Politics

Election 2014 statewide results: A good night for Governor Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, smiles as he talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion State Historic Park after winning re-election  Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.   Brown defeated Republican challenger Neel Kashari to  becomes the first person to be elected governor four times.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, smiles as he talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion State Historic Park after winning re-election Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. Brown defeated Republican challenger Neel Kashari to becomes the first person to be elected governor four times.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, smiles as he talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion State Historic Park after winning re-election  Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.   Brown defeated Republican challenger Neel Kashari to  becomes the first person to be elected governor four times.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Congressional district 33 candidate Ted Lieu arrives to his election night party at the Proud Bird in Westchester on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2014.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, smiles as he talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion State Historic Park after winning re-election  Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.   Brown defeated Republican challenger Neel Kashari to  becomes the first person to be elected governor four times.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Fermin Vasquez of Community Coalition attends an election party supporting Proposition 47 put on by Californians for Safe Neighborhoods & Schools at the JW Marriott at LA Live on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2014.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, smiles as he talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion State Historic Park after winning re-election  Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.   Brown defeated Republican challenger Neel Kashari to  becomes the first person to be elected governor four times.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Elan Carr talks with E. Hamid at his campaign party at the Beverly Hilton. Hamid supported Carr with donations and his vote, he said. Hamid likes that Carr is Jewish and from Iraq, close to Hamid's home country, Iran. "We need a congress run by republican people," Hamid said.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC
Gov. Jerry Brown, accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust Brown, smiles as he talks to reporters outside the Old Governors Mansion State Historic Park after winning re-election  Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.   Brown defeated Republican challenger Neel Kashari to  becomes the first person to be elected governor four times.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Congressional district 33 candidate Ted Lieu arrives to his election night party at the Proud Bird in Westchester on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2014.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


Results updates: National | Local | NPR's Election Board

Jerry Brown is having a good night. He's won an easy fourth term as California governor, and the two state propositions he backed appear to be coasting to victory. 

With 53 percent of precincts reporting, approval for Propositions 1 and 2 — measures calling for a restructuring of the state's water system and the strengthening of the state's "rainy day" fund respectively — were leading by margins of more than 30 percent. 

An effort to reform California's criminal code to reduce penalties for some crimes (Prop 47) also appeared to have gained voters' approval, albeit by somewhat tighter margins.

Bids to reform the state's health care system (Prop  45), require drug testing for medical doctors (Prop 46) and extend Indian gaming compacts (Prop 48) weren't faring as well. All appeared headed for defeat.

In two hotly contested California House races, former state senator Ted Lieu (D) led his Republican opponent by 13 percentage points. Fellow democrat incumbent Julia Brownley was barely leading her Republican rival Jeff Gorrell by a single percentage point. 

Updates: 

Update 10:58 p.m.: Insurance commissioner Jones leading; health care proposition appears headed for defeat 

Incumbent California insurance commissioner Dave Jones is leading the race against Republican Ted Gaines. Jones is ahead by 10 percent, with 31 percent of precincts reporting. The proposition he championed, however, isn't doing as well. 

Prop 45, backed by consumer advocacy groups but vigorously opposed by health care groups and some supporters of Covered California, appeared to be heading for defeat. With 31 percent of precincts reporting, 60 percent of voters were against the measure. 

The Associated Press reports: 

Opponents said it would give the commissioner too much power and meddle with the state's recently created health insurance exchange, harming California's ability to deliver low-cost health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Consumer Watchdog's president, Jamie Court, said his group made a final push for votes but was outspent by insurance companies. As of late October, most of the $55 million in opposition funding had come from four major health insurers: Kaiser, WellPoint, Blue Shield and Health Net.

"Whatever happens tonight, this is a battle in a war that is going to be going on until health insurance companies are accountable for what they charge," Court said.

You can see a breakdown of expenditures for and against Prop 45 here: 

The AP has projected the proposition will fail, based on exit polls. 

Update 10:30 p.m. Elan Carr greets well-wishers in Beverly Hills

Republican congressional candidate Elan Carr joined about 100 well wishes at his campaign headquarters, a wine cellar at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It is perhaps the most low-key of the local parties, with no campaign signs, only red, white and blue balloons.

Carr came out to speak to supporters, who were glued to the televisions, cheering reports that Republicans would take the Senate.

"People want to get in touch with something that brings people together," Carr told KPCC. "Especially since the chief complaint of voters in our district and across the country is the gridlock in Washington —  the disfunction, the inability to come together on the most basic issues and move the country forward."

Elan Carr

Update 10:26 p.m.: Newsom declares victory in Lt. gov race

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has declared victory in his race against Republican Ron Nehring. 

Tweet: Newsom declares victory

Newsom, a Democrat best known for issuing marriage licenses to gay couples while mayor of San Francisco, announced his support for the legalization of marijuana and his opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown's high-speed rail project. 

Nehring, 44, tweeted his concession and congratulations to Newsom earlier in the night. 

Tweet: Nehring concession

Update 10:06 p.m.: Republican Peterson in early lead to be secretary of state

The race to become California's next elections chief was a tight contest, with early returns giving first-time candidate Pete Peterson a slight lead — a result that if it held up would give Republicans a rare win in a deeply Democratic state.

With 2.6 million votes counted Tuesday — but millions more than that cast and awaiting tallying — Peterson held a 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent lead over Democrat Alex Padilla.

The two are running to be the next secretary of state, an office responsible for organizing statewide elections, regulating political fundraising and overseeing business registration. Democratic incumbent Debra Bowen is termed out.

"Whatever happens I'm very proud of the campaign we've run," Peterson said by telephone from his Election Night party on Santa Monica's pier. "This was about making government work better for people."

For his part, Padilla was hoping that votes in strongly Democratic Los Angeles — which he has represented the past eight years as a state senator— would swing the election in his favor.

"I'm hoping that the home base pulls through for us in a big way," he said.

Peterson and Padilla shared many campaign themes, with both saying they want to increase voter turnout, use technology to improve civic participation and make it easier to start a business.

Peterson left a career in the printing industry to study and then try to fix what he sees as a broken bond between the public and government. He is executive director of Pepperdine University's Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership.

He describes himself as a limited-government Republican and believes California needs to invest more heavily in boosting civic engagement. As if to emphasize that issue, the Field Poll projected that just 46 percent of registered voters would turn out for Tuesday's election. That would be an all-time low for a statewide general election in California. Turnout in June was just 25 percent, a record low for a primary.

Padilla entered politics soon after graduating with an engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his two terms in the state senate, where he is being termed out, he wrote laws allowing driverless cars on California roads and banning single-use plastic shopping bags.

— Associated Press

Update 9:38 p.m.: Brown claims victory after Kashkari concedes

Tweet: Ben Adler

Brown claimed victory Tuesday night, shortly after his Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari conceded the race. 

In his victory speech, Brown told reporters and colleagues he'd learned from his the mistakes of his second term, so he wouldn't make them again in his fourth. 

The AP reports: 

"Since I've done it three times, I am not under any illusions that this is some kind of picnic," Brown told reporters about his next term, citing the record drought and need to keep the state checkbook balanced.

You can see a portion of Brown's speech here: 

Video: Jerry Brown 'invigorated by success

Neel Kashkari took the stage at his election night party at the Westin South Coast Plaza a few minutes before 8:30 and conceded to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Kashkari said his campaign had always been a long shot but he had no regrets. Kashkari said he had offered his congratulations to Brown and urged him to "be bold” in his final term as governor.

Kashkari said he offered to help Brown in any way he could.

A former Goldman Sachs investment banker, Kashkari appears to be trying to create a new model for the Republican party in California, one that broadens the party’s appeal to voters.

Kashkari tweeted his thanks to followers and fans: 

Kashkari tweet

Update 9:26 p.m.: California water bond appears headed for approval 

A $7.5 billion measure to revamp California's outdated water system amid the state's historic drought appeared headed for an easy victory Tuesday.

Proposition 1 would invest $2.7 billion in addition water storage, including two new reservoirs, along with billions more for conservation, water recycling and groundwater cleanup.

With nearly 2.5 million ballots counted, the measure had 68 percent support.

Backers, including Gov. Jerry Brown, said the drought underscores the need for California to take action now. Proposition 1 calls for directing the state to issue $7.1 billion in new borrowing and redirect $425 million from past ballot propositions.

The proposal drew criticism from those who said these projects are years away from providing benefits.

Opponents, including farmers in the Northern Californian delta and sport fishing interests, say attention to the state's water system is long overdue, but this initiative was not the answer. A group called Californians Against More Debt, Misplaced Spending argued that the measure would thrust the state into deeper long-term debt and do nothing to address the ongoing drought.

Repaying the water bond could cost more than $14 billion over 40 years, according to the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.

The question appeared on the ballot amid California's third consecutive dry year and after Brown in January declared a drought emergency.

Many provisions in the measure are designed to increase the availability of water, with the largest single portion of the bond likely being spent on building the Sites Reservoir in Colusa County north of Sacramento and the Temperance Flat reservoir northeast of Fresno. Another $725 million would be spent on water recycling and treatment projects, and $900 million would go toward cleaning up contaminated groundwater.

Not all the money is designated for bolstering supplies. The second largest funding category sets aside $1.5 billion for ecosystems and watershed projects, while $395 million is available for shoring up levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

In August, Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature voted nearly unanimously to put it on the ballot in a rare sign of bipartisan solidarity on the often thorny subject of water.

— Associated Press

Update 9:02 p.m.: Torlakson takes early lead in schools chief race 

Incumbent Tom Torlakson has taken an early lead in the hotly contested race for California's elected superintendent of schools.

With more than 2 million votes counted and millions more yet to be tallied, early returns from Tuesday's nonpartisan election showed Torlakson leading challenger Marshall Tuck 54 percent to 46 percent.

Torlakson is a former high school science teacher and state lawmaker who was elected as the state's K-12 schools chief four years ago.

Tuck is a former charter schools executive who built his campaign around reforming the state's generous tenure laws and other job protections for teachers. Both candidates are Democrats.

Spending in the race has exceeded $22 million, making it the most expensive election for a statewide office this year apart from the governor's race.

The outcome is being watched outside California as a referendum on the state's underachieving education system.

— Associated Press

Update 8:50 p.m.: Democrat Jones leads insurance commissioner race 

Democratic incumbent Dave Jones took an early lead Tuesday in the race for state insurance commissioner.

Jones held 54.4 percent of the vote with 14 percent of precincts counted and many more to be tabulated. His Republican opponent state Sen. Ted Gaines had 45.6 percent.

Jones, 52, has led the state's Department of Insurance since 2010.

During his campaign, Jones said he helped save businesses and consumers $1.4 billion by rejecting excessive premium increases for auto, home and other insurance.

He has also pushed for expanded authority to veto rate increases proposed by health insurers for individual and small group plans. A measure to give the commissioner that authority was also on Tuesday's ballot.

Gaines opposed the proposal, saying it would hurt competition and limit choices for consumers.

The question of whether health insurers should be treated more like auto and homeowner insurance companies will be put to the test with Proposition 45. Health insurance companies have poured millions of dollars into advertising in an effort to shoot it down.

Jones said during his tenure he also has negotiated reductions in health insurance rates and slashed the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Jones previously served in the state Assembly after beginning his career as a legal aid attorney with Legal Services of Northern California.

Gaines, 56, was elected to the state Senate in 2010 after serving in the Assembly and is chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.

Gaines, an independent insurance agent, said Jones has not done enough to increase competition among insurance companies.

Associated Press

Update 8:41 p.m.: Tribal gaming measure loses steam in early returns

A ballot measure that would allow a Native American tribe near Fresno to build a Las Vegas-style casino off its reservation is getting resistance from voters.

Early returns Tuesday show nearly 58 percent of voters rejecting Proposition 48, which would set a precedent for tribal gambling in California.

Voters were asked to approve or reject a law passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would allow the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians to build a Las Vegas-style casino with up to 2,000 slot machines nearly 40 miles from its reservation.

The casino was proposed about 30 miles from Fresno and 25 miles from a casino operated by the Table Mountain Rancheria tribe.

That proximity had Table Mountain accusing North Fork of "reservation shopping" to build a casino closer to an urban center.

North Fork said the 305-acre plot was used by the tribe in the 1850s and a casino would bring 4,500 jobs to the area.

— Associated Press

Update 8:31 p.m.: AP projects Brown wins fourth term

The Associated Press is projecting Governor Brown has won an unprecedented fourth term in the governor's office, based on exit polling. Only 6 percent of state votes are currently in. 

According to the wire service: 

The 76-year-old Brown is already the state's longest-serving governor. He logged two terms in the office from 1975 to 1983 and made history again by winning the fourth term.

Brown argued during the campaign that he led a comeback by the state after the recession cost California more than a million jobs.

His victory came amid a tough political environment for Democrats nationally, with widespread voter discontent with President Barack Obama.

The governor's race topped a state ballot in which battles over congressional and legislative seats, and a handful of state and local initiatives, garnered the most attention.