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California Race Chart 2010 (Part 1 of 3: Statewide Races)

by: californianintexas

Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 8:26 AM EDT

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Calitics, and Democracy for California.

Here I will cover the eight constitutional offices, three State Supreme Court justice confirmations, and nine ballot measures. In the second diary, I will cover the U.S. Senate race and the House races, and in the third the state legislature. I will also combine my regular registration updates within the diaries.

Speaking of registration updates, as you will see in the layout of the statewide registration numbers, Democrats are more pumped up here, adding almost half a million voters to their rolls since 2008. The Republicans in comparison added just 13,000 in the same amount of time. So if you are looking for a lethargic Democratic base, look elsewhere because you won't find it here!

More info can be found at the 2010 Race Tracker.

Here is the most recent registration data:
Here is the list of candidates that will appear on the ballot:

Statewide Layout
Democrats: 7,531,986 (44.32%)
Republicans: 5,257,669 (30.94%)
Decline to State: 3,427,395 (20.17%)
Others: 776,025 (4.56%)

Key: I will list the incumbent first, in boldface (in the case of open seats, the incumbent party first without boldface), and all minor parties after the two major parties.

D: Democratic
R: Republican
L: Libertarian
G: Green
AI: American Independent
PF: Peace and Freedom
NP: Nonpartisan
SW: Socialist Workers

Race Ratings
Toss-up: Margin by less than 5%
Lean: Margin by 5-10%
Likely: Margin by 10-15%
Strong: Margin by 15-20%
Solid: Margin by more than 20%

Governor: Ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) vs. Attorney General Jerry Brown (D), Laura Wells (G), Dale Ogden (L), Chelene Nightingale (AI), Carlos Alvarez (PF), and Lea Sherman (SW-W/I)

Profile: Forgive me for being a broken record as I have been in past comments, but again, I see no way Whitman can win. Running as an outsider when the current governor, who also ran as an outsider, is leaving office with 20% approval ratings, is a surefire losing strategy. And pissing voters off by running ads nonstop and spending nine-figure sums of money while they're forced to cut back is not going to help at all. Brown is leading by example, running on a shoestring budget and calling for everyone to sacrifice, meaning no sacred cows. Polls may not yet show it, but in my opinion I think Whitman is finished. In fact, I'll be very surprised if she even manages to make it a low-teen loss.

Outlook: Likely to Strong Brown (D pickup)

Lieutenant Governor: Interim Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R) vs. S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom (D), Jimi Castillo (G), Pamela Brown (L), Jim King (AI), and C.T. Weber (PF)

Profile: Here we have quasi-incumbent Abel Maldonado, appointed after John Garamendi went to Congress, running to be elected in his own right against Newsom. While Maldonado is moderate for a Republican (though that is not saying much), being closely associated with Arnold is going to be a huge liability, which I do not think he will overcome.

Outlook: Lean Newsom (D pickup)

Attorney General: S.F. DA Kamala Harris (D) vs. L.A. DA Steve Cooley (R), Peter Allen (G), Timothy Hannan (L), Dianne Beall Templin (AI), and Robert J. Evans (PF)

Profile: This is the only statewide race in California I am worried about, and where my theory (that California has just become too Democratic for even a moderate Republican to win barring unusual circumstances) will be put to the test. Cooley is not that bad for a Republican, having had the audacity to stand against popular opinion of issues such as three strikes and Jessica's Law, though he is also against dispensaries for medical marijuana. Harris is a rising star in Democratic circles, and is a more formidable opponent than any of Cooley's challengers in the past. The wild card is the big enchilada of L.A. County, where Harris' name ID is low and she'd need to win by 18-20% to win statewide. I am of course pulling for Harris because I want our bench to stay nice and full for the inevitable retirements of DiFi probably in 2012, Boxer probably in 2016, and for the open governorship in 2014 or 2018; and also because she has courageously stood up to Prop 8, while Cooley pledges to defend it in court.

