LOS ANGELES — California’s 2010 primary election is not officially over until July 9, which is the final day for county election officials to forward their results to the secretary of state. In the court of public opinion, some of the Republican races were decided months ago … sort of.
Primary Election Races for Republicans
For the sake of full disclosure, I would like to point out that — although ideologically independent — I voted a Republican ballot in the 2010 primary election. Putting a dot anywhere near Jerry Brown’s name just didn’t hold much appeal. Polls closed at 8 p.m. sharp, and if the dismal attendance at my local polling place is any indication, getting the results tallied and certified won’t take until July 9.
In fact, when casting my ballot at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, I had the only(!) car in the parking lot of the polling place. When chatting with the poll worker, I learned my vote brought voter attendance at this particular locale up to a whopping 68.
Side note: As of May 24, there were 23,453,690 eligible California voters, of whom only 16,977,031 (or 72.39 percent) were registered. The 2010 primary election sees an unprecedented number — 20.2 percent — of ‘”declined to state” voters, while 44.5 percent are registered Democrats and 30.8 percent identify as Republican. The remainder is classified as “other.”
Early Results (9 p.m.) of the 2010 California Election with about 10 Percent of Precincts Reporting
The Democratic nominee for governor — with more than 83 percent at this time — is Jerry Brown. His closest contender is Charles Pineda, Jr. with 4.6 percent. On the Republican side, Meg Whitman is spanking Steve Poizner with 64.7 percent to 26.2 percent.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom eclipses L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn with 54.6 percent to 33.3 percent. Republicans are watching Abel Maldonado — who sold his tax-raising vote in return for the lieutenant governor nomination by Gov. Schwarzenegger — beat Sam Aanestad with 50.6 percent to 25.1 percent.
It is interesting to note that KFI radio has already called — at 9:13 p.m. — the Republican contender to go up against Sen. Barbara Boxer to be Carly Fiorina, who currently has 58.2 percent of the vote. Trailing her are Tom Campbell with 22.5 percent and Chuck DeVore with 16.5 percent. Primary election results for the Republican nominee for secretary of state are too close to call: tax-raising Mike Villines is ahead of Brian Fitzgerald with 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent.
Did Meg Whitman Win or Buy the Nomination?
Meg Whitman declared victory at 9:26 p.m., a mere 86 minutes after the polls closed; Steve Poizner had already conceded and called the nominee to congratulate her. Having received countless leaflets — from both candidates — and multiple daily automated phone calls, I must confess that I am glad to no longer have to deal with them.
Wagging tongues are now arguing that Whitman — the governor’s office in her sights — bought rather than earned the 2010 primary election win by spending (according to the Christian Science Monitor) in excess of $80 million to beat Poizner, who retaliated by investing more than $20 million.
Of course, at the end of the day it matters very little just how Whitman made it onto the November ballot; at this point, the Republican Party is sure to rally behind her to beat out Jerry Brown. On the downside, Steve Poizner has spent a lot of time, money and resources to paint Meg Whitman as a liberal who has little in common with a true-blue Republican.
Will this strategy now come back to haunt the Republican Party? If it cost Whitman some $80-plus million to win the primary, how much will it cost her to battle Brown? (Keep in mind that Brown is solidly backed with big union money!) Looking forward to November, the gubernatorial race is going to heat up for sure.