IRVINE, Calif. — During Tuesday’s California primary, Irvine, a planned community about 42 miles from Los Angeles, was not a hotbed of electioneering activities. Although attack ads and mudslinging marked some campaigns, it seemed like any other day in this Southern California town.
An Unusually Light Irvine Voter Turnout
As a newly-minted California resident, I wasn’t sure what to expect at the polls. Midwestern polling places tend to get a bit rowdy, especially in my hometown of St. Louis. Electioneers, who are supposed to stand at least 100 feet away from a polling place, practically tackle Missouri voters in an effort to stuff a sample ballot in their hand.
But both groups were conspicuously absent in the Village Apartments Occasions Room at 19 Prism, the polling place near my residence. Between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m., I saw no one enter or leave the Occasions Room except for a poll worker stepping outside for some air. Between 7:10 p.m. and 8 p.m., the time when the California polls close down, I saw about seven voters entering the polling place. I was expecting a last-minute rush to the polls, but there was nary a trickle of voters.
The election workers said the turnout was fairly light and that almost no one discussed the election or the hot contests.
Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman Going after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Office
Ads released by Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman, the two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for California’s governor seat, have flooded local TV. With all the mudslinging — Whitman referred to Poizner as “just another Sacramento politician” — I was expecting a pretty strong turnout.
I favored Poizner, an entrepreneur and a man who served as California Insurance Commissioner, over Whitman. California is in a fiscal crisis and I believed that someone like Poizner could help the state manage its economic woes.
Tim McDonnell, an Irvine voter, supported Meg Whitman.
“I think she’ll be a strong candidate for the general election. She has a track record of moving eBay forward, which I thought was very good, certainly after the Internet crash of 2001,” McDonnell said. “I didn’t think the company was going to go away, but I thought it would be difficult to get the company’s value up where it was.”
McDonnell also echoed the sentiments of many Southern Californians. “I want people from the private sector — that’s what I want. I don’t want professional politicians,” he said.
Meg Whitman Earns the Republican Nod for California Governor in Less than an Hour
After the polls had been closed for about an hour, news reports already declared Meg Whitman the winner in the rather aggressive race for the governor’s mansion. Ken McLaughlin over at MercuryNews.com just filed a story declaring Whitman as the winner. McLaughlin pointed out Whitman, the billionaire who once ran eBay, financed her campaign with $71 million of her own money (Poizner spent a more conservative $24.7 million of his own funds).
Given the amount of money spent on the GOP primary for California’s governor, there’s a bit of irony in Whitman’s win. Both candidates talked about balancing the California budget and making the state strong again, but the candidate that won spent the most on television attack ads. That’s food for thought going into the California general election later this year.
Mercury News, “It’s over: Whitman beats Poizner in GOP battle for governor,” Ken McLaughlin