The big California news is that the Democrats appear to have lost their super majority in both houses. In a statewide election that leaves all statewide offices in Democrat hands, several incumbents apparently lost their seats. Several races are very close and are still being counted. The Secretary of State’s website is monitoring several razor thin races on a special page of the website. The close races are defined as within two-percentage points. Those races include the Costa-Tacherra contest along with two other congressional races: Brownley-Gorrell (current edge to Brownley, the Democrat) and Bera-Ose in (current edge to Bera, the Democrat.)
Republicans Win Congressional Majority for First Time in 8 Years
Republicans took back control of the Senate on Tuesday night by adding at least seven seats to their ranks, riding a wave of discontent with and resentment toward President Obama and his policies and consolidating Republican power on Capitol Hill. The seventh Democratic seat the Republicans picked up was in North Carolina, where Thom Tillis defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan. Voters in Arkansas and Colorado ousted Democratic incumbents Mark Pryor and Mark Udall and elected Republicans in West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota. The Senate seat in Louisiana will see a runoff in December. In the House, Republicans picked up 13 seats and now have a 247-seat majority – the largest since the Hoover administration. 20 House seats are still undecided including possibly the most competitive House race this election between Democratic Rep. Ron Barber and Former Air Force Col. Martha McSally, a Republican. As of Wednesday, McSally was holding a slim 161-vote lead. This race looked much like the 2012 election, when the victor, Barber, was declared 12 days after Election Day. Under Arizona law, a recount is required if the margin is less than 200 votes.
Despite multiple strong media endorsements for Marshall Tuck for Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) – Tuck joined with the Republicans who lost all of the statewide races – losing by about 4.3%. Brown won by 17 points and the next “closest” races were Secretary of State and Controller – with 5% spreads.
Propositions 1 & 2 won by similar 30-point spreads. The healthcare measures (45 & 46) lost, Prop 47 that makes some felonies misdemeanors won and the referendum on off-site indian gaming overturned a State compact that allowed a casino to be built on non-tribal land. Supporters of the gambling expansion will sue and some have already opined a state referendum measure cannot overturn a Federal act that the compact was based upon.
The Strong Mayor measure L supported by Mayor Johnson failed 43-57. It will be interesting to see the relationship between Johnson and Councilman Steve Hansen, who lead the opposition. In CD 7 – former congressman Doug Ose (R) is behind first-term incumbent Ami Bera (D). Richard Pan (D) won SD 6 by 5% – beating former Supervisor Roger Dickinson. City Councilman Kevin McCarty (D) beat Steve Cohn (D) in AD 7. Incumbent Ken Cooley (D) won easily in AB 8, Elk Grove Councilman Jim Cooper (D) won in a “top two” race in AD 9 against Councilman Darrell Fong (D). At the City school board – the teachers’ union scored only one win – taking out incumbent Jeff Cuneo in the four races they targeted. Contractor Jeff Harris beat business-supported Cyril Shah in Sac City Council seat 3 and former SMUD board member Larry Carr won in seat 7.
A big surprise in AD 16 – Catharine Baker (R) beat CTA supported Tim Sbranti (D) by almost 4%. This was a big win for Republicans but the Democrats are already plotting to make Baker a one-term member.
James Gore took a commanding lead in the race to replace Mike McGuire as the 4th District Sonoma County supervisor, establishing a sizable advantage over veteran councilwoman Deb Fudge. This is a big deal for Sonoma County as Fudge was connected to the North Bay Labor Council. The local paper commented “Hopefully this says to Lisa Maldonado and Jack Buckhorn that their negative campaign attack ads greatly hurt Deb Fudge just like it lost Michael Allen his race two years ago. These tactics are a disgrace, and the people of the fourth will not accept these union special interests in their district. Fudge had the opportunity to distance herself from Lisa, but instead she supported her attacks.”
The Santa Rosa CCD is another story, IBEW’s Jack Buckhorn put a lot of effort into getting rid of the long time incumbents because they would not support a PLA and there is $410 million in bond money to spend at the CCD now.
