In the classic 1976 movie Network, Peter Finch, in the role of TV anchorman Howard Beal, yells “I’m made as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
Looking at the paltry 30 percent statewide voter turnout on Tuesday, most California voters must be yelling, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to vote anymore.”
But the low turnout is what the California Republican Party needed – and prayed for – to be able to beat back the Democratic effort to maintain super-majorities in the state Senate and Assembly, especially in those districts that had large numbers of Latino voters.
Three Democratic incumbents were defeated for reelection: Steve Fox (AD36-Antelope Valley); Al Muratsuchi (AD66-Torrance/Palos Verdes Peninsula); and Sharon Quirk-Silva (AD65-Anaheim/Fullerton).
They were the first Democratic incumbents to be defeated for reelection since 1994 – twenty years ago – when state Senator Dan McCorquodale, of Modesto, lost to Republican Dick Monteith, of Turlock (old SD12). It is interesting to note that the Republican consultant who ran the Monteith race that year was Steve Presson, who, this year, managed the campaign of Muratsuchi’s GOP opponent, David Hadley.
Trying to shed their image of being the “white man’s party,” the Republican leadership worked hard to elect three Asian women to the state legislature, all from Orange County: Janet Nguyen, who is Vietnamese American; Ling-Ling Chang, who is Chinese American; and Young Kim, a Korean American.
However, two Latino Republicans running in same party runoffs, Rudy Mendoza, the early favorite to succeed termed out Asm. Connie Conway, and Bonnie Garcia, who ran for an open Riverside County state Senate seat, was both defeated by their white male opponents, leaving Rocky Chavez as the sole Republican Latino in the state legislature.
In the battle for the House, four races are too close to call: Doug Ose, who challenged incumbent Democrat Ami Bera, now leads Bera by 3,011 votes; Jeff Gorell, who challenged incumbent Democrat Julia Brownley, is 530 votes behind Brownley; and Carl DeMaio, who challenged incumbent Democrat Scott Peters, now leads Peters by 752 votes. The fourth race is between Democratic Rep. Jim Costa and Republican Johnny Tacherra, a local dairy farmer of Portuguese descent who spent no money and is now leading Costa by a margin of 736 votes (50.5% to 49.5%). Should he maintain this lead, it will be the biggest upset of this election cycle.
With over a million votes yet to be counted, Campaign 2014 is not yet over.