ELECTION UPDATE - December 4, 2008
Here’s an update on the races important to CAOC members.
Hannah-Beth Jackson SD 19 (Santa Barbara)
This race came to a final and unfortunate close, with Jackson conceding to Strickland after it became apparent that the remaining ballots would not be enough to turn the tide.
Despite being outspent by well-over $1 million in IEs, Jackson came-up about 900 votes short in her valiant attempt to win this Republican district.
In an email recently sent out an email to her supporters, Jackson said, “It has been an honor and a privilege for me to have been your standard-bearer for the values and beliefs we share and the vision we have for our state's future.” We also thank Jackson for her hard-fought race.
Alyson Huber AD 10 (El Dorado Hills)
Huber achieved the greatest upset of the election with a narrow win over heavily-favored Jack Sieglock. Huber ran a superb campaign and the race became a top priority for the Assembly Majority Caucus in the waning weeks of the campaign. Huber will be replacing Alan Nakanishi, who was a consistent vote against consumers.
Proposition 11 - Redistricting
In what was the closest statewide race this election, Proposition 11 squeaked-by with 50.9% of the vote. Several civil rights groups that were opposed to the redistricting measure reportedly are considering filing a lawsuit or asking for intervention by the Department of Justice.
Proposition 8 – Marriage Limits
The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a legal challenge to Proposition 8 sometime in March. The lawsuit asserts that the measure is invalid because it doesn’t meet the standards of a constitutional amendment (which can be passed by a majority of Californians), but rather a constitutional revision (which must be passed by the people AND 2/3 of the Legislature or through a constitutional convention).

Election Update – November 24, 2008
Nearly a month after the historic November 4, 2008 election, we are still catching our breath, celebrating our victories, waiting for results in several more races, and bracing for an uncertain future. 
In the Assembly, the majority caucus now numbers 50, just four short of a veto proof majority. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass posted the most significant gains in 30 years by turning three seats long held by Republicans into seats for her caucus: Joan Buchanan (AD 15 – San Ramon), Marty Block (AD 78 – San Diego) and Manuel Perez (AD 80 -  Coachella). 
Your contributions were a major factor in electing these important candidates.  CAOC supported all three candidates and with our coalition partners in the California Alliance, we ran successful independent expenditure campaigns in AD 15 for Joan Buchanan and in AD 78 for Marty Block.  Marty Block survived a deluge of attacks from our opponents and emerged with a decisive 10 point victory.
One major contest in the Assembly remains unresolved as of this writing – that of the AD 10, formerly held by Alan Nakanishi.  Allyson Huber remains within striking distance of turning this Republican stronghold into Democratic hands. 
While we are rejoicing in our wins, we are saddened that Fran Florez was unable to hold onto the Bakersfield seat formerly held by Nicole Parra. 
In the Senate, Lois Wolk cruised to victory in the seat formerly held by Mike Machado (SD 5 – Linden). 
We still await a final tally in the hotly contested Senate race in Santa Barbara-Ventura.  On Election Day, Hannah Beth Jackson held a narrow 108 vote lead over Tony Strickland – and an excruciating three and a half weeks later, returns are still being counted and Hannah Beth’s numbers have slipped.  We remain optimistic that we will be working with Hannah Beth in Sacramento next year; but whatever the result, Hannah Beth is a true warrior.  She took on this critical fight for all of us and we are extremely proud to be her friends and supporters.
Despite our legislative victories, we are disappointed in the results of Proposition 8.  We all now look to the courts as the last line of defense against discrimination.  As of this writing, Proposition 11’s fate remains uncertain.  While ahead in the vote tally, more than 1.7 million votes have yet to be counted as of this writing.  Defeat is unlikely, but possible.  The measure failed everywhere the No on Prop 11 ads ran. 
Winning elections is only the first step in the battle to protect consumers’ rights.  We must continue to build our relationships with these newly elected officials and work to educate them on important civil justice issues.  Like any relationship, flowers on the first date are great – but a lasting relationship requires continued attention.  Your monthly coffees with legislators, notes on their birthdays, invitations to your social events, and just checking in will go a long way in assuring in maintaining these new relationships.  Eric Wooten, CAOC’s Grassroots Coordinator, is here to assist you in setting up meetings and keeping you abreast of activities here in Sacramento that will keep you connected to these legislators.
Looking forward, there will be two special elections in 2009.  Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas is heading to the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, leaving at least two Assembly Members eyeing his Senate seat. Two good friends, Curren Price and Mike Davis, are rumored to be the likely contestants in this Senate run.  If either emerges victorious, we will see another special election to fill the newly vacant Assembly seat. 
We are also gearing up for a big election in 2010.  Twenty nine open seats (8 in the Senate and 21 in the Assembly) will be up for grabs due to term limits and current legislators are already jockeying for new positions in both legislative and statewide races.  The Gubernatorial race is already getting a lot of attention with Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner lining up for the State’s top job.  Several friends in the legislature are now looking to move up to statewide office anticipating vacancies based on the run for Governor.  Assembly Member Dave Jones announced his intention to seek the Insurance Commissioner post, and with nearly $1 million in the bank, he will be a formidable candidate.  We are already working on mapping out our political strategy in these races and invite your comments and insights on all of these races. 

November 5, 2008
Today is a proud day for all of us.  While we savor the promise of a renewed energy in our country, whatever our political ideology, I want to take a minute to share some of the state election results that affect you and your clients.

In one of the most closely watched state legislative races this year, Hannah-Beth Jackson (SD 19 – Santa Barbara) leads by 108 votes with 100% of precincts reporting. It is really close. Outstanding absentee ballots in Ventura may shift this lead, but I think the lead will increase with the provisional ballots from Isla Vista. Every vote really does count. Thanks to Lea-Ann Tratten for wisely allocating resources here.

The unofficial results in four of CAOC’s priority races show a very positive outcome:
  • Lois Wolk (SD 5 – Stockton) wins handily by 64% to 46%.
  • Marty Block (AD 78 – San Diego) is up 52% to 48%.  Great result here.
  • Manuel Perez (AD 80 – Imperial County) also leads 52% to 48%. 
  • Joan Buchanan (AD 15 – San Ramon) has a firm 55% to 45% lead.
Fran Florez (AD 30 – Bakersfield) is running behind by 2,000 votes, 48.5% to 51.5%.  This was the Nicole Parra seat where she endorsed the Republican.
All in all, we won 5 out of 6 of our key targeted races.
Late polling showed a possible pick up in the Sacramento area and CAOC members worked to help Alyson Huber (AD 10 – Sacramento).  The race remains too close to call.  With the Election Day totals, Alyson was 1,000 votes behind, but the numbers of outstanding absentees could shift this race.
Prop 8, the marriage initiative appears to be passing with 52% to 48%, and Prop 11, the redistricting initiative, appears to have passed by less than 100,000 votes – which works out to less than four votes per precinct.  Whatever the outcome of Prop 11, we will work to assure that we protect your and your clients’ interests in the Legislature.
In the next few days, additional provision and absentee ballots could change on or more of these elections in our favor.  For the latest updates, continue to check our Election Update page on our website.
Thanks to everyone for all the help in raising the money and spending the time to make these election results possible. Chris Spagnoli was a particular star in raising money. Lea-Ann Tratten was an exceptional field general. The staff was great in collecting the money and getting it out. 
These results are particularly sweet because of all the money and energy thrown at us by the business community, especially in the AD 78 and SD 19 races.
Thanks again for the support and effort.  It would not have happened without all of you.
See you all at the convention.
Don Ernst
CAOC President