The big surprise was in CD 16 where 5-term Congressman Jim Costa is so close to his Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra – leading by only about 70 votes. Costa won in 2012 with 54% but moved into a district with slightly better numbers – polling had Costa up by 14%. Further south in CD 21 David Valadao (R) won reelection. While Senator Anthony Cannella (R) regularly votes with the State Building and Construction Trades Council – his win in SD 12 keeps Democrats from a 2/3 supermajority. Both he and SD 14’s Andy Vidak (R) scored well above their party registration numbers. Unfortunately ABC CC staffer Russell Johnson lost his race for Kern County Assessor.
Tom Lackey trounced first term incumbent Steve Fox (D) in AD 36 – another Republican pickup.
CD 24 – Lois Capps (D) won by less than 5,000, Steve Knight (R) beat Tony Strickland (R) in one of the same party races, in CD 26 about 2,400 votes separate incumbent Julia Brownley (D) and Jeff Gorrell (R).
There were two surprises in LA County; first was the apparent win by Republican David Hadley over incumbent Al Muratsuchi (D) in AD 66. Second incumbent Democrat Raul Bocanegra in AD 39 trails another Democrat Patty Lopez.
One of the big upsets was in SD 34. This was a D seat that pitted OC Supervisor Janet Nguyen (R) against former Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D). This seat had been held by Lou Correa (D) and most thought the race would be closer than the 20% spread that is sending Nguyen to the State Senate along with her fellow Supervisor Pat Bates (R) in SD 36. Another pickup was in AD 65 where Young Kim (R) beat incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) by 12 points.
Carl DeMaio (R) lost to incumbent Scott Peters. Chris Cate won San Diego City Council seat 6 which means the end of Council Democrats’ super-majority, which came with the ability to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto. ABC SD staffer Bill Baber is now City Councilman-elect (La Mesa) Bill Baber.
These elections will set off no fewer than five special elections – so elections aren’t over yet!
More Greenmail. We have written about construction union “environmental activism” and its deleterious effect on projects. Well – they apparently killed another manufacturing project in Los Angeles.
LA County’s Metro transit system is buying 175 new rail cars from Kinkisharyo International. Kinkisharyo has to assemble these cars in LA and planned a new $50 million, 400,000 square-foot facility in Palmdale. They would eventually employ 250 skilled, well-paid workers there. Not so fast, said IBEW Local 11. It’s virtually certain that union workers would fill these jobs, but IBEW insisted that the company allow the union to organize the workers by “card check.” The company resisted this proposal, arguing that the employees and employer should have the option of an election. IBEW responded by threatening to file a CEQA lawsuit under the auspices of a local “citizens group” organized by the local and its law firm, Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo. They asserted the project could cause “widespread environmental damage.” Not explicitly stated, but surely implied was that these environmental impacts could be mitigated by permitting IBEW to use card check to organize the plant’s employees. The citizens group filed a CEQA appeal. Kinkisharyo has opted to look for a new out-of-state location for its plant in order to meet Metro’s delivery schedule. And the 250 jobs that could have bolstered the High Desert’s economy will be welcomed by a state that doesn’t prize litigation over economic growth.
The very next week the same law firm notified the County of Sacramento they wished to be advised of any land use decisions about a proposed development in Sacramento County. Any bets they will have more concerns about “widespread environmental damage.”
Employer’s requirement to post a social media disclaimer passes NLRB muster
According to a newly released Advice Memorandum from the NLRB, employers may require their employees to post disclaimers on social media to state their views are their own and not those of their employer. The issue arose in a case involving a challenge to several provisions of an employer’s social media policy, including the requirement that an employee post, “The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.” In a memo prepared in 2012 but just released in September, a member of the Division of Advice recognized that the employer had a legitimate interest in protecting itself from unauthorized postings and found that the disclosure requirement was not unlawful. To read the Advice Memorandum, click here.
Steinberg Lands New Gig. According to the Sacramento Business Journal former Senate President Pro-tem Darrell Steinberg has landed at a law firm in Sacramento. “Former state Senate majority leader Darrell Steinberg has accepted a job at the Sacramento office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP. Beginning Dec. 1, Steinberg will join the firm full-time as chairman of its California government law and policy practice. He will provide counsel on issues around agriculture, biotechnology, education, entertainment, green energy, health care, technology and transportation. Steinberg has spent the last six years as Senate president pro tempore. He represented Sacramento in the state Legislature for 14 of the past 16 years. Before that, he served on the Sacramento City Council for six years.”