The Republican election day tide which saw a gain of 7 senate seats, 13 House seats and 3 governorships across the nation banged into the Sierra Nevada wall that has often separated California metaphorically from the rest of the country with Democrats once again sweeping all the statewide offices. But this time there were leaks in the wall. Republicans apparently accomplished the party’s modest goal of keeping the Democrats from capturing a two-thirds majority in the Legislature.
The Republicans might have made a bigger splash if more money was directed toward a couple of statewide candidates in competitive races. Both Secretary of State candidate Pete Peterson and Controller candidate Ashley Swearengin came within five-percent of their opponents without substantial financial support.
As part of the national trend boosting Republicans in Congress, tight races could fall to Republicans with Doug Ose and Carl DeMaio holding narrow leads early this morning. Incumbent Republican congress members Jeff Denham and David Valadao, who were supposed to be in danger when the election campaigns began, won handily. There may even be an unexpected upset of long time Democratic Congressman Jim Costa to Johnny Tacherra in CD 16.
The Secretary of State’s website is monitoring four razor thin races on a special page of the website. The close races are defined as within two-percentage points. Those races include the Costa-Tacherra contest along with two other congressional races: Brownley-Gorrell in CD 26 (current edge to Brownley, the Democrat) and Peters-DeMaio in CD 52 (current edge to DeMaio, the Republican.)
The fourth contest on that site is an all-Democratic contest for Assembly District 39, in which Assembly Revenue and Taxation Chairman Raul Bocanegra is less than one-percentage point behind Patty Lopez. Bocanegra easily took the primary with over 62% of the vote but is in danger of losing the seat to Lopez, an education advocate. Bocanegra is a leading Democrat who tried to work with the business community.
As of this writing, Governor Jerry Brown has a 17.5% advantage over Neel Kashkari. When Brown ran for re-election in his first stint in the office 36 years ago he defeated Attorney General Evelle Younger by 19.5% of the vote. It’s hard to compare the two contests, Younger being much better known at that time than Kashkari is now, but Brown not really mounting a campaign this time.
Brown’s coattails when he chose to get involved in races did not seem very effective. He campaigned in Assembly District 16 for Tim Sbranti who as of this writing is nearly 4-percentage points behind Republican Catharine Baker. He attended a rally for incumbent Al Muratsuchi in AD 66 who has apparently lost to Republican David Hadley. Meanwhile, Brown’s many radio ads in Southern California on behalf of Jose Solorio feel flat as he lost by 20-points to Republican Janet Nguyen in Senate District 34.