Friday, November 9, 2012

The Other Elections

The Presidential and Senate elections weren't the only contested contests Tuesdays. Voters elected thousands of officials and decided scores of ballot propositions. The results do not provide a clear picture of the American electorate, unlike 2010, with inconsistent results. Some results are fairly determinative.

The battle over gay rights is nearing an end. Maine, Maryland, and Washington voted to legalize gay marriage. Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Opposition to gay rights was not a major campaign issue this year. The Supreme Court will probably invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act.

Maryland voters also supported in state tuition for undocumented college students.

Colorado and Washington, but not Oregon, voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Massachusetts approved medicinal marijuana. Marijuana is on its way to being legal nationally.

Reapportionment was devastating to Republicans in California and Illinois, but was used to advantage by Republicans in several states to preserve their gains of 2010.

Several figures from the past have risen from the political dead. Former Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003 for refusing a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments two ton stone from the courthouse. Voters just returned him to office.

Not to be outdone, Markham, Illinois voters reelected a judge, currently suspended from office since March and barred from entering Cook County Courthouses without a police escort. She is charged with battering a deputy sheriff. Her defense is insanity.

Former Clayton County, Georgia Sheriff Victor Hill won his office back despite the 32 pending felony indictments. Illinois State Senator Derrick Smith (D) was reelected after being expelled pending federal bribery charges.

Iowa voters retained Justice David S. Wiggins on the Iowa Supreme Court. He had voted for gay marriage. Three of his colleagues were bounced from the court in the last election.  

Voters in general in the primary and general election had little tolerance for ethically challenged legislators. The defeated included Representatives Joe Baca, Laura Richardson, both California Democrats, and Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat from Texas. Republicans that were denied reelection include Cliff Stearns of Florida, Joe Walsh of Illinois, and Jean Schmidt of Ohio. Reapportionment played a role in some of their defeats. Representative Shelly Berkley (D Nev) failed to gain a Senate seat.

At the statehouse level, New York City voters tossed Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera (D Bronx) and Senator Shirley L. Huntley (D Queens) in the primaries.

On the other hand Congressman John Tierney (D Mass) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D Mo) won reelection, in the Senator's case because Congressman Todd Akin uttered a congenitally stupid and offensive remark.

Republicans did not suffer as much lower down the ticket as they did in the Presidential race and Senate elections.. For example, they gained a House seat in Pennsylvania, and retained control of the state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Republicans gained control of the Arkansas legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

The Romney-Ryan ticket may have lost Wisconsin, but the Republicans regained control of the state senate.

The Democrats may or may not have regained control of the New York Senate.

Democrats gained control of the New Hampshire House, Oregon House, Colorado House, Maine House, and both houses of the Minnesota legislature. The Republican hold on the Minnesota legislature was precarious. They won control of the House by a grand total of less than 700 votes over 134 districts, and the Senate by slightly over 2,000 votes in 2010. Thus, Minnesota Republicans have controlled the Minnesota Senate only 2 years out of the past 40.

Joe the Plumber lost by a wide margin his campaign for a House seat in Ohio.

Congressman Allen West seems to have lost his seat in Congress, although he is contesting the vote count in St. Lucie in court, but Florida voters returned the bombastic Allen Grayson to Congress. His histrionics will be a source of media attention. Another loud mouth, 80 year old Congressman Pete Stark (D Cal) was bounced from office.

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack was defeated for reelection while her husband, Congressman Connie Mack 1V, lost his bid for the Senate seat in Florida.

Robert McDonald tied for a council seat in Walton, Kentucky with 669 votes. He would have had a winning 670 votes if his wife had voted. She woke up ten minutes before the polls closed. He told her not to vote because one vote wouldn’t make a difference.

San Francisco voted 3-1 to not raze Hetch Hetchy Dam, which would cut off their water supply and some of the city’s electricity. Tuolumme Meadows, prior to construction of the dam, was described as beautiful as Yosemite.

The economic impoverished cities of El Monte (77%) and Richmond (67%), California voted overwhelmingly not to impose a sugar tax on sodas and other beverages. The residents realized that the tax would fall directly on them.

Los Angeles County voters voted to require condoms in hard core sex scenes.
The adult industry threatens to litigate and move.

Larry Agran lost his race for Mayor of Irvine, California, which is the first defeat his political machine has suffered in about 30 years. Two of his political opponents won seats on the Irvine City Council, leaving him in an unfamiliar minority. Agran was so full of himself that he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for President in  1992.

Westminister, California in the heart of Little Saigon elected Tri Ta Mayor, the first Vietnamese mayor in the United States.

Lance Gilman, owner of the famous Mustang Ranch in Story County, Nevada was elected County Commissioner in the 4,000 population county.

69 year old Marc Suben was reelected District Attornet of Cortland County, New York. He lied to reporters in the days before the November 6 election by denying he starred in porn films in the early 1970's.

Arcata, California in the heart of he Emerald Triangle voted to impose an excess electricity tax of 45% on electric bills that exceeds 5X the state's baseline. The voters obviously want residents to grow it outside rather than indoors.

Big labor, especially the public employee unions, won big in California, but lost just as big in Michigan. California voters approved the Prop 30 tax increase, but rejected the Prop 32 restrictions on union political contributions.

Michigan voters decisively rejected Proposition 2, a proposed constitutional amendment which would have recognized collective bargaining as overriding any state regulation. They also rejected the SEIU sponsored Prop 4, which would guarantee home care aides the right of collective bargaining.

California voters rejected a proposal that would ban capital punishment in the state, eventhough federal and state judges have stopped any executions in five years.

Where would we be without Election Day?

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