So What Happened In California On Tuesday?
The turnout on Election Day in California was abysmal, 30%. In L.A. it was barely over half that-- 17%. Maybe eligible (non)-voters feel the system is rigged against their interests, so why bother? Why would they feel that way?
Let's look at the races for Congress. After the state's first go-round with the Jungle Primary, we have over a dozen races coming up in November that will not pit a Democrat against a Republican. We'll leave CA-2 'til the end, but let's take the others in numerical order:
CA-8, the redder half of Jerry Lewis' old San Bernardino district, was a gimme for the GOP from the day the boundaries were drawn. McCain would have beaten Obama 55-42%. But it looked like Democrat Jackie Conaway was going to at least be in the running in November. She only drew 14.7% of the vote and was beaten out by Republican Paul Cook (15.5%) and Gregg Imus (15.0%), a mere 329 vote spread between them. (And Conaway was basically tied with another Republican, Phil Libatore who she beat by 19 votes!)
CA-13 is Barbara Lee's Oakland district. She took 81.8% of the vote, the Republicans don't even try there and her opponent in November will be Independent Marilyn Singleton (12.7%).
CA-15 is a solidly Democratic district represented by Pete Stark. Under the new boundaries Obama won it in 2008 67-30%. No Republican even bothered running, so November will see Stark up against fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell. Stark pulled 41.8% and Swalwell 36.0%, with 22.2% going to an Independent.
CA-23 is part of Steve Israel's strategy of never going after any GOP leaders. Kevin McCarthy represents this Bakersfield-based district and he took 71.8% Tuesday, with no Democrat running. His opponent in November will be Independent Terry Phillips (17.5%).
CA-29 is the new Hispanic-majority district in the San Fernando Valley that Howard Berman fled from. Republicans also fled and the anointed Democrat, L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas, took 64.4% Tuesday and will face off against Independent David Hernandez (21.8%) in November.
CA-30 is the Berman-Sherman district and it was always assumed these two big-spending AIPAC-Dems would fight it out all the way to November. Berman held Sherman down to below 50% and he probably feels compelled to spend more millions of dollars on insipid ads that have pissed off everyone in the surrounding area. The result Tuesday was Sherman 31,866 (42.4%) and Berman 24,320 (32.4%). Most of the district was from Sherman's old seat and he should have done a lot better.
CA-31 was a nightmare scenario for the DCCC. It was viewed as a Democratic-leaning district (56% Obama) and the DCCC locked in a distinctly uninspiring moderate mayor of Redlands as their candidate, Pete Aguilar. They expected that carpetbagger Gary Miller would win a spot in the general-- and he did with 26.7% of the vote-- but so did local Republican Bob Dutton (24.9%), leaving Aguilar out in the cold with his 22.8%. Three other Democrats split 25.6% among them, dooming Aguilar. Heavy blow for Steve Israel and his dismally failing DCCC regime. So that was the last of the two Republican vs Republican match-ups for November. The rest are all Democrats fighting Democrats.
CA-33 is Henry Waxman's new district, which gave Obama a healthy 64-33% win over McCain in 2008. Waxman took 45.5% of the vote in a seven-way contest and his November opponent will be an Independent multimillionaire (and ex-Republican), Bill Bloomfield (24.6%).
CA-35 is where Joe Baca ran-- he actually lives in the 31st-- because it's bluer (64% Obama). But his voting record isn't. He's a Blue Dog and Tuesday he ran into trouble from a fellow Democrat, state Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (who pulled 36.4% against his 44.9%. The balance went to Green Party candidate Anthony Vieyra.) McLeod defeated Baca's son in a bitter 2006 State Senate primary.
CA-37 is Karen Bass' very Democratic new district (84% Obama) and not only did no Republican challenge her, neither did anyone else, no Independent and no Democrat. And she's a half-term freshman!
CA-40 didn't draw a Republican challenger. Obama won it with 77% and the incumbent, Lucille Roybal Allard, is popular. She took 65.9% Tuesday and her November opponent will be David Sanchez (34.1%)
CA-43 used to be an African-American district. Now it's an Hispanic district. (In any case, it's 15% white and went for Obama with 75%.) Maxine Waters is the beloved incumbent and she drew 65%. No Republican ran and the other Democrat, Bob Flores, took 35%.
