[guest post by JVW]
Polls in California have closed and it’s time to tabulate the vote. You can follow live at the Secretary of State’s website. Here as of this moment (9:37 pm update) are some notable results:
Governor: Jerry Brown winning 55.3% of vote. Battle for second between GOP contenders Neel Kashkari and Tim Donnelly is close, with Kashkari at 17.6% to Donnelly’s 14.8%. Cindy Sheehan (yes, that Cindy Sheehan) is at 1.2% for the Peace & Freedom Party.
Secretary of State: This is one of the only statewide offices where a Republican might stand a chance to win in November. Right now, party favorite Pete Peterson is polling at 29.8%, slightly ahead of state senator Alex Padilla at 28.7%. Fun fact: state senator Leland Yee, who has been indicted on charges of gun-running and accepting bribes is bringing in a respectable 10.7%. Hooray for the low information voter!
Controller: Amazingly enough, two Republicans are so far leading the field, Ashley Swearengin (23.7%) and David Evans (23.0%) currently edging out Betty Yee (21.8%) and assembly speaker John A. Perez (20.0%). Should Perez finish in fourth, or even miss qualifying for November’s runoff by finishing third, it would have to be seen as a massive rebuke for the state legislative leadership. As speaker, Perez is arguably one of the three most powerful politicians in the state.
State Senate District 26: I reported on this one earlier so that everyone could share my excitement in Sandra Fluke’s maiden (whoops, poor choice of words?) run for political office. This is a neck-and-neck race with Sandy at 17.6% trailing fellow Democrat Ben Allen at 23.2% and law professor Seth Stodder, with no party preference, at 19.5%. Still in the running are former assembly member Betsy Bulter (Dem) at 16.3% and Manhattan Beach mayor Amy Howorth (Dem) at 14.3%. Under the open primary system, the top two finishers will move on to face each other in November.
The State Senate District 26 race featured seven Democrats and the one no party preference candidate. No Republican made it on the ballot, which is every bit as much an indictment of the local party as it is of Democrat dominance in this state.
U.S. House of Representatives, District 33: This is my congressional district, most recently represented by the retiring Henry Waxman (don’t get me started). The odds-on favorite has been my current state senator, Ted Lieu, a decent and patriotic sort of guy who suffers from the sin of unbridled ambition and whose every action reminds you that he aspires to move rapidly up the political ladder by pandering to every conceivable Democrat constituency. It was assumed that he would run for California Secretary of State, but changed his mind when Waxman suddenly announced his retirement. Surprisingly, he is running second as of right now to Republican Elan Carr, a criminal gang prosecutor. Nipping at Lieu’s heels is former Los Angeles City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Wendy Gruel. Knocking Lieu out of the top two runoff would be a huge deal, though I think the prognosticators expect him to pull through. Flaky New Age guru Marianne Williamson is running a left-wing campaign with no party preference and thus far drawing 8.6% of the vote, so it would be awesome if she is responsible for denying Lieu a top two finish.
I wasn’t a big fan and didn’t vote for it, but I think I am starting to warm up to the open primary where everyone runs and the top two go on to face each other in the fall. Hopefully there will be some interesting results to discuss tomorrow.
UPDATE [10:45 pm] In the Controller’s race Betty Yee is gaining ground on the two Republicans, so she’ll probably slip in to the final two. It wouldn’t surprise me if John Perez does as well, what with the – ahem – success that Democrats traditionally have had in finding extra ballots while tallying up the vote in close races.