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'Queen Meg,' Texas among election winners, losers

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Not all of the victors and the vanquished from California’s state election Tuesday were apparent from scanning the returns. Here are California Watch’s nominees for some other election winners (W) and losers (L):

“Queen Meg” and the unions (W): The California Nurses Association deployed the street theater character to mock billionaire gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. (On election night at Jerry Brown headquarters in Oakland, "Queen Meg" was flushing Monopoly money down a faux toilet.) The queen came to embody public employee unions' efforts to stop Whitman, who had vowed to eliminate 40,000 state workers jobs.

The Burton machine (L): Since the 1950s, the late Phil Burton’s San Francisco-based apparatus was a liberal force in state and national politics. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, last in the line of his proteges, managed what Burton could never achieve, rising to House speaker. With Tuesday’s GOP sweep nationwide, it’s all over.

Gloria Allred (W): The LA lawyer’s news conference with Whitman’s former housekeeper was the flash point in the governor’s race, turning the contest for Brown.

Election-night concession speeches (L): Whitman didn’t concede until after Brown had already claimed victory. GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina refused to concede on election night, saying that exit pollsters who declared incumbent Barbara Boxer the winner would be sorry.

Marriage (W): Brown said his marriage (to Anne Gust) made him confident he would succeed as governor. Unlike Iowans, California voters didn’t target Supreme Court justices over same-sex marriage: Both Carlos Moreno, who voted for the landmark ruling, and Ming Chin, who dissented, were confirmed.

SoCal (L): LA District Attorney Steve Cooley was the only top-of-the-ballot candidate from the Southland; his contest with San Francisco DA Kamala Harris for attorney general was too close to call.

Lockyers (W): Bill, the former Democratic legislator and attorney general, was re-elected state treasurer. Nadia, his wife, won an expensive race for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Political consultants (L): Whitman paid $11.6 million for what turned out to be losing advice. That was 14 times what Brown spent on consultants.

Voting (W): About 55 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, the Field Poll estimated – up slightly from the governor’s race four years ago. Whitman and Fiorina, who didn’t always vote before going into politics, were defeated.

Ranked-choice voting (L): Check back later in the week to find out who was elected mayor of Oakland: The new system requires too much computing to get it done election night, the Alameda County registrar says. It’s the same story in San Francisco for board of supervisors contests.

Debra Bowen (W) and (L): Bowen was re-elected California secretary of state. But in mid-evening, the election division’s computers crashed.

Texas (L): The Giants beat the Rangers in the World Series, and then California voters spurned Prop. 23, the measure sponsored by two Texas oil companies. It would have weakened California’s efforts to halt global warming. On election night, both Gov. Schwarzenegger and Sen. Boxer joked about the two Texas beat-downs.

Turning California Watch’s street into a creek (W): Berkeley voters enacted a “green downtown” measure that will boost plans to dig up Center Street in front of our office so Strawberry Creek can run free.

 

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