Which Color, California?

NOV. 3, 2010


If you just look the big offices in last night’s election — governor, attorney general, U.S. Senator, et al — then it looks like the state of California is just a giant solidly blue state, cut adrift, as it were, from the red tide that washed over the rest of the nation. But those who look deeper, at congressional and legislative races, quickly see that it is not. California is more like two states (or even three): two very blue islands called Los Angeles and San Francisco surrounded by red.

For the next two years, those blue islands — Democratic fortresses, really — will dictate terms (new laws, regulations, budgets and taxes) to the rest of the mostly red state.

“The poor folks of the Central Valley are screwed,” said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, when asked about the failure of Proposition 23. Prop 23 would have suspended California’s restrictive global warming legislation (AB 32) until unemployment drops below 5.5 percent.

Currently, unemployment hovers between 12 and 13 percent. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the jobs at risk of getting dismantled and moved elsewhere by AB 32 regulations are largely in the central and inland portions of the state, which the so-called “green jobs” that will supposedly prosper under AB 32 are in the blue portions.

Of the 53 congressional districts in California, a mere 18 are now held by Republicans, according to the latest election results from the California Secretary of State’s office. While the rest of the country repudiated the left, California added Democratic seats to the state’s roster.

The lock the Dems had over congressional seats in the San Francisco region was never in doubt. Speaker of the House (for now) Nancy Pelosi won 80.4 percent of the vote, Jackie Speier 74.9 percent and Barbara Lee 83.4 percent in each of their districts.

Other Bay Area area Democrats winning statewide elections were Assembly members Tom Ammiano with 80.4 percent of the vote, Fiona Ma with 83.4 percent, and Nancy Skinner (Berkeley) with 82.8 percent. State Senator Leland Yee won 78.2 percent of the vote in his San Francisco district, and Ellen Corbett of San Leandro won 66.4 percent.

Oh, and Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer won a fourth term, soundly defeating  Republican challenger Carly Fiorina 52 percent to 42.6 percent.

There’s a lot more red in California’s Central Valley. There, where farming and water issues dominate current political debate, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-18, kept his seat with 57.7 percent of the vote, but Republican Congressional candidate Andy Vidak beat incumbent Jim Costa (D-CA 20) 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent.

Central Valley congressional incumbents Devin Nunes (R-CA 21) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 22) ran unopposed.

The 11th Congressional District race is in a tie, with Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney and challenger Republican David Harmer both holding 47.5 percent of the vote (at press time, Harmer is winning by a mere 23 votes).

Southern California remains soldly Democratic, with even the recently deceased state Senator Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) winning reelection. Incumbent Democratic Congressional members who won reelection include John Garamendi, D-Ca 10,  Zoe Lofgren, (D-CA 16), Lois Capps, (D-CA 23), Lynn Woolsey, (D-CA 6), Mike Thompson, (D-Ca 1), George Miller (D-CA 7), Sam Farr, (D-CA 17), Howard Berman (D-CA 28), Adam Schiff (D-CA 29) and Mike Honda (D-CA 15).

A national CNN  poll released right before the election showed that voters felt the country was going in the wrong direction, and most said they were worse off than during the last sweeping electoral reform in 1994. But California voters — the majority of which live in two areas not really representative of the rest of the state — obviously feel differently.

Related Articles

Poisonous Budget Spider Uncovered

FEB. 28, 2011 BY WAYNE LUSVARDI There is a line in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe where a gentleman is…

Campus Political Rally

Katy Grimes: A California State University college faculty association has organized a rally for today, encouraging urging students to vote YES

Gov. Brown signs suite of gun-control bills

  New legislation on guns was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and advanced on Capitol Hill, as California elected officials