stark Toppled by Novice Eric Swalwell

Undated Stark campaign button shows unseated Congressman's history. (Mpls55408: Flickr)

Undated Stark campaign button shows defeated Congressman's history. (Mpls55408: Flickr)

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark lost his re-election bid to Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin city councilman Eric Swalwell — who won with 53 percent of the vote.

It had been a bitterly fought campaign, with sometimes strange allegations from Stark. As KQED’s Cy Musiker reported, “Stark accused Swalwell, without evidence, of taking bribes; he was forced to apologize; and he wrongly accused newspaper columnist Debra Saunders of making political donations to Swalwell, again apologizing after.”

Stark issued a statement this morning:

It has been my honor to serve the people of the East Bay for the last 40 years. I have worked hard to deliver results: accomplishments like writing the COBRA law to make health insurance portable between jobs, bringing the first computers to schools, and crafting President Obama’s groundbreaking health care law. Continue reading

Video: Karl Rove Stages Mini-Revolt on Fox News Over Ohio Call

President Obama won the swingingest of all states last night, Ohio, possessor electoral votes so important that New York Times polling guru Nate Silver had written that it had a 50 percent chance of deciding the election.

As the night shaped up, the state was so critical to any hopes Mitt Romney had of staying in the hunt, that Fox News analyst and Republican mastermind Karl Rove engaged in a public display of wishful thinking after the network called the election for Obama based on the projection that he would win Ohio. Rove actually staged a mini-revolt on-air by challenging Fox’s decision to put the state in the Obama column. He claimed that with just 74 percent of Ohio precincts tallied and Obama’s lead narrowing, it was too early to make a determination one way or the other, as there were too many votes to be counted in the Republican suburbs of Hamilton County. “As they’ve started to come in, they’ve narrowed that margin dramatically,” Rove said.

“I’m going to ask you a straight-out question,” said anchor Chris Wallace. “Do you believe Ohio is settled?”

“No I don’t,” said Rove, who went on to explain there were still more “big chunks” of the Republican vote left to count.

Watch…


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The House: Berman on Sherman and More Political Fratricide in California

What's more awkward than two belles sharing the same stage in the same dress? Two political candidates from the same party in a knock-down, drag-out fight to the bitter finish in November!

What's more awkward than two belles sharing the same stage in the same dress? Two political candidates from the same party in a knock-down, drag-out fight to the bitter finish in November!

Granted, California was not a swing state in the presidential election. We’re so dominated by Democrats, it’s hard to imagine anybody so much as blinked when Barack Obama won here. And Dianne Feinstein’s next term in the U.S. Senate? Even loyal Republicans were calling that one for her before the ballots were published.

But even in a True Blue state like this one, there was plenty of blood spilled in the California delegation to the House of Representatives. Between the way Congressional districts were redrawn after the last US Census and the state’s new top-two primary system, the stage was set for some high-pitched theater in two Republican districts and six Democratic ones. You might think that Democratic Party leaders would gather in some smoke-filled room somewhere in California and make the decisions required to avoid one party member going up against another. That’s not how it played out.

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Live Blog Preview: For First Time in Memory, A Dozen California House Races in Play

Twenty-term incumbent Pete Stark has a well developed get-outo-the-vote operation, but his opponent, Eric Swalwell, is capitalizing on Stark's reported negative attributes. (Photo: Cy Musiker)

It's been a rough re-election season for longtime incumbent Pete Stark. (Cy Musiker: KQED)

At one time, Nancy Pelosi eagerly lay in wait to retake her House speakership this election cycle. But it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. The U.S. Congressional generic ballot shows Democrats and Republicans are neck and neck, but the GOP currently holds a 50-seat advantage. The Democrats would have to gain 25 seats to take control.

Complicating things this year in California: redistricting completed by a citizens commission instead of the Democratic-controlled legislature that used to gerrymander their own; and the new “Top Two” primary system — which sent the two candidates with the most votes in the primary to the November election regardless of party affiliation. These changes have put a dozen seats in play, a far greater number than usual.

Tuesday night, KQED will follow what are expected to be the closest House races in California. They are:

Dan Lungren (R) vs. Ami Bera (D): 7th Congressional District

A rematch in what’s considered to be one of the tightest races in the country. KQED’s Tara Siler has been following the race. She reports:

Democrats really see an opportunity here to pick off a conservative Republican, and an incumbent at that. It’s attracted a lot of money, and it’s one of the most expensive races in the country. And a lot of it is being thrown at Lungren by these outside groups.

So much has been thrown at Lungren, in fact, that Lungren is now ahead of his party in calling for campaign finance reform. Continue reading

Live Blog Preview: 9 Key U.S. Senate Races; Final Polls

Tonight we’ll be live blogging presidential results, U.S. Senate races, hotly contested House seats in California, propositions, select State Assembly results, and local contests around the Bay Area. Here’s a look at some races that could tip the balance between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Also see our presidential race live blog preview.

Senate in session, 1999. (CSPAN)

The Democrats currently hold a 53-47 advantage in the U.S. Senate, and conventional wisdom is they are going to maintain their majority after today’s election. And by conventional wisdom I mean that New York Times polling whiz Nate Silver (whom some people put more stock in than the metal silver, at this point), says there’s a 95.3 percent chance of that happening. On the other hand he also prognosticates the final Senate tally at 52.5 Dems, 47.5 GOP.  What’s that supposed to mean? Is it because Barbara Boxer’s 4’11″?

