While it's sheer size alone makes any California election a focus of national attention, a combination of high-profile and big money races in this particular mid-term will make the Golden State among the most closely watched in the nation. Control of the senate could hinge upon the outcome of Carly Fiorina's bid to replace Barbara Boxer, while Meg Whitman's $160 Million campaign for Governor has been one of the biggest national stories of this campaign cycle. Likewise, high-profile ballot initiatives like Prop 19, which would legalize and tax marijuana in the state, and Prop 23, which would repeal California's climate laws, could have major implications for the country as a whole.
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11/03/2010 3:48 PM EDT
Attorney General Update
LA City Councilman Eric Garcetti tweets: Kamala Harris up by 22,299 votes with about 22,400 votes to count. Then come absentees and provisionals...looking promising!
11/03/2010 2:44 PM EDT
What Can Obama Learn From California?
Quite a bit, says the LA Weekly:
One of the main questions for political observers, however, was whether or not the Democrats would get their voters to turn out and vote. With the numerous wins of statewide offices held up as evidence -- from Democratic governor-elect Jerry Brown to Democratic lieutenant governor-elect Gavin Newsom to successful Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer -- apparently they did.
Is it really that simple? Make sure you register more voters than the other party and then be damn certain that those people hit the polls? Maybe so.
It also helps, as the experts often told the Weekly, to have an Independent vote that's middle-of-the-road libertarian and gets spooked by overly conservative candidates, such as Republican senatorial hopeful Carly Fiorina.
Obama's political crew is no doubt crunching the voter data in California. If not, they should be.
11/03/2010 1:52 PM EDT
KNX reporting Fiorina has officially conceded.
Now just waiting on news from the AG race...
11/03/2010 12:09 PM EDT
What We're Still Waiting For
At this point all of the major statewide races have been called except that for Attorney General, which saw Kamala Harris with a big jump overnight. The latest numbers from the Secretary of State show Harris edging out Cooley 46.1%-45.6%, with 96.9% or precincts reporting. We'll keep an eye on this...
11/03/2010 11:56 AM EDT
Jerry Brown Wins Easily
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Democrat Jerry Brown was elected California governor on Tuesday in an extraordinary political encore, defeating billionaire Republican Meg Whitman and the $142 million she spent of her own fortune as he reclaimed the office he held a generation ago.
The victory by the 72-year-old state attorney general leaves him with the enormous task of lifting the state out of a recession and driving down a persistently high jobless rate. The former Jesuit seminary student said he would be up to it.
"I still carry with me my sense of that kind of missionary zeal to transform the world," he said. "And I'm hoping and I'm praying that the breakdown that's gone on for so many years in the state Capital - and we're watching it in Washington - the breakdown paves the way for a breakthrough."
Brown was California's 34th governor during his previous tenure from 1975 to 1983, and now becomes its 39th.
"It looks like I'm going back again," Brown said as he took the stage at the historic Fox Theater in Oakland to chants of "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry."
Whitman conceded and said she called Brown to wish him well.
"Tonight has not turned out quite as we had hoped. We've come up a little short, but certainly not for lack of hard work, determination and a clear vision for making our state better," she told supporters at Universal City near Los Angeles. "We overcame great obstacles to get this far, and I could not be any prouder of the race we have ran. And I gave it my all, and so did you."
Brown's victory over the former eBay chief executive brought the office back under Democratic control. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's term will end in January after a little more than seven years in office.
Schwarzenegger congratulated Brown in a statement and praised him for his "lifetime of public service." He pledged to work with Brown for a smooth transition.
The son of a former two-term governor, Brown has spent a lifetime in and out of politics that began when he was seated on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees in 1969.
As the campaign entered its final days, Brown promoted his deep ties in California, with family roots stretching to the Gold Rush era, presenting an image of a native son deeply connected to the place he will oversee for a second time.
His win over Whitman in a governor's race that set a campaign spending record came in a year when Republicans appeared to have the edge and were expected to win a majority of governor's seats across the country. Including contributions from others, Whitman's total spending was expected to exceed $162 million.
Brown, who has run for president three times and lost a run for U.S. Senate, returns to the governor's office as a more mature but still unconventional politician, one who often speaks his mind and rarely relies on a script or notes when he goes before a crowd.
The campaign for governor turned increasingly negative in the final weeks, when the airwaves were filled with attack ads.
Whitman's campaign was knocked off message when it was revealed that she had employed an illegal immigrant housekeeper for nine years, undermining her warnings that employers should be held responsible and fined if they hire illegal workers.
Brown faced his own controversy after a Los Angeles police union released an audio tape of a private conservation between Brown and his campaign staffers. A female aide was overheard calling Whitman a "whore" for currying favor with the union to win its endorsement.
The controversies at times overshadowed debates on more substantive issues such as job creation, the budget deficit, college costs and public education.
Brown's prize for returning to the Capitol is trying to lead the troubled state out of high unemployment, a stagnant economy and political gridlock. He is expected to face a multibillion dollar budget deficit and has said he will start meeting with lawmakers as soon as December to find solutions.
Successive years of steep deficits have left the state's general fund with $15 billion less than it had just three years ago, leading to severe cuts in many state programs and higher costs for college and university students.
When he is sworn in this January, Brown will be the second oldest governor to hold the office, after Gov. Frank Merriam, who turned 74 during his final weeks in office in 1939. Brown will be 76 at the end of his term in 2014.
Brown was eligible to run because his previous stint as governor came before voters enacted term limits.
Only one other California governor has served three terms, Republican Earl Warren, who became the 14th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Warren resigned the governor's office with a little more than a year left in his final term.
Brown's father, Gov. Pat Brown, lost his 1966 re-election attempt for a third term to Ronald Reagan.
11/03/2010 2:21 AM EDT
Looking Like A Long Night?
That certainly did not sound like a concession speech from Fiorina.
11/03/2010 2:02 AM EDT
Apologies For The Delay In Updating ReturnsCalifornia Secretary of State's computers are down:
The normal tension of election night was ratcheted up Tuesday when the Secretary of State’s website showing election returns was overloaded with traffic, so that many people were having trouble calling up election results even after 10 p.m.
The state agency, which has notoriously had problems with its computers, put up an alternative posting of all election results while it tried to work out the problems, according to spokeswoman Nicole Winger.
The state was using a "cloud computing" system in which at least 50 servers outside the Secretary of State’s office were being used to manage the heavy traffic.
11/03/2010 1:42 AM EDT
Senate Race Not A Done DealAt least the SF Chronicle doesn't think so:
So don't go to bed just yet. The Senate race is still pretty close, but here's a few things to consider: LA County -- home to the largest chunk of voters (4 million) -- still hasn't reported in more than about 300,000. And Boxer is counting on snagging 55 percent of that. No complete count from liberal-heavy Alameda County, either.But Orange County hasn't weighed in and that's largely Carly Country. Neither candidate is sprinting downstairs to make a speech yet.
11/03/2010 1:30 AM EDT
Let's Wrap This Up, Guys...
Schwarzenegger congratulates Brown, yet Whitman does not concede.
11/03/2010 12:48 AM EDT
And The Moment You've All Been Waiting For...
|@Schwarzenegger: I promised I would tell you how I voted today. Prop 19: no. 20: yes. 21: no. 22: no. 23: no. 24: no. 25: no. 26: no. 27: no. That's it!|