Election brings power shift

Posted Nov. 10, 2006

The anti-Republican – or anti-Bush – sentiment nationwide was not strong enough to penetrate the California Gubernatorial election in which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as predicted, easily defeated Democratic opponent Phil Angelides on Tuesday.

Schwarzenegger, who was elected three years ago in an unprecedented recall against former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, won Tuesday’s midterm election with 56 percent of the votes, compared with and Angelides’ 39.2 percent.

“I think it wasn’t that people admired so much his politics as much as he’s the lesser of two evils,” said Irene Beltran, a senior Spanish major.

National results reflected a sour defeat for the Republican Party as Democrats wrestled control of the House of Representatives and the Senate from Republicans, who had dominated both legislative bodies before this election.

Incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein won re-election in a landslide victory with almost twice the votes of GOP opponent Richard Mountjoy.

San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader, is in line to be the first woman speaker of the House.

Seven out of the 13 state ballot measures also were approved by voters Tuesday.

Proