It was a tough night for Democrats across the country. Locally, John Garamendi would hold onto his seat with a 52.7-47.3 victory over Dan Logue, in a hotly contested race his campaign called a “decisive win.”
Congressman Garamendi issued the following statement:
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the people of the 3rd Congressional District for this vote of confidence. Together, we sent the clear message that Americans in this corner of the country are tired of the partisan gridlock, sick of the extremism, and ready for a Washington built on important issues, mutual respect, and good-faith compromise.
“I’m proud of the campaign we ran. We focused on real issues that really matter to Northern California. The need to invest in the infrastructure and research that build our economy. The urgency of protecting our vital water resources. The importance of Make It In America policies that help create good middle class jobs. The wisdom in keeping college affordable for all qualified students. The justice of equal pay for equal work. The moral obligation of ensuring that seniors can retire with dignity. The fairness in ensuring that everyone can earn a decent wage and support their families. The urgency in acknowledging and acting on the unambiguous science of the climate crisis.
“No party has a monopoly on good ideas, and while I’m proud to be a Democrat, I know I would not be returning to Congress without substantial support from fair-minded Republican and independent voters. Congress is broken, but every step of the way, I’ve tried to work across the aisle to fix it. I’ve helped forge strong bipartisan coalitions for water policy, our Air Force bases, agriculture, wildfire prevention, levee construction, veterans, small businesses, civil liberties, and Congress’s constitutional obligation to vote on war.
“With the fog of this election behind us, I hope we can all move forward and once again make Congress an institution committed to helping all Americans reach their American Dream. A great nation deserves great representation, and for as long as I’m in Congress, that’s what I’m committed to providing to the 3rd District.”
In the meantime, Yolo County’s new Assemblymember will be Napa Supervisor Bill Dodd, who cruised to an easy 60-39 victory on Tuesday. Bill Dodd’s general election battle, of course, was far easier than the bruising primary where fellow Democrats Dan Wolk and Joe Krovoza waged a pitched battle that ultimately saw Bill Dodd prevail, with Republican Charlie Schaupp finishing second, Dan Wolk third and Joe Krovoza fourth.
In one of the most closely-watched races, Democratic incumbent Ami Bera appears to be on the verge of losing to Republican Doug Ose, himself a former Congressman. With all of the precincts reporting, Doug Ose held a 3011 vote lead. While that race has not been called, it seems unlikely that Congressman Bera will catch Mr. Ose.
In Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson’s bid for new powers for the mayor’s office appears to have gone down to resounding defeat, as the measure trailed 57-43 with all precincts reporting.
In a battle between Democrats fighting to replace outgoing Senate President Darrell Steinberg, Assemblymember Richard Pan defeated Assemblymember Roger Dickinson 53-47.
Torlakson Declares Victory
While none of the partisan statewide races saw any challenges to the Democratic stranglehold over California, the normally low-key state superintendent race drew more than $20 million in outside spending. With all precincts reporting, Tom Torlakson appears to have survived.
He was ahead 52 to 48 percent with about an 180,000 vote lead. Last night he declared victory.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy. They were strong, but we were stronger,” said Mr. Torlakson in a statement. “They were tough, but we were tougher. After all, we’re teachers – we did our homework.”
“We knew that when Californians look for direction on how to improve education – they don’t look to Wall Street. They don’t look to Silicon Valley. They look to the people who are in the schools in their neighborhood every day – the teachers, the school employees, the teacher’s aides, the nurses, the counselors,” he continued.
“There are still many votes to count. But it looks like tonight is a win for the people who do more than talk about improving education – tonight is a win for the people who do something about it,” he said.
It was a vicious battle to end. Tom Torlakson came to Davis last week with the Field Poll showing the two tied.
“The opposition is clear,” Mr. Torlakson told the volunteers. “My opponent is a former Wall Street banker. I’m a teacher, he’s a banker. Different mindset, different goals.”
“He’s been funded by Walmart, one million bucks,” he continued. “(He’s a) Texas Enron trader who wants to end public pensions, Sort of take away what many of our hard working families have earned, paying into their public pension system.”
“We’re seeing that the Walmart folks are for vouchers.” Mr. Torlakson explained this as a way to take public dollars and put them toward private schools. He said this “weakens the schools that are remaining in the neighborhood and community.”
“The people who want to turn California’s public education system over to a Wall Street investment banker will apparently say just about anything to divert attention from Marshall Tuck’s record as a failed Los Angeles school administrator,” Mr. Torlakson said a few weeks ago, as Marshall Tuck unveiled another wave of what Mr. Torlakson’s campaign called “a barrage of misleading attack ads in a last-ditch effort to defeat state Superintendent Tom Torlakson.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Torlakson took the high road, “I congratulate my opponent for running a strong campaign. And while I disagree with him in many respects, I believe he truly wants California’s children to succeed — and I wish him well.
“We are all committed to making our schools better and helping our students achieve their dreams. No one wants that more than California’s teachers. But teachers cannot do it alone – and we cannot do it under siege,” he said. “So if you truly care about our schools, our children and their futures – wonderful. Join us. We’re right down the street – at a school in your neighborhood. We want your help. We need your help.”
He would add, “We said it a lot during our campaign – because it’s true: Our students only get one chance at a great education – let’s all keep working together for a better future for California and our kids.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting