Jun 06 2012

Scott Walker Weathers Wisconsin Election; California Race Results

Primary season is almost at an end after last nights elections in 5 states including California. Utah is the last of the 50 states to go to the polls in two weeks on June 26th.

In California, the new open primary system predictably resulted in giving voters the choice of only two candidates from one party in November. In the closely watched San Fernando Valley primary for Congress Democrat Brad Sherman got 42% of the vote, and Democrat Howard Berman followed with 32% of the vote and the two will face off in November. Democratic rivals Laura Richardson and Janice Hahn each survived as the top two vote-getters in the District 44 primary and will run against each other in November, with Janice Hahn with nearly 60% of the vote and large lead over her opponent. In Northern California District 2 progressive Democrat Norman Solomon came in third place to Democrat Jared Huffman and Republican Daniel Roberts, and he will not be on November’s ballot.*

Statewide, proposition 29, which would have added a dollar tax to every pack of cigarettes sold in the state to be put toward cancer research was narrowly defeated with 49.2% of voters approving the measure but 50.8% voting against it after weeks of an attack campaign funded by tobacco companies. Proposition 28 which altered term limits for state legislators was approved by voters, 61% to 38%.

Here in Los Angeles the hotly contested primary race for County District Attorney the controversial but best known and well-funded candidate, current City District Attorney Carmen Trutanich, come in third, ending his bid. Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey led the pack with 32% of the vote followed by Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, who garnered 23% of the vote.

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Embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker weathered a recall election yesterday winning 53% of the vote, and defeating Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. Walker became the first governor in US history to survive a recall election, and he did so with a greater number of votes than he had originally garnered in 2010 when he first became governor. The recall election was the culmination of a year-long battle by progressives, labor groups, and Democrats to push back against Governor Walker’s move to undermine public employee labor unions. Among the factors being invoked to explain Walker’s success yesterday was the enormous amount of campaign funding he received, outspending his opponent by 3 to 1, and spending more on the race than any candidate had ever spent on any office in Wisconsin history. Also among the factors affecting yesterday’s results is thought to be President Obama’s refusal to campaign in Wisconsin leading up to the election, and the fact that white, working class voters outside major cities are shifting toward the GOP.

In explaining the impact of yesterday’s elections, the LA Times’ David Lauter said, “The recall made the third election in the space of a year in which labor failed to defeat Walker or a Walker proxy. The unions lost a fight to oust a Republican state Supreme Court justice and fell short of recalling enough GOP state senators last summer to put Democrats in control of the chamber.”

GUEST: Robert Kraig, Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin

Visit www.citizenactionwi.org for more information.

*As of Wednesday evening Normon Solomon has not conceded the race. He trails the second place vote getter by a small margin with potentially tens of thousands of votes to count. The Marin Independent Journal reports here.

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