Outlook: Toss-Up

Secretary of State: SoS Debra Bowen (D) vs. businessman Damon Dunn (R), Ann Menasche (G), Christina Tobin (L), Merton D. Short (AI), and Marylou Cabral (PF)

Profile: Bowen is a lock for reelection.

Outlook: Solid Bowen

Treasurer: Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) vs. State Senator Mimi Walters (R), Kit Crittenden (G), Edward Teyssier (L), Robert Lauten (AI), and Debra Reiger (PF)

Profile: Lockyer is a lock for reelection.

Outlook: Solid Lockyer

Controller: Controller John Chiang (D) vs. State Senator Tony Strickland (R), Ross Frankel (G), Andy Favor (L), Lawrence Beliz (AI), and Karen Martinez (PF)

Profile: A rematch from 2006, only with Democrats more pumped up, Chiang will win by a wider margin this time around.

Outlook: Strong to Solid Chiang

Insurance Commissioner: State Assemblyman Mike Villines (R) vs. State Assemblyman Dave Jones (D), William Balderston (G), Richard Bronstein (L), Clay Pedersen (AI), and Dina Padilla (PF)

Profile: In California, when a non-damaged Democrat is up against a generic Republican, the Democrat wins. Take it to the bank.

Outlook: Likely to Strong Jones (D pickup)

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Retired Superintendent Larry Aceves (NP) vs. State Assemblyman Tom Torlakson (NP)

Profile: Torlakson voted against Race to the Top and believes parents, teachers, students, and communities alike all need to come together to improve our schools, while Aceves believes that the problem with public schools is the teachers and hedge funds and billionaires should have more control over K-12 education. This will be a close one.

Outlook: Toss-Up

State Supreme Court confirmation - Tani Cantil-Sakauye: Voters are being asked whether to confirm Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Arnold's pick to replace Chief Justice Ron George. She is seen as uncontroversial, but likely to share Arnold's views on corporate power.

Outlook: Lean Confirm

State Supreme Court retention - Ming Chin: Chin was in the minority that voted to uphold the state's ban on marriage equality in 2008, and is one of the most right-wing justices on the state Supreme Court. I want to see him go, but it doesn't look likely.

Outlook: Likely Retention

State Supreme Court retention - Carlos Moreno: Moreno was the only justice who courageously voted to overturn Prop 8 at the State Supreme Court last year, and has been a reliable vote for equality and so should be voted to be retained.

Outlook: Likely Retention

Ballot Measures: Nine measures will be on the California ballot this fall. Information can be found here: Field has released polls on 19, 23, and 25.

Prop. 19 (Marijuana): If passed, this proposition would legalize the possession and growing of marijuana for personal use of adults 21 years and older, and allow state and local governments to regulate and tax related commercial activities. This proposition winning may make Washington reexamine its own policy towards marijuana, since what happens in California often makes it way to the other side of the country. Polls have shown Yes leading by single digits, so I'll call 19 a passing proposition.

My recommendation: YES!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Lean Pass

Prop. 20 (Redistricting Congressional Districts): This proposition would amend the state Constitution be amended to have the Citizens Redistricting Commission (prop 11 from 2008) redistrict for the U.S. House of Representatives seats. This initiative calls for each district being composed of people of the same income level and people with the same work opportunities, which to me feels like a backdoor to the old bygone Jim Crow ways. And passing this prop while giving free passes to Republican-controlled legislatures in Texas and Florida to gerrymander the hell out of those states is likely to put California at a disadvantage when competing for federal dollars. In addition, there is no way this commission can be held accountable.

My recommendation: NO!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-up/Lean Fail

Prop. 21 (Vehicle License Surcharge): Establishes an $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to provide funds for maintaining the state parks and wildlife programs, and grants surcharged vehicles free admission to the state parks. Our cash-starved state parks could use the extra funds. In addition, the governor can't take funds from this coffer when other coffers are low. The tough economy may dampen the chances of this prop passing, though.