CA-44 threw two Democratic incumbents together, Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson. No one else ran. It's an Hispanic-majority district (68%). Hahn took 59.8% and Richardson took 40.2%. I guess Richardson's best chance to go back to Congress in 2013 would be if Hahn gets hit by lightning.
Now the most important race of all-- at least for progressives-- CA-2, the northern California district stretching from the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border. This was mostly Lynn Woolsey's old district and under the new boundaries it went for Obama, 71-25%. With 40,000 uncounted votes, mostly from Sonoma and Marin counties, spread between the 12 candidates-- 2 Republicans, 8 Democrats and 2 independents-- there's really no way to tell what the final outcome will be, other than that Jared Huffman, a garden variety Democratic state Assemblyman will come in in first place. So he's on the ballot in November. Right now it's looking like his opponent will be the Republican Daniel Roberts or the progressive Norman Solomon. Here's the breakdown:
Jared Huffman (D) 48,001 (37.3%)
Daniel Roberts (R) 19,636 (15.3%)
Norman Solomon (D) 18,257 (14.2%)
Stacey Lawson (D) 12,919 (10.1%)
Susan Adams (D) 10,814 (8.4%)
Mike Halliwell (R) 7,711 (6.0%)
Brooke Clarke (I) 2,918 (2.3%)
Tiffany Renée (D) 2,390 (1.9%)
John Lewallen (I) 1,929 (1.5%)
William L. Courtney (D) 1,812 (1.4%)
Andy Caffrey (D) 1,289 (1.0%)
Larry Fritzlan (D) 853 (0.7%)
There are six counties in the district, listed by population. The percentage is parenthesis was the counties Obama votes in 2008:
Sonoma- 493,285 (74%)
Humboldt- 133,400 63%)
Del Norte- 29,673 (45%)
Trinty- 13,898 (51%)
So let's correlate that to their votes for the top 3 vote-getters Tuesday
Sonoma- Jared Huffman (37.2%), Norman Solomon (15.4%), Daniel Roberts (14.6%)
Marin- Jared Huffman (47.2%), Norman Solomon (14.0%), Daniel Roberts (12.8%)
Humboldt- Jared Huffman (27.5%), Daniel Roberts (18.6%), Stacey Lawson (13.4%)
Mendocino- Jared Huffman (27.4%), Norman Solomon (21.4%), Daniel Roberts (14.5%)
Del Norte- Daniel Roberts (26.7%), Jared Huffman (25.8%), Stacey Lawson (14.7%)
Trinty- Daniel Roberts (22.5%), Jared Huffman (17.7%), Susan Adams (12.5%)
Roberts' strength, as you can see, is in the tiny rural counties way up north, Del Norte and Trinity. Late vote-by-mail ballots from Sonoma and Marin, where he trailed Solomon, aren't going to help him. They're more likely to help Solomon and Huffman. Here's the e-mail, in part, Solomon sent his supporters Wednesday afternoon:
Here's the latest: The race for 2nd place-- between Norman and Republican Dan Roberts-- is extremely close. We will have greater clarity by Friday. This is not unusual in California elections nowadays, due to the large number of votes-by-mail. Tens of thousands of vote-by-mail ballots have not been counted-- including many from Marin and Sonoma counties, Democratic Party strongholds.
At this point, with 12 candidates in the race, Republican Roberts is at 15.3% and Norman is at 14.2%. They are separated by only 1,379 votes, after numbers trended in our direction all night. (At the beginning of vote-counting, Roberts was 4% ahead of Norman; the gap has shrunk to 1.1%.)
Democrat Jared Huffman is in first with 37%. Roberts and Norman are fighting for 2nd in this top-two primary at roughly 15%, and Democrat Stacey Lawson is in 4th place with about 10%.
This is NOT a recount. The original vote count is simply not finished, and second place is too close to call. We are monitoring the counting of the votes-by-mail in various counties.
If you're a DWT reader, there's a good chance you also want to see Norman win this seat. Think about making a contribution to his campaign if he wins a slot in the general. We might know later today. I'll post and update-- and tweet like mad.