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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

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

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

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

Is California About to Become a Democratic Wonderland?

California Democrats have ample reason to smile. Their party appears to be on the way to gaining a supermajority in both legislative houses — the first time for either party party since 1933, and a tax increase the governor has made the centerpiece of his plan to stave off further budget cuts looks to be on its way to passing as well.

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at L.A. City Hall on the state budget earlier this year. (Kevork Djansezian: Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown, a big winner yesterday, at LA City Hall earlier this year. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“Everything that the Democrats did is historic,” John Myers told KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasny on Wednesday. “The governor did something that did not happen the last eight times someone [tried] to raise taxes on a statewide ballot. Last night he got a tax increase, almost I would call a general tax increase, though it was supposedly earmarked for schools.

“If these numbers hold, it’s a very fascinating dynamic for Democrats in California and for a Democratic governor here in Sacramento.”

Democrats might think the word “fascinating” an understatement. After all, doesn’t a supermajority mean they can push through tax increases without the help of intransigent Republicans? (Proposition 13 requires tax hikes to be passed by a two-thirds majority of both houses, and Republicans have shown no willingness to play ball.) Continue reading