Republican John Cox grabbed the second spot in the governor’s race and you can anticipate the three major planks of his platform for November will be the gas tax, the gas tax, the gas tax. That is one issue that separates him from front runner Gavin Newsom. Voters indicated they could be on Cox’s side.

State Senator Josh Newman was recalled by his constituents over the gas tax issue, with former Assembly Member Ling Ling Chang set to replace him and deny Democrats the two-thirds supermajority in the Senate.

Furthermore, the gas tax related issue on the statewide ballot, Proposition 69, the lockbox to assure all transportation funds will be used for transportation purposes passed by an overwhelming 80% to 20%. Voters don’t trust the legislators.

With the loss of the two-thirds vote, don’t expect Republicans to line up on any tax-and-spend issues. The last time they supported such an issue, the cap-and-trade extension, in return they got a ballot measure to require a two-thirds vote on future spending choices of cap-and-trade funds. That measure, Proposition 70, was the only one to go down to defeat on the statewide ballot.

Down Ticket Races

The most competitive statewide races in November could be down ticket. The Insurance Commissioner contest between Independent and wealthy candidate Steve Poizner and Democrat senator Ricardo Lara, one of the most liberal legislators, could well be a trend detector in where the voters are. Will they follow the march leftward under Lara or will they give hope to Independent candidates in a state where Republican influence continues to fade?

The school superintendent job will also be a donnybrook between two Democrats. Charter school supporter Marshall Tuck edged Democratic legislator and California Teachers Association preferred candidate, Tony Thurmond, in the primary. Expect the billionaire charter school supporters who backed Antonio Villaraigosa for governor but were frustrated on that front to open their wallets for Tuck.

Congressional Races

It appears the Democratic fears that they would be locked out of some congressional races was unfounded. The closely watched Orange County contests appear to have a Democrat squaring off with a Republican in November, although some votes are yet to be counted.

While the Orange County congressional seats and one in Los Angeles will be the focus of the Democrats attention in hopes of capturing the House, early indications are that the Republican held seats in the Central Valley will unlikely fall to the Democrats.


While results are not final, there could be a Republican versus Republican in one congressional seat. In the 8th District incumbent Paul Cook might be challenged by former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who has a tenuous hold on the second spot as this is written.

There likely will be an all-Democratic race in a statewide contest for Lt. Governor where former ambassador Eleni Kounalakis will meet state senator Ed Hernandez if current vote standings hold up.


As I wrote yesterday, recalls could become more popular if the two recalls on the ballot against state senator Josh Newman and judge Aaron Persky were successful. They were. Consider the recall “weaponized.”

Property Taxes

On this 40th anniversary of Proposition 13 passing, voters still support the measure and are opposed to increased property taxes as the overwhelming support of Proposition 72, prohibiting property taxes on rain capture improvements indicates. My piece on the continuing strength of Prop 13 appears in today’s Sacramento Bee here.