(Some Bay Area liberals, who have been complaining about Boxer’s centrist ways for years, might claim he’s talking about Dianne Feinstein — who is expected to coast to victory, by the way.)

Perhaps Silver’s referring to a presumed win by Angus King, the Maine independent, currently leading both his Democratic and Republican rivals in the polls. Maine is one of the seats in play. Here’s a look at all of the races that could have a significant influence on which party controls the Senate.

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Live Blog Preview: Obama vs. Romney; Final Swing State Polls

Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama at the first presidential debate.

STF/AFP/GettyImages

Tonight we’ll be live blogging presidential results,  U.S. Senate races, hotly contested House seats in California, propositions, select State Assembly results, and local  contests around the Bay Area. A look at the presidential picture, below. Also see 9 Key Senate Races.

The other day one of our reporters who drew the assignment of gathering local reaction to the presidential election asked the practical question, “Should I go out on the streets or go into the bars?”

The answer, of course: depends who wins. If it’s Obama, I say our reporter should head for the celebrations in the street. If it’s Romney, hit the drinking establishments and home in on the sad sacks throwing down double bourbons like a bereft Humphrey Bogart trying his best to forget Ingrid Bergman. And don’t forget to keep your ears open for mumbling about “moving to Canada” and “goddamn Ohio.”

Meaning, of course, it’s no secret who a sizable majority of the people within the sound of KQED’s radio signal will be rooting for. The Bay Area is sort of the home field for the Democratic team, which you can confirm either by looking out your window at the political signs, checking your Facebook friends’ status updates, or browsing the 2008 election results by California county; Obama’s majority ranged from 63.5 percent in Solano to 84 percent in San Francisco. Because the left-of-left constituency here may grumble about the Democratic squad during the season, but when it comes to the World Series, everyone’s wearing the correct hat. Continue reading

PBS NewsHour Live Streaming Coverage

PBS NewsHour will provide comprehensive, multi-platform coverage throughout Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, beginning at 5 p.m. PT, continuing through the regular PBS NewsHour broadcast until at least midnight.

The PBS NewsHour politics team will provide in-depth reports, extensive analysis and live results until the winner of the White House is announced and beyond.

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Obama, Romney Race to Reach Every Voter in Battleground States

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The White House the prize, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney raced through a final full day of campaigning on Monday through Ohio and other battleground states holding the keys to victory in a tight race. Both promised brighter days ahead for a nation still struggling with a sluggish economy and high joblessness.

“Our work is not done yet,” Obama told a cheering crowd of nearly 20,000 in chilly Madison, Wis., imploring his audience to give him another four years.

Romney projected optimism as he neared the end of his six-year quest for the presidency. “If you believe we can do better. If you believe America should be on a better course. If you’re tired of being tired … then I ask you to vote for real change,” he said in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital. With many of the late polls in key states tilting slightly against him, he decided to campaign on Election Day in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he and Republicans made a big, late push.

The presidency aside, there are 33 Senate seats on the ballot Tuesday, and according to one Republican official, a growing sense of resignation among his party’s rank and file that Democrats will hold their majority. Continue reading

Comfortably Ahead in Polls, Feinstein Looking to Another Term

By Judy Campbell

Senator Dianne Feinstein has held her seat for 20 years, and this fall, she’s running for another six-year term. Feinstein’s got a huge lead in the polls, and she’s a Democrat in a largely Democratic state. But there is a Republican hopeful vying for her seat.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein official photo

It’s dusk in Anaheim, and Elizabeth Emken is at a gala charity event for injured veterans. She’s talking politics, but the conversation also turns to her autistic son Alex. It’s his condition that got her involved in politics.

Emken launched the lobbying arm of the national organization Autism Speaks and helped pass bills that improved insurance coverage for autism. As a candidate for Senate, she supports a small government and low taxes, Arctic drilling and repealing Obamacare.

She doesn’t apologize for her lack of experience in elected office. “We have got to get back to sending people to Washington who understand what families are going through. My husband and I have a mortgage. I’ve got three kids in school. We work for a living.” Continue reading

California’s Mormons Not Necessarily United for Romney

By Stephanie Martin

(Pferriola: Flickr)

The temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Oakland. (Pferriola: Flickr)

Since first arriving in California in the mid-1800′s, members of the Mormon faith have played an active role in the state’s civic and cultural life.

They’ve colonized settlements, built businesses, served in the legislature, and — as recently as four years ago — Mormon congregations helped get out the vote for Proposition 8, the statewide ban on same sex marriage.

The Mormon church officially holds a neutral position about Mitt Romney’s candidacy for president. But during the campaign I’ve spoken with individual Mormons around the state about the intersection of faith and politics in this year’s presidential election.

Just like other religious groups in America, “(Mormons) are not a solid and completely monolithic voting block.”

In general the California Mormons I spoke with agreed that counting a U.S. president among their ranks would mark an important first for their faith. But when I asked how they felt about the man who could win that distinction — Republican nominee Mitt Romney — I heard a wide range of opinions.

I met Modesto resident Tresa Edmunds at a San Francisco gathering called “Circling the Wagons” — part of a series of supportive conferences for gay and lesbian Mormons, their family and friends. Edmunds was raised Mormon. Continue reading