Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California results: Dense fog sends LA County ballots to Puente Hills Mall instead of vote counting center

12:10 a.m. Mary Bono Mack holds narrow lead in early returns; about a dozen California House seats up for grabs

About a dozen House races from San Diego to Sacramento remained hotly contested Tuesday as early returns showed political incumbents in a handful of California districts maintaining a razor-thin edge.

The state’s congressional races drew intense interest from national Democrats and Republicans alike this year, after California’s independent redistricting process transformed them from gerrymandered strongholds to free-for-alls in which once-safe, long-serving lawmakers fought for their political lives.

In one of the newly drawn districts in the rural San Joaquin Valley, early returns showed freshman Republican Rep. Jeff Denham staving off his Democratic challenger, former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez.


CA Congressional races to watch Tuesday night

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The bitter intra-party contest between Democrats Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman is just one of many California Congressional races to watch on election night.

California's citizen-drawn redistricing plan has done its job, shaking up the political establishment in the state's 53 Congressional districts. The state's top-two rule has created half-a-dozen races with candidates from the same party facing off Tuesday.


36th Congressional District — Coachella Valley:

Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack faces emergency room physician, Democrat Raul Ruiz. The Democrats' Congressional PAC has targeted this race. The GOP is pouring money in as well. As of mid-October, the two sides had raised more than $2.5 million, outside of PAC money. The redrawn district has a slight majority of Republicans, but a lot of independent voters as well, and a large Latino population. The race has turned nasty, with accusations of tax evasion on one side and radical politics on the other. The Cook Political Report says the race is too close to call.


Last-minute mailer lists Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson as Republican; campaign calls it 'dirty politics'

Reps. Laura Richardson, left, and Janice Hahn, right, face each other in the race for Congress' 44th District.

Just days before Tuesday's election, a California congresswoman has changed political parties — or at least that's what mail from a former councilman landing at voters' homes says.

Rep. Laura Richardson's campaign was outraged Monday after residents in her Los Angeles-area district received mail labeling her a Republican in her race against fellow Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn.

Richardson is — and has been — a Democrat.

Spokeswoman Jasmyne Cannick tells the Los Angeles Times the mailers amount to "dirty politics."

RELATED: Election Day: Join KPCC for full coverage on the radio, online and in person

The mailer lists several offices with recommendations.

Under the section labeled "44th District," it lists Hahn as a Democrat and Richardson as a Republican.

The ads were sent by a former Los Angeles councilman who once worked for Hahn's late father. Nate Holden tells the newspaper the error was unintentional and he regrets it.


UPDATE: Groups behind anti-Prop 30 donation revealed

Gov. Jerry Brown

Sharon McNary/KPCC

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks in support of Prop. 30 at a rally of UCLA students on campus, Oct. 16, 2012

UPDATE 5:43 p.m.: After giving up an intense legal battle, the Arizona-based group Americans for Responsible Leadership has revealed the sources behind an $11 million donation it made to a campaign involved with two hot-button propositions on Tuesday's ballot.

California's Fair Political Practices Commission, which has been seeking the identity of the donors, says the money came from Virginia-based Americans for Job Security, through a second intermediary, the Arizona-based Center to Protect Patient Rights.

The FPPC is characterizing the tangled donation as a form of money laundering.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris says further investigation is “absolutely necessary”  to unearth any possible violations of civil or criminal laws.   

"It’s a bit outrageous for folks who are out of state to pour $11 million into California with the intent of manipulating the outcome," Harris said.


Ads for Palm Springs Congressional race flood LA airwaves

Raul Ruiz and Mary Bono-Mack

KPCC and Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Republican incumbent Mary Bono-Mack and her Democratic opponent, Raul Ruiz, have been buying ad time in both the Palm Springs and L.A. TV markets.

Seen enough political ads? The glut has been added to by a Congressional candidate who is running TV spots in L.A. — far away from her Coachella Valley district. 

You’d expect ads from Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack to show up on TV stations in Palm Springs — the heart of her district. But they’re also showing up on L.A. stations, where the cost of a commercial is anywhere from five to ten times as expensive.

Alison Hendrix, general sales manager at Palm Springs station KMIR, says this has been the busiest — and most expensive — political ad season in her memory.  But she says her station didn't sell all its available airtime. TV stations, Hendrix says, are "like the airline industry" —  there's always a spot available for someone willing to pay the price.

But the Bono Mack campaign decided to spend their extra money on TV ads in L.A.