On politics in the Golden State

Category: 2012 Presidential Race

California Electoral College formally casts its 55 votes for Obama

Romney and Obama in a debate before the November election. California Electoral College has officially cast its 55 votes for Obama.
California’s Electoral College made it official Monday: casting all 55 of its votes in the election for President Obama and Vice President Biden to reflect that the majority of Californians voted for the Democratic candidates Nov. 6.

As electors gathered in other states across the country to cast their votes, California's contingent took its official vote on paper ballots in the state Assembly Chambers in Sacramento.

In the November election, Obama received 60.2% of the vote in California, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney was supported by 37.1% of voters, according to the official Statement of Vote by Secretary of State Debra Bowen. The third-place finisher was Libertarian Gary Johnson, who garnered 1.1% of the vote.

The youngest elector to participate in the vote was Christopher Tumbeiro, 18, of Simi Valley. The student at Royal High School was named as the elector from the 25h Congressional District by Lee Rogers, that area's unsuccessful Democratic candidate. Tumbeiro also was selected to serve as a "teller,'' a position that distributes and collects the paper ballots during the meeting of the California Electoral College.

"It's a very humbling experience and a very exciting experience,'' Tumbeiro said. "Since I am the youngest, I want to inspire other young people to become involved.''


Court decision a boost for California's budget

Sanchez dances close to 'fiscal cliff' on holiday card

More valuable gifts, contributions allowed to politicians in 2013

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: In October presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney sparred with President Obama. Credit: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press



Janice Hahn wins 44th Congressional District

Janice Hahn

With all voter precincts reporting, Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn beat fellow Democratic Rep. Laura Richardson in a newly drawn district that runs north from the Port of Los Angeles through several working-class, strongly minority communities, preliminary election returns show.

Hahn, elected to Congress a little more than a year ago in a special election, saw her largely coastal turf carved up in last year’s remapping, and her San Pedro home ended up in the new 44th District. Richardson, a five-year veteran of the House, moved into the district from Long Beach to challenge Hahn.

Hahn bested Richardson by 20 points in the June primary. She won by the same margin in Tuesday's election, election results show. Richardson, who had won tough races before, predicted that a bigger fall turnout would help close the gap.

FULL RESULTS: California races

Richardson was reprimanded and fined after a House Ethics Committee investigation concluded she had improperly pressured members of her congressional staff to do campaign work.  She had trouble raising money and had substantial turnover in her congressional staff and campaign leadership. 

Race was a factor in the contest. African American leaders believed it could be won by a black candidate, such as Richardson. Some were shocked when Hahn, who is white, ran against her rather than the more senior Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), who got much of Hahn’s turf in the redistricting.

Richardson is one of four black House members from California. Some African American leaders supported her, not wanting to see the number drop. Hahn, whose father was deeply admired among the area’s black residents, drew support from others who said she would do a better job.


Munger’s Proposition 38 fails, according to AP

Prop. 40, on state Senate districts, passes, per AP

Proposition 36 on three-strikes law passes, AP says

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Rep. Janice Hahn is congratulated by L.A. City Councilman Joe Busciano early Tuesday evening at Ports O' Call Restaurant as early election returns come in. Source: Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times.

No voters at these polls

There were no voters at the polls in Alpine County on Tuesday. Even so it will probably log the highest voter turnout rate in all of California.

Tucked in the crook of the state below Lake Tahoe, Alpine County has entirely mail-order elections. The remote spot has just 1,102 residents spread over more than 700 square miles of rocky incline, and none concentrated enough in any one place to warrant a polling booth, said County Clerk Barbara Howard, who does double duty as registrar of voters. Thus all county residents cast their votes by mail.

Alpine in the June primary had the highest voter turnout rate in California, 59% contrasted with the statewide average of 31%. For the general election, Howard said she sent out ballots to 773 registered voters and expects to get most all of them back by the end of the day.

"We have a high turnout rate because of mail-in voting," she said. "It's worked out well."

One other California county is also so spread out that it has no polls. The 2,200 registered voters in Sierra County, north of Alpine, also do their voting by mail.

Assisting in Alpine's ballot collection is acting postmaster Sherlyn Armstrong, who keeps an eye out for the bright yellow envelopes at the county seat in Markleeville and sets them aside for Howard. Alpine's high voter turnout strikes her. "I've never seen such a politically minded county," she said, guessing that engagement reflects the prominence of government -- county, state or federal -- as the region's biggest employer.

When polling ends Tuesday, Howard will open up the board of supervisors' office for county residents to watch as the paper ballots are counted. She'll also set out cookies.

The central count attracts candidates, families and friends. "It's almost a party," said local writer Irving Krauss, 86, a local Democratic leader.


Poll predicts 70% turnout

California sets record for voter registration

Gov. Jerry Brown makes retail pitch for Proposition 30

--Paige St. John in Sacramento 

Riverside, Alameda county polling places to get federal monitors

Venice polling place, 2011Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice will be monitoring polling places in Riverside and Alameda counties along with nearly 50 other jurisdictions across the nation on Tuesday to ensure that federal voting rights laws are not violated.

The federal government began monitoring polling sites in Riverside County after the agency’s Civil Rights Division filed a complaint against the county for failing to offer election-related information and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters, a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The county and the Department of Justice reached a settlement in February 2010 that included having federal observers at polling stations.

A similar settlement was reached with Alameda County in 2011 after the federal government accused the county of failing to train an adequate number of poll workers to help Mandarin-, Cantonese- and Spanish-speaking voters on election day.

The Department of Justice will be monitoring polling places in 23 states.

Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney based in Los Angeles, on Friday also appointed Assistant U.S. Atty. Dennis Mitchell to serve as the department’s official election officer for the Nov. 6 election, to handle all citizen complaints of possible voting rights violations in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

“Even a potential violation of voting rights is an extremely serious matter," Birotte said in a statement. “Every citizen is entitled to vote without interference or discrimination. Citizens should not hesitate to report possible violations of voting rights laws.’’

Voters can contact the nustice Deparmtment online, at (213) 894-2484, or at voting.section@usdoj.gov.

-- Phil Willon in Riverside

 Photo: Venice polling place. Source: Al Seib, Los Angeles Times.

Obama advisor complicates Gov. Jerry Brown's tax campaign

JerryBrownObamaRallyForget Obama vs. Romney.

The biggest political match-up in California this November may be between the president and Gov. Jerry Brown -- or at least their respective campaigns.

In one corner is Brown, who is working to pass a November ballot measure to raise taxes to help close the state's deficit. In the other corner is Larry Grisolano, one of Obama's top political advisors -- and a key consultant to a rival California tax measure, Proposition 38.

Grisolano -- or "Gris" as he is known in the Obama camp -- is helping to cut spots for the Proposition 38 campaign, which this week launched an ad attacking Brown's measure, Proposition 30.

The Democratic consultant managed former Gov. Gray Davis' reelection campaign in 2002 and his unsuccessful effort to retain office in the following year's recall.

Grisolano's firm, AKPD Message and Media, has been paid more than $17.6 million for ad production for the Proposition 38 campaign, according to records filed with the secretary of state's office.

Joe Arellano, a spokesman for the Proposition 38 campaign, said Grisolano is one of three consultants helping to produce ads.

"He is monitoring the campaign," he said of Grisolano, "but is primarily engaged in the reelection of President Obama."


Molly Munger blasts Jerry Brown's tax plan in new ad

Proposition 30 campaign takes aim at Molly and Charles Munger

Siblings launch multimillion-dollar attacks on Prop. 30

-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento


Photo: Then-Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown gives a speech at a rally with President Barack Obama on the USC campus in 2010. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown to GOP: 'Get out of the way'

Gov. Jerry Brown tells GOP to step aside
Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday took to the national airwaves to weigh in on the presidential election, arguing that President Obama had laid a foundation for economic recovery and that the country would be better off if Republicans would “get out of the way.”

“Maybe I know too much about this stuff, but we’re in a recovery, a slow recovery, and it'll keep recovering with any luck,” Brown said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And if the Republicans would get out of the way and let, you know, the stimulus and the investment go forward, such as the Democrats have proposed, we'll be better off.”

Brown, who campaigned for governor as a political mediator, has taken a harder public line against the GOP since failing to win a single Republican vote last year for his plan to place taxes on the ballot. Now, he is taking his case directly to voters, having qualified a November ballot measure, Proposition 30, to raise taxes to help close the state’s deficit.

On Sunday, he said California voters face a choice not unlike the one they face in the presidential contest: investment or retrenchment. “This is just math now,” Brown said, echoing former President Bill Clinton’s emphasis on “arithmetic” during his speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention.

If the initiative fails, he said, the state will automatically cut $5.5 billion from public schools and community colleges –- the equivalent of three weeks of school. About $500 million will be cut from universities, he said.

“At the end of the day, vox populi, vox dei. The voice of the people, as they say, the voice of God,” Brown said. “It's either take the money from those who have even more than we can imagine and give it to our schools or not. And whatever it is, I'll manage it and we'll make it work. One way would be better, but whatever way the people decide is the way we'll go and that's the way it should be.”


A conservative assemblyman gets in his right jabs

As Gov. Jerry Brown considers bills, campaign cash pours in

Watchdog agency approves $49,000 in fines against Proposition 8 campaign

--Michael J. Mishak


Photo: California Gov. Jerry Brown visits Los Angeles in August to speak on pension reform. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press

National GOP aims at Westly

Steve Westly is big in the California venture capital world. He's also big in Democratic politics. 

Westly, a former state controller, ran for governor in the 2006 election. He lost in the primary to then-state Treasurer Phil Angelides. 

During the 2006 gubernatorial race, Westly was dogged by questions about whether he leveraged his position as a board member on the state pension fund to extract support for his political ambitions.

The charge was that Westly attempted to get companies seeking government investment contracts to support his campaign.   

A couple of years later, Westly would become one of the Obama campaign's biggest fundraisers in California. 

Now, the national GOP has posted a Web ad noting that Westly's investment firm also happens to be invested in several companies that get government subsidies. 


Ethics panel investigates state Sen. Mimi Walters

Campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee admits $7-million theft

Campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee to have sentencing delayed

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento



Obama, not issues, is the draw for some L.A. voters

Click for live coverage of the California primary

When Patricia Jordan, 57, was asked what brought her to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the California primary, her answer was swift and decisive.

"Obama! Who else?" said the Baldwin Village resident. "He's my No.1 concern."

President Obama has secured the Democratic Party's nomination as the incumbent, but here in Baldwin Village and throughout the city of Los Angeles, he is still the big draw. Some voters knew very little about issues on the ballot, such the cigarette tax and the candidates running for Los Angeles County district attorney. Instead, they showed up to throw their support behind the president.

LIVE RESULTS: California primary

"I don't know much about Propositions 28 and 29," said Diane Racine, 68, referring to the term limit initiative and the controversial cigarette increase. "I came out to make sure I supported President Obama."

Racine, an adult education teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District, admitted it was harder this primary to vote for him. The Westwood resident will be laid off in two weeks because of budget cuts that will end adult education in the state. Still, Racine believes Obama has a better strategy to fix the economy than his opponent, Mitt Rommey. All Obama needs, she said, is another term.

Anthony Kent agreed. The 58-year-old Baldwin Village resident blames Congress' inability to compromise as the reason the economy has stalled and not made a full recovery.

"He's doing the best he can with the opposition he has against him," Kent said. "He can't change everything overnight. He might need a few more terms to fix it all."

Though Kent disagrees with Obama on gay marriage, he still made the trek from his job over to the Jim Gilliam Recreational Center in Baldwin Village to cast his vote for Obama.

"I'm behind him every day," he said.


Who's likely to vote in today's elections?

Follow California primary results with The Times

Election day: Southern California voters trickle in to polls

-- Angel Jennings in Baldwin Village

Photo: President Obama speaks at a campaign rally at Ohio State University. Credit: Mark Duncan / Associated Press

Santorum surging in California, poll finds

GetprevFormer U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum is nipping at Mitt Romney's heels in the California Republican primary race, while President Obama is well-positioned to win the general election in the state, according to a recent poll.

The Public Policy Institute of California found 22% of likely Republican voters in the state back Santorum, just behind the 28% who support Romney. Santorum has gained 18 percentage points in support since December.

As the Groundhog Day-like GOP presidential primary grinds into the spring, there has been some speculation among politicos that California may finally have a role to play during its late June 2 primary. If that's so, the Republican electorate is still up for grabs: Nearly one-quarter of the state's GOP voters have yet to make up their mind on a presidential candidate.

Bringing up the rear in the GOP race are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with 17% support, and Rep. Ron Paul at 8%, the poll found.

California remains a Democratic stronghold. President Obama leads a hypothetical GOP challenger 53-37. Half the state's likely voters want Democrats to control Congress.

The poll of 2001 Californians had a margin of error of 3.4%.


Biden's pitch: Bin Laden is dead, GM is alive

Video released for Obama campaign documentary

Santorum calls on Mississippi voters to drive Gingrich out of race

-- Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento

Photo: Former U.S. Sen Rick Santorum holds up a copy of the U.S. Constitution while speaking at a Tennessee church last month. He is gaining on Mitt Romney in California, according to a new poll. Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Mitt Romney touts endorsement by former Gov. Pete Wilson


Former California Gov. Pete Wilson, who Monday endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination

Mitt Romney on Monday announced his endorsement by former California Gov. Pete Wilson, who became both honorary chairman of Romney's campaign in California and a quick target of immigrant rights groups.

In a statement released by the Romney campaign, Wilson said: "Mitt Romney is an enthusiastic believer in American exceptionalism and has been a spectacular example of it." Wilson cited Romney's record in business, his management of the 2002 Winter Olympics and his governorship in Massachusetts.

Romney, who has been rolling out endorsements to build momentum after his back-to-back wins in Nevada and Florida, called Wilson "one of California's most accomplished leaders."

But immigrant rights groups were quick to pounce on the association. Wilson has become a boogeyman in California politics due to his backing of Proposition 187, the 1994 ballot measure targeting illegal immigrants that many analysts believe chased California Latinos into the Democratic party and lost the state for the GOP.

Romney has staked out an increasingly tough stance on illegal immigration during the Republican primaries this year to differentiate himself from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"Romney can’t seem to stop himself from digging deeper and deeper into his hole with Latino voters," said Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union in a statement. "Here is what Pete Wilson accomplished: He turned Latino voters against the GOP brand."

Medina and other immigrant groups were quick to note that Romney is also being advised by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped write controversial laws against illegal immigration in Alabama and Arizona.


Romney on the attack

Gingrich mocks Romney on 'self-deportation'

Kris Kobach: A voice for Arizona's immigration law

--Nicholas Riccardi in Sacramento

File photo: Former California Gov. Pete Wilson, who Monday endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination. Credit: Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times


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