Elections 2010

3 of 4 close California races settled; Cooley-Harris attorney general race still too close to call

After eight days of razor thin margins and alternating leads, three of the four California races which were too tight to call on election night have seemingly come to a close; however, the attorney general's is still too close to call.

Attorney General

The big story is the tight race between Republican Steve Cooley and Democrat Kamala Harris for the office of attorney general, and that race remains too close to call. The latest numbers from the Secretary of State's Office show Cooley leading Harris by .2% (that’s 19,357 votes), which is a narrowing lead, but there are still over a million vote-by-mail, provisional and damaged ballots to be counted throughout the state.

Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star uses proportions to predict the distribution of the remaining votes, and predicts that Cooley will win by about 15,000 votes when it's all said and done.

U.S. House of Representatives: 11th and 20th Congressional Districts

With widening leads, Democrats declared victory today in the two tight congressional races in the 11th and 20th districts.

The 11th District sees Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney leading Republican David Harmer by 1,685 votes, with about 11,000 ballots left to be counted.

In a statement today, Rep. McNerney's campaign manager said, “With the vast majority of votes tallied, the results are clear. Congressman McNerney now has an insurmountable lead.”

In the 20th District, Rep. Jim Costa is declaring victory over his challenger Andy Vidak, after swinging into the lead by about 1,200 votes yesterday.

The Fresno Bee writes:

In the initial vote count after the Nov. 2 election, Vidak led Costa by 1,823 votes. By Friday, that lead was down to 648 votes, and on Monday, it dropped to a razor-thin 145 votes.

Vidak's lead originally came from his strength in Kings County, where he dominated. However, as ballot counts have continued rolling in from Kern and Fresno counties, that lead has deteriorated. 

However, like his counterpart in the 11th District, and with at least several thousand ballots left to be counted in the 20th, Vidak has not yet conceded defeat.

Mayor of Oakland

Jean Quan was finally announced to be mayor-elect of Oakland last night, after a nail-biting post-election episode.

The race saw an interesting turn of events due to the ranked-choice ballot system in place there. The ballots ask voters to choose first-, second- and third-choice votes for the office of mayor, unlike the traditional one-vote system. 

The San Francisco Chronicle writes:

Former state Sen. Don Perata had 34 percent of first-place votes in the initial tallying of the ranked-choice balloting, while Quan was in second with 25 percent. But when eliminated candidates' second- and third-place votes were redistributed, Quan vaulted into the lead.

Perata, like Meg Whitman, outspent his opponents during the campaign. Perata cited voter confusion surrounding ranked-choice voting as being instrumental to his loss. 

From Perata's concession speech today, the Chronicle reports:

"The results are pretty clear," he said. "The people of this city voted for ranked-choice voting. You play by the rules and you win or lose by the rules."

Perata nonetheless suggested that ranked-choice voting was problematic. His campaign said the precincts in the flatlands where Perata did best were also where voter errors resulted in a large number of ballots being thrown out.

"I think people were confused," Perata said.

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