The outcome, in a nutshell’s nutshell: Great night for Republicans, considerably lousy one for Democrats. Republicans just about ran the table in the House, surpassing even the upper end of projections with a 60-seat gain. That’s an even more sweeping victory than the 52-seat gain that ushered in the Newt Gingrich era in 1994. John Boehner is now the presumptive House Speaker, and Nancy Pelosi the presumptive ex-Speaker.
Democrats fared a little better in the Senate, where Republicans picked up five seats, falling five short of the needed votes to win a majority. They also captured a symbolic prize: Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illionois, and vanquished liberal stalwart Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. But two of their most sought-after quarries, Barbara Boxer and Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, avoided the deluge and were sent back to Washington. Republicans also swiped at least 10 governorships from Democrats.
That’s nationally. While, like everyone else, Californians may still be seeing red, not so on the election map. The true-blue Golden State not only re-elected Boxer, but re-elected Democrat Jerry Brown–35 years apart–as governor. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, took the Lieutenant Governorship away from incumbent Republican Abel Maldonado. And with 96% of the vote in, Democrat Kamala Harris, also from San Francisco, is ahead of Steve Cooley in the Attorney General’s race, by about 40,000 votes–too close to call.
Cooley is expected to appear at a press conference in L.A. at 10:30 a.m. (UPDATE: Cooley has cancelled the press conference.)
Voters also rejected Proposition 23, which would have rolled back the state’s landmark anti-global warming law, and Proposition 19, which attempted to legalize marijuana. And a pair of fundamental laws that will change how California governs itself passed: Under Proposition 25, Democrats, who have a large majority in the state Senate and Assembly, will now be able to enact a budget with a simple majority vote. That may be a mixed blessing, however, as a two-thirds margin is still necessary to raise taxes, and the passage of Proposition 26 will force lawmakers–state, county, and municipal–to put together that two-thirds super-majority to levy fees on businesses.
Locally, the Oakland mayoral election was the first in which the city used ranked-choice voting, in which a candidate can only avoid an automatically triggered run-off if he or she receives more than 50% of the vote. Don Perata currently leads a pack of 10 candidates, but with just 34% of the vote. That means the eventual winner may not be known until Friday.
Check Alameda County’s official web site for results in the Albany Berkeley, Dublin, Fremont, Newark, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro, and Union City. Click on the “City” link in the left column.
In San Francisco rejected Proposition B, which required city workers to contribute more to their pension and health care costs. Proposition L, another controversial measure that bans sitting or lying on public sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m, passed. Check out the city’s Department of Elections’ site to view results for individual supervisor races and other ballot measures.
Phew. If you made it this far, you need a break big-time. Not all of the voting is over yet…