My recommendation: YES!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 22 (Local Government Funds): Prohibits the state from taking funds used for local government services. It is well-intentioned but flawed. The cities and counties would get an immediate payment of over $1 billion, forcing further cuts to vital public services.

My recommendation: NO!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up/Lean Fail

Prop. 23 (Suspension of AB 32): Backed by Texas oil interests, this prop would suspend AB 32 until unemployment dropped to an unrealistic 5.5% for a whole year and hurt the state's fledgling green jobs industry, doing the exact opposite of what its backers claim: it would actually kill more jobs than create more jobs. (Here in "business-friendly" Texas, the economic situation is also pretty bad, with unemployment here at its highest level since the late '80s [and me being unable to find a job to save my life] and an $18 billion deficit for the 2011 budget session, which will make 2003 look like the good old days.) Polls have shown a low double-digit lead for the No side.

My recommendation: NO! NO! NO!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Likely Fail

Prop. 24 (Corporate Loopholes): A long-overdue measure that would close corporate tax loopholes, reducing the budget deficit by $2 billion.

My recommendation: YES!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 25 (Majority Vote on Budget): Another very long-overdue measure that eliminates the ridiculous 2/3rds rule to pass a budget in the state legislature. This prop is passing by double-digits in the polls.

My recommendation: YES! YES! YES!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Likely Pass

Prop. 26 (Two-Thirds Vote on Fees): Would require two-thirds vote approval for the imposition of certain state and local fees, including those on businesses that adversely impact the local community and environment. The last thing we need is higher vote thresholds.

My recommendation: NO! NO! NO!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

Prop. 27 (Redistricting Commission): This proposition eliminates the Citizens Redistricting Commission from Prop 11, which barely passed, suggesting some voters have some doubts about its effectiveness. This commission also gives Republicans much more power than their current share of the population.

My recommendation: YES!
10/21/2010 Outlook: Toss-Up

californianintexas :: California Race Chart 2010 (Part 1 of 3: Statewide Races)
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Good Recommendations
 I agree on basically all of them.  

for more election analysis, visit  http://frogandturtle.blogspot....

17, CA-06,  

Supreme Court confirmation
How does this work in California? Do you vote "Yes/No" on every candidate up for confirmation? If so, why would voters vote to retain a Justice who voted to retain Prop 8 and another one who voted to overturn it?

"I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
--  Will Rogers  

Prop 8
may not be the only thing on voters' minds. Plus I am basing my predictions on voting history, when most justices had been confirmed by wide margins. Prop 8 may be on the minds of a lot of voters, on the Yes and No sides, but probably not enough to reject a justice.

My blog
28, New Democrat, Female, TX-03 (hometown CA-26)

[ Parent ]
Very few voters actually know the Justices' records
and only in one election have any Justices lost a retention vote.  That was in 1986, when Gov. George Deukmejian (R-eactionary) successfully orchestrated a campaign to remove Chief Justice Rose Bird and Associate Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso for their opposition to the death penalty.

And you are correct about the process: the ballot names each Supreme Court (and Court of Appeals) Justice individually and asks whether or not he or she should be retained for the next 12 years.

[ Parent ]
The judge elections
are some of the most stupid votes in California.

Literally nobody knows who those judges are. Especially in the polling booth - without access to the Internet - you're just clueless.

[ Parent ]
26 would also require a 2/3 vote of the legislature for a bill that increases anyone's taxes even if the overall effect is revenue neutral or a net tax cut. So it would make it harder to do the loophole-closing reforms that the tax system needs.

25 and maybe 19 and 21 pass. The others fail.
Cooley wins, but otherwise all the Dems win.

41, Ind, CA-05

Excellent overview
although some of your ratings seem a tad bit optimistic.

While I would jump for joy if Whitman lost by 13 as you expect, Brown's campaign hasn't given me any reason to think he'll outperform the polls that widely.  I think a solid 6-8 point win is in the cards, and I'd give eMeg about a 5% chance at an upset.

As a resident of the big enchilada of L.A. County, it gives me no pleasure to report that Cooley is drinking her horchata here; she's damned near invisible.  I understand that the Big Four candidates have sucked up most of the media oxygen, but Bill frakkin' Lockyer has run more TV ads than she has.  I consider this race Lean Republican until proven otherwise.

On the props, I would have to put 20 at Lean Pass and 27 at Lean Fail.  Prop 11 passed in a much more Democratic, less anti-establishment environment in 2008, and if nothing else the redistricting commission sounds like a good-government reform.  Plus there hasn't been a serious ad campaign on these like there has been on Props 23 and 25.

Prop 21 is a dreaded "car tax," and we saw how much ire that drew in 2003.  Absent polling, it has to be Lean Fail.

Finally, as an undecided voter on that race, I would like some proof of your charges against Larry Aceves.

11 won in a squeaker only because of a heavy campaign. There has not been a similar push for 20, which is why I don't expect it to pass.

41, Ind, CA-05

[ Parent ]
I don't recall seeing a heavy pro-11 campaign (eom)

[ Parent ]
Prop 21 is a car tax but
   it is for a specific purpose, state parks, which are popular. It is also a good value since the $18 surcharge will give you unlimited day use at the state parks and beaches with no further charges. Now you pay as much as $10 for a day at some of the more popular sites so many folks would be happy to pay less than twice that for the entire year. It has widespread support; even chamber of commerce types who know that the parks are important for tourism support it.

   Prop 21 isn't a sure thing but I think it is a lean Pass at least. I wish there were some polling on it but we will know how it went in less than two weeks from now.

52, male, disgruntled Democrat, CA-28

[ Parent ]
I'm voting yes personally
I'd like to think that people in a state with as much natural beauty as ours are willing to invest in its protection, even during bad economic times, but given our past behavior I'll have to see it to believe it.

[ Parent ]
Prop 21
 Should pass but it should be close. The no on prop 21 campaign is extremely unorganized and the state parks are pretty popular with most people. Prop 21 gets the environmentalists as well as the economy people who want more jobs as well as people in rural areas who may be dependent or partially dependent on tourism to the state parks.

Generally, the no on 21 people would be more urban people who do not live near the beach (prop 21 supplies lifeguards,) people in the Inland Empire and the Central Valley. I really want to see a poll on this proposition though.

for more election analysis, visit  http://frogandturtle.blogspot....

17, CA-06,  

[ Parent ]
I disagree
with you on Prop 20. California's got the most corrupt delegation in the country (at least that immediately comes to mind; we also have the most).

And I am casting a protest vote for Bill Lockyer just because he's been there since 1972... and we need some new people in Sac.

28, Liberal Democrat, CA-26

How do you know the commission will draw out more corrupt members
than a Democratic gerrymander?  At least the latter will get rid of some corrupt Republicans.  I don't think it's possible to get rid of someone like Maxine Waters either way.

[ Parent ]
The Democratic gerrymander is not a Democratic gerrymander.
It is an "Incumbent Gerrymander"

And of the 20 or so incumbents in California who are corrupt, most of them are Republicans.

28, Liberal Democrat, CA-26

[ Parent ]
The Democrats used an incumbent gerrymander in 2000
because they'd just flipped five Republican seats to reach an all-time high in Democratic seat share, and they understandably wanted to cement their gains.

This time, I expect them to draw out no fewer than three Republican incumbents, and I think as many as six seats could be flipped with a suitably creative map.  I am basing my vote against Prop 20 on this expectation, and if it is not met I admit I will regret that vote.

[ Parent ]
And I think you are right btw...
that Maxine Waters, who's in her 70s, would try to primary Karen Bass if we tried to eliminate her. (and Waters would win)

28, Liberal Democrat, CA-26

[ Parent ]

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