PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

Category: Tony Strickland

Jerry Brown, California Democrats appear to be big winners in election

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6-billion-a-year tax initiative to rescue California schools and the state's finances appeared to squeak by with a victory early Wednesday, and Democrats' grip on Sacramento tightened as the party crept toward winning a super-majority in both houses of the Legislature.

Tuesday's election also brought an end to the three-decade-long congressional career of Rep. Howard Berman, who early Wednesday morning conceded defeat in his political slugfest against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley.

The bitter contest between Sherman and Berman, awash in more than $13 million in campaign spending by the candidates and independent political groups, was triggered when California's newly drawn political boundaries put the two incumbents in the same district.

"I congratulate Brad. ... I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition," Berman said in a concise concession statement early Wednesday.

FULL RESULTS: California races

In a similar high-profile mash-up between Democrats, Rep. Janice Hahn of San Pedro was cruising to an easy win against Rep. Laura Richardson of Long Beach in a newly drawn district that includes many minority, working-class communities, election results showed.

Among other closely watched races for California House seats, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) narrowly defeated state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) in Ventura County, and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) bested former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, according to results with all voter precincts reporting in those districts.

California's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, won an easy reelection victory over nonprofit executive Elizabeth Emken, her underfunded, little-known Republican challenger.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

The governor woke up Wednesday as one of the biggest apparent victors in Tuesday’s election, however.

Facing well-funded opposition, Brown campaigned heavily for Proposition 30 as a way to restore fiscal sanity to Sacramento and to stave off deep cuts to public schools and universities. The initiative calls for a quarter-cent increase to sales taxes for four years and a seven-year tax hike on California’s highest earners.

Californians have not approved a statewide tax increase since 2004.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a competing measure bankrolled by millionaire civil rights lawyer Molly Munger -- Proposition 38 – which would have increased income taxes for most Californians to raise funds primarily for schools and early childhood education.

In one of the highest-profile state ballot measures, labor unions appeared to defeat Proposition 32, which would have reduced their political influence by barring unions from using paycheck deductions for political purposes.

Californians also soured on a measure to abolish the death penalty -– Proposition 34 -- which was trailing badly with most of the voter precincts reporting Wednesday morning.

Other law-and-order measures were greeting more warmly. Voters favored Proposition 36, which would change the three-strikes sentencing law so offenders whose third strikes were minor, nonviolent crimes could no longer be given 25 years to life in prison.

Voters also supported Proposition 35, which promoted increased punishment for sex trafficking of a minor. Both led by wide margins with most ballots counted.

With most ballots tallied across California, initiatives to label genetically engineered foods and change state law to create a new car insurance discount appeared headed for defeat.

One of the biggest surprises of the election was the Democrats' strong showing in legislative races. Democrats appear on the verge of winning a two-thirds majority in the state Senate and Assembly, enough to approve tax measures without Republican support.

In Los Angeles County, veteran prosecutor Jackie Lacey became the county's first female and first African American district attorney after defeating Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson. Jackson conceded early Wednesday morning.

Lacey, 55, touted herself as the only candidate with the experience to run the office. She had the support of her boss, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms.

Los Angeles County voters also approved a local measure requiring adult film actors to wear condoms. With most precincts reporting, a measure to fund transportation projects by extending a countywide sales-tax increase for an additional 30 years remained just shy of the two-thirds vote required for approval.

Some races remained too close to call, including the San Diego congressional race between Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) and Democrat Scott Peters, a San Diego environmental attorney. In the Coachella Valley, Democratic emergency room doctor Raul Ruiz was leading Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) with just under two-thirds of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.

ALSO:

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

-- Phil Willon

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown addresses supporters of Proposition 30 and 32 at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento Tuesday. Source: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Tony Strickland, Julia Brownley winning heated Ventura congressional race

Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right.

Democratic state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley of Oak Park emerged from Tuesday's rancorous primary to win a place on the November ballot against Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland of Moorpark.

With about half the precincts reporting, independent candidate Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks was running third.

The newly drawn Ventura County congressional district, formerly viewed as Republican ground, now is one of several "swing" districts that could be won by either party. Registration in the 26th Congressional District is 41% Democratic and 35% Republican; 19% of voters are unaffiliated. 

Republican Party leaders quickly rallied behind Strickland, the only GOP candidate on the ballot. Parks, generally viewed as a moderate with a good record on local land-use and environmental issues, switched from Republican to "no party preference" to run in the race.

LIVE RESULTS: California primary

With Strickland seemingly assured of one of the two spots on the general election ballot, Parks and Brownley battled furiously for the other. National Democrats, who supported Brownley, sent voters mail trying to tie Parks to some of the most conservative elements in the Republican Party, including Sarah Palin. 

Parks got support from a  super PAC  known as icPurple, which backs independent candidates.

There were three other Democrats on the ballot, raising concerns by party leaders that they would draw votes from Brownley.

Much of the area currently is represented by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley), who decided to retire rather than seek reelection after his home was drawn into another district.

ALSO:

Election day: Legislative races to watch

A statistical snapshot of California's primary

Sherman leads Berman in USC poll of Valley voters

--Jean Merl

Photo: Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right. Credit: Los Angeles Times; handout; Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

Emily's List backs Julia Brownley for Congress

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Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) is receiving support in the crowded race for an open Ventura County congressional seat from Emily's List, a national group that helps pro-choice, Democratic women candidates in raising campaign money.

The organization announced Friday that it had bestowed “full recommendation” status on Brownley, giving her wide access to its more than 1 million members across the country.

Calling Brownley a “strong and progressive voice for California’s women and families,” Stephanie Schriock, the organization’s president, said in a release that Brownley “is running a fantastic campaign and the entire Emily’s List community is so proud to stand with her.”

Brownley’s main competition for the seat to represent California's 26th Congressional District is widely considered to be state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark). The only other woman on the ballot is Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, who recently switched her registration from Republican and is running as an independent. The other candidates are all Democrats — Realtor Albert Maxwell Goldberg, Port Hueneme Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera and businessman David Cruz Thayne.

In another area congressional race, Emily’s List is supporting Democratic Rep. Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, who is under challenge for the 24th District seat from Republicans Abel Maldonado, a former California lieutenant governor and state senator, and Chris Mitchum, an actor and businessman. Law student Matt Boutte also is on the ballot, listing no party preference.

Emily's List has not taken sides in the clash between Democratic Reps. Janice Hahn of San Pedro and Laura Richardson of Long Beach to represent the newly drawn 44th District in southeastern Los Angeles County, a spokeswoman said Friday.

Emily's List said it raised more than $38.5 million during the 2009-10 election cycle for its mission of recruiting and supporting women candidates.

ALSO:

Man up' on budget, governor tells lawmakers

Ethics czar wants disclosure when campaigns pay bloggers

New lottery ad glamorizes violence, state lawmakers complain

-- Jean Merl

Photo: Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) with Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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