Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 15, 2012
Pollster: Younger voters didn't decide outcome of Prop. 30

Younger voters turned out in surprisingly high numbers on Nov. 6, but they didn't spell victory or defeat for Proposition 30 or other key ballot issues, according to the director of the Field Poll.

"It helped the margin of victory, but it didn't change the outcome," Mark DiCamillo said of a surge in balloting by voters ages 18 to 29 that bolstered support for the Proposition 30 tax measure.

DiCamillo estimated that the unexpectedly large youth vote raised the Proposition 30 tally by about four percentage points, but the measure won by nearly nine percentage points.

DiCamillo and Mark Baldassare, head of the Public Policy Institute of California, dissected election results Thursday at a session of the Sacramento Press Club.

Even more significant than the youth vote was the impact of ethnic-minority voters. They turned out in record numbers and tended to oppose Republican positions, the duo said.

November 15, 2012
Ami Bera ousts Rep. Dan Lungren in congressional race

Democrat Ami Bera has won his tight race against incumbent GOP Rep. Dan Lungren to fill the 7th District Congressional seat representing the suburbs of Sacramento.

The Associated Press called the race this afternoon as Bera's lead over Lungren had grown to almost 5,700 votes, according to the latest vote count.

Bera, an Elk Grove Democrat, led longtime Republican lawmaker Lungren by 184 votes on election night. His lead grew to about 3,800 votes on Tuesday.

As of today's count, Bera has 51.11 percent of the vote to Lungren's 48.89 percent.

November 15, 2012
Ami Bera's lead over Dan Lungren continues to grow

The tight race for Congress between Rep. Dan Lungren and Ami Bera is tilting further in Bera's favor. His lead has grown to almost 5,700 votes, according to the latest vote count released today.

Bera, an Elk Grove Democrat, led longtime Republican lawmaker Lungren by 184 votes on election night. His lead grew to about 3,800 votes on Tuesday in the race to fill the 7th District Congressional seat representing the suburbs of Sacramento.

As of today's count, Bera has 51.11 percent of the vote to Lungren's 48.89 percent. Brad Buyse of the Sacramento County registrar's office said officials still have more than 7,700 vote-by-mail ballots to count in addition to 31,000 provisional ballots.

The contest was one of the country's most expensive Congressional races this year, with outside groups spending more than $8 million - largely on negative advertising.

November 15, 2012
VIDEO: Gray 'Gravy' Davis roasted, tries saying 'What's up?'

Former Gov. Gray Davis will turn 70 next month, and to celebrate he subjected himself to a roast.

The event, which followed dinner with friends and former staffers Wednesday at The California Museum, included more than a few jokes about Davis' rigidity and prodigious fundraising.

The real highlight, though, was a video including clips of Davis playing himself, choking on a cigar, raising the wall - not the roof - and learning to say, "What's up?"

The video, presented by Jason Kinney, the Democratic strategist and former Davis aide, includes a clip of Davis recording a tribute suitable for any Assembly speaker's retirement - "The Assembly goes through speakers like I go through blue shirts and red ties," he says - and an interview with Davis' wife, Sharon, about the influence of her husband's political adviser, Garry South.

"He knows what's best for us," she says. "He takes polls, you know. He really takes a lot of polls."

November 15, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Will California Dems 'loosen up' on budget?

Dan says that building the next fiscal year's state budget will be "a big test" of the California Legislature's Democratic leaders.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 15, 2012
AM Alert: Is Proposition 8 referendum in the cards?

VIDEO: Dan Walters mulls whether Democrats in the California Legislature will "loosen up" on the state budget after years of cuts.

Will Senate leader Darrell Steinberg mention Proposition 8 at the Harry S. Truman Democratic Club luncheon he's headlining in downtown Sacramento today?

During a chat with The Bee's editorial board Wednesday, Steinberg said he could envision the Democrat-controlled Legislature using its new-found two-thirds majority power to put a gay-marriage referendum on a future statewide ballot.

"Depending upon what the Supreme Court might or might not do with Proposition 8, in coalition with stakeholders and the gay and lesbian leadership, if it were appropriate and necessary to put a repeal of Prop. 8 on the ballot with our two-thirds supermajority, I would be open to that," the Sacramento Democrat said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear an appeal by groups that support the voter-approved 2008 ballot measure, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional, prompting an appeal to the high court. The court will announce whether it will take the case by the end of this month, which would set it on a path for a final ruling next year.

Today is also the day for "The Mark and Mark Show." Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll and Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California will be dissecting why voters voted the way they did in the Nov. 6 election. The luncheon is something of a tradition for the Sacramento Press Club, which is hosting the event. The deadline has passed, but you can read more about the event at this link.

DiCamillo will also be at Sacramento State this morning comparing the pre-election polls with the election results. He'll be talking with political scientists on topics such as polling methodology and accuracy from 10 to 11 a.m. in the University Union's Lobby Suite.

In election news, the Assembly has its Democratic supermajority. Jim Sanders reported Wednesday that Republican incumbent Chris Norby has conceded to his Democratic challenger, Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva, in the 65th Assembly District.

We're also expected updated numbers today in the Ami Bera-Dan Lungren race in the 7th Congressional District. The Scott Peters-Brian Bilbray matchup in the 52nd Congressional District still hasn't been called either.

In close same-party Assembly races, the Associated Press has finally called the 67th Assembly District race for Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Melissa Melendez over fellow Republican Phil Paule, the district director for GOP Rep. Darrell Issa.

Here are other legislative races still up in the air. The lineups are still the same.

10th Assembly District: San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine leads the incumbent, fellow Democrat Michael Allen.

18th Assembly District: Rob Bonta leads fellow Democrat Abel Guillen.

20th Assembly District: Bill Quirk leads fellow Democrat Jennifer Ong.

36th Assembly District: Republican Ron Smith leads Democrat Steve Fox.

40th Assembly District: Republican incumbent Mike Morrell leads Democratic challenger Russ Warner.

50th Assembly District: Richard Bloom leads the incumbent, fellow Democrat Betsy Butler.

5th Senate District: Republican Bill Berryhill leads Democrat Cathleen Galgiani.

HIGHER ED: Students leaders and members of the UC Student Association is holding a presser at the University of California regents' meeting to urge legislators and the regents to roll back tuition and reinvest in the university system. The event starts at 8 a.m. on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus.

Jon Ortiz contributed to this report with details on Senate leader Darrell Steinberg's visit to The Bee's editorial board.

November 15, 2012
Study finds California high in family-income inequality

California has one of the nation's highest levels of income inequality -- gaps between families in upper income brackets and those in middle and lower quintiles -- according to a new study by the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The left-leaning organization, whose California affiliate is the California Budget Project, found that in the late part of the last decade, California had the third greatest disparity between those in the top income brackets and those at the bottom of any state. Only New Mexico and Arizona had greater gaps.

When it came to the gap between those at the top and those in the middle, California had the second widest gap, lower only than New Mexico's. It also had the second largest increase in the gap between top and middle during the preceding three decades, from the late 1970s. Only Connecticut's gap grew more.

Nationally, the organization found that the richest fifth of households had average incomes eight times as large as those of the poorest fifth. It suggested that states with wide income gaps could close them with such steps as raising the minimum wage, making tax systems less regressive, strengthening benefits to low-income families and improving unemployment insurance benefits.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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