We did it! We made it through Election Day! Of course, here in California it’ll be some time before we have final results. But let’s get into the news.
Via Hannah Wiley…
It wasn’t all about the White House last night. Or at least in my orbit it wasn’t.
A list of noteworthy legislative races — as of midnight, per the Associated Press — beginning in the Senate:
Fresh faces — Assemblywomen Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, and Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, aren’t technically Capitol freshman. But they’ll be the latest newcomers to the upper chamber, with Eggman likely claiming Senate District 5 and Limón Senate District 19.
Democrats Josh Becker in Senate District 13 and John Laird in Senate District 17 sailed to victory, while Dave Cortese appeared to be in a comfortable lead over fellow Democratic candidate Ann Ravel for Senate District 15.
GOP in trouble — As expected, Senate Republicans faced trouble Tuesday night. Three GOP incumbents faced a tough fight against Democratic candidates hoping to capitalize on the changing demographics in Southern California. The caucus was hoping to hold on to one open red seat.
Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita, John Moorlach of Costa Mesa and Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar were all losing close races to Democratic candidates. Republican Rosilicie Bogh was trailing Democrat Abigail Medina to keep that seat vacated by termed-out GOP Sen. Mike Morrell of Rancho Cucamonga in Republican hands.
Assembly showdowns — Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale seemed likely to fend off his challenger, former Assemblyman Steve Fox, whose tenure was marked by sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation allegations that resulted in a six-figure settlement with a former employee.
Fellow GOP incumbents and Southern California lawmakers Phillip Chen and Steven Choi of Irvine also seemed likely to avoid losing their seats to Democrats.
Watch-worthy races — Liberal Democrat Reggie Jones-Sawyer was endorsed by the state party, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Gov. Gavin Newsom. But law enforcement groups helped finance fellow Democrat Efren Martinez’s race for what was supposed to be a more competitive Los Angeles seat. Jones-Sawyer seemed likely to claim victory. Sawyer held a significant lead late early Wednesday morning, with 59.6 of the ballots counted going for him.
Former Republican Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley made news when he re-registered as an Independent late last year, dealing another blow to the Republican caucus in the Legislature. Mayes also held a hefty lead this morning, claiming 59.9% of ballots counted in the race as of midnight.
A closer race to watch is GOP candidate and current Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo, who is narrowly ahead of Democrat Dawn Addis.
Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is hardly a moderate. But his challenger Jackie Fielder has attempted to portray some of his policies, particularly around housing, as too middle-of-the road for this liberal bastion of California. In March, the race didn’t appear competitive. Then it kind of did as Fielder heated up her campaign messaging against Wiener.
Tuesday night, Wiener claimed an easy victory.
KEEP COUNTING, NEWSOM SAYS
Although the results of the presidential race were still unclear Tuesday night, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s still confident Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win and called for all votes to be counted.
“Elections end when — and only when — every vote is counted,” Newsom tweeted. “Tonight, @JoeBiden and California’s own @KamalaHarris have a clear path to victory and many, many votes in key states left to tabulate.”
Newsom said California will be proud to deliver its electoral votes for the Democratic ticket. The Associated Press called California for Biden immediately after polls closed in the Golden State. The Democratic stronghold has 55 electoral votes, the most of any state.
Later, President Donald Trump early Wednesday called the late counting of ballots a “fraud on the American people” and pledged to make an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Newsom responded on Twitter, writing “Every vote will be counted.”
Newsom campaigned for Biden and Harris in Nevada over the weekend. As of Tuesday night, Biden was up in Nevada’s vote counts, but results were still too close for the Associated Press to call the race.
ELECTION COVERAGE ROUNDUP
As promised, The Bee was all over Election Night. Here’s a roundup of our election coverage, in case you missed it.
Millions of Californians took to the polls for this election, but how did turnout compare to past elections? The Cap Bureau’s Lara Korte answers that question here.
Korte also covered the fate of a pair of voting rights related ballot measures, Proposition 17 and Proposition 18. Can felons on parole and 17-year-olds vote in California elections? Find out here.
What about Proposition 16, the ballot measure to undo Prop 209 and restore affirmative action in California? The bureau’s Kim Bojórquez has the goods here.
Will commercial and industrial property taxes be going up in the Golden State? The Bee’s Sophia Bollag breaks down the results for Proposition 15 here.
There were a lot of eyes, not to mention a lot of money, on the battle over Proposition 22, the Uber– and Lyft-funded initiative to re-classify app-based drivers as independent contractors. Check out Bee reporter Jeong Park’s story on the gig companies declaring victory here.
Rent control ballot measure Proposition 21 failed. Two years after voters already rejected a similar measure. More on that here.
Is cash bail a thing of the past in California? Did the Golden State dial back some of the criminal justice reforms of the past decade? Check out my story on the fates of Proposition 25 and Proposition 20, respectively.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“A huge THANK YOU to all the poll workers today on the frontlines of democracy.”
– Gov. Gavin Newsom, via Twitter.
Best of the Bee:
Frank Fat’s as a company and family rejoiced in its 80th birthday a year ago. Life was good because business was grand, with flashbacks of Capitol visitors, state employees and governors from Ronald Reagan to Jerry Brown stopping by. Then the coronavirus pandemic turned things upside down, shuttering businesses across the country, via Joe Davidson.
Alarmed by what they say are more encampments and some “aggressive behavior,” 60 members of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership business and property owner group sent Mayor Darrell Steinberg a letter last month saying they believe the homeless issue is putting downtown’s economic future in jeopardy, via Tony Bizjak, Theresa Clift and Phillip Reese.