Election 2010 Results: Demon Sheep, Gavin Newsom, Open Primaries Triumph

504px-Megwhitmanheadshot.jpg
Meg Whitman never liked voting, but plenty of Californians voted for her
Results are starting to roll in from today's voting on ballot initiatives and primaries for statewide office. Wanna know the latest, greatest bad decisions California's electorate has chosen to impose upon itself? SF Weekly has the rundown on election highlights after the jump.

STATEWIDE PRIMARIES

Governor: Meg Whitman ran away with the GOP nomination, while Jerry Brown cruised to become the Dems' standard-bearer in the upcoming race to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento. The lesson? Money talks in the Golden State; these two victors managed to come up with more than $100 million between them. Expect a bruising -- and expensive -- general election.

U.S. Senate: Looks like incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer will be facing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in her reelection bid. Like fellow GOP nominee Meg Whitman, Fiorina is a businesswoman who apparently hates voting but still wants to hold elected office. Among her other qualifications, Fiorina is a brazen panderer whose campaign has produced some of the oddest attack ads anybody can remember, including the now-legendary "Demon Sheep" spot. In other words, she's just the sort of candidate the Dems seem to love to lose to -- see Brown, Scott -- so this fall could get interesting.

Lieutenant Governor: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is the Democratic nominee. We can only imagine he's happy with his consolation prize, pursued after he couldn't hang with Jerry Brown in the primary for governor. If elected, Newsom will be abandoning his post at City Hall early for an utterly useless job in the state capital, but don't expect everybody in his home city to shed a tear.



Attorney General: San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has nailed down the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, despite a hefty dose of last-minute spending and attack ads by her principal opponent, Chris Kelly, the former Facebook executive. What started out as a cakewalk for Harris, at one time the presumptive Democratic nominee, turned into an ordeal as scandal over the San Francisco Police Department crime-lab clouded her campaign. She'll now limp on to the general election, where she'll face a formidable opponent in GOP nominee and Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley.

STATEWIDE BALLOT INITIATIVES

Proposition 14: YES. California voters have officially backhanded both major political parties by approving Prop. 14, which would institute an open primary, clearing the way for the two most popular candidates to compete in general elections regardless of party affiliation. Count this as a small step toward political reform in a state paralyzed by partisan dysfunction -- not to mention its, um, referendum system.

Proposition 15: NO. Even as they approved a groundbreaking open-primary system, Californians spurned the idea of trying out public financing for political campaigns. Hey, it's not like money has an outsize influence over our state's politics -- just ask Meg Whitman!

And stay tuned for...

Proposition 16YES? PG&E's naked effort to preserve its widespread monopoly over electrical service -- Prop. 16 would require a two-thirds popular vote before any local government set up its own power utility -- currently has a narrow lead. This could be consequential for San Francisco, which is trying to establish a limited, government-run electricity provider called CleanPowerSF.

Proposition 17: YES? Another ballot initiative orchestrated by a large company  -- this time Mercury Insurance -- is also in the lead, according  to press reports. The initiative would allow car insurers to consider past gaps in insurance coverage when setting customers' rates.

UPDATE: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that voting on Prop. 16 is "too close to call." Check out The Snitch Wednesday for the latest results.

UPDATE, 08:08 WEDNESDAY, 6/9/10: Proposition 16: NOPE. The Chron reports today that Prop. 16 has gone down to defeat. PG&E suits have got to be groaning over the close to $50 million they poured into the campaign for this measure. Maybe, just maybe, every election isn't for sale. To wit:

Proposition 17: NO. In the end, voters also nixed Mercury's efforts to change state law so that car insurers could find more ways to raise premiums.

This article has been edited since it was originally posted.

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