Midterm Election Wrap Up
By Alberto Garcia
Tuesday’s mid-term election delivered wins and losses to both parties at the national, state, and local levels. Here are a few of the top headlines from the election results as they stand today.
As of Friday morning, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters still estimates that 465,000 absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted after nearly 700,000 have already been tabulated. The Registrar will release daily updates until all votes are counted. By law, the Registrar has 30 days to count and certify the results.
Democrats won back control of the House of Representatives by picking up at least 30 congressional seats that are currently held by Republicans, but Democratic also lost two seats. The total will leave Democrats with seven votes more than a majority. Ten more seats are still too close to call.
In the Senate, Republicans maintained majority control by successfully defending all but one incumbent but also picking up three seats by defeating Democratic Senators in Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota. Republicans now have a three-vote cushion in their majority.
With Democrats taking the House, they can now launch investigations into President Trump, the Russian election meddling, and other issues that Republicans refused to look into. Most importantly, Democrats can now subpoena copies of Trump’s tax returns that he has so far refused to produce.
Democrats can also now propose legislation on immigration, health care, education, and other issues they have championed but Republicans had refused to put up for votes.
Republicans, on the other hand, will continue to control the Senate that has the power to approve Trump’s nominations to federal courts and, most importantly, the Supreme Court.
In the East County, Congressman Duncan Hunter won re-election even after being indicted along with his wife for allegedly misusing $250,000 in campaign funds for personal uses. His challenger, Ammar Campa-Hajjar, a former Obama staffer, worked hard to unseat Hunter.
Hunter’s campaign ran television commercials that unfairly portrayed Campa-Najjar as a “security threat” although Campa-Najjar previously passed FBI background checks to work in the White House.
In the North County, State Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey, a Republican, lost her bid to replace Congressman Darrell Issa, who decided to retire. Democrat Mike Levin won the district that covers areas of both San Diego and Orange Counties. This seat was one of the 30 that Democrats picked up around the country.
Democrat Gavin Newson easily won election as the next Governor of California. Currently serving his second term as Lieutenant Governor, Newson previously served as Mayor of San Francisco. Newson supports many of the same progressive principles as current Governor Jerry Brown.
All but one of the other statewide offices were also won by Democrats, including State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a fierce opponent of many of Trump’s policies. The only statewide post won by a non-Democrat was Steve Poizner, an Independent who previously served as Insurance Commissioner as a Republican between 2007 and 2011, was elected again to the same post this week.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein was re-elected to her fourth term, defeating State Senator Kevin De Leon. De Leon previously served as the President of the California State Senate.
The loss of two incumbents on the San Diego City Council will likely bring big changes to City Hall. Republican Lori Zapf’s loss in District 2 to Democrat Dr. Jennifer Campbell now means that Democrats will hold a 6 to 3 majority on the City Council, meaning they together could override any veto from Mayor Faulconer.
The most contentious area where that could come into play would be during the passage of the annual budget, where Democrats could now unite to change the funding priorities of the City.
The big news in District 4 was that incumbent Myrtle Cole lost to challenger Monica Montgomery. Cole has previously served as Council President. Since both are Democrats, the change will not likely affect the majority control.
In District 8, representing South San Diego and San Ysidro, Councilman David Alvarez will be replaced by one of his senior advisors. Vivian Moreno edged out San Ysidro School Board member Antonio Martinez to win that seat. Although Martinez enjoyed the support of Congressman Juan Vargas, State Senator Ben Hueso, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, local groups, and the Democratic Party, Moreno maintained that she had more experience to better serve the community.
At the County level, former State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher defeated former District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis to become the only Democrat on the County Board of Supervisors. The Board hasn’t had a Democrat since the time Leon Williams served in the same seat between 1983 and 1994. Fletcher, a former Republican, is married to Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
A state ballot measure to repeal a state 12-cent gas tax started here in San Diego by former Councilman Carl DeMaio failed to pass by a vote of 45% to 55%. Prop 6 would have eliminated nearly $5 billion in revenues to repair state highways, freeways, and bridges.
Another state measure, Prop 10, would have allowed cities to implement rent controls on private properties built after the law change. Prop 10 failed on a 38% to 62% vote. Proponents argued that California is becoming too expensive for working families, while opponents charged that limiting rents would lower housing values.
Two ballot measures fought for control of Mission Valley with different approaches to redeveloping the current stadium site into new projects, both with stadiums.
Prop G, also called SDSU West, won more than 54% of the vote in favor of an expansion of San Diego State University and, most likely a new stadium, or even two. Supporters outlined plans for a new football stadium for the Aztecs, along with an area that could provide a smaller soccer stadium for professional level teams, along with retail, housing, classroom, and open spaces.
Prop E, also called SoccerCity, would have developed the site into a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium along with commercial and retail projects. Prop E only garnered 30.4% of the vote and failed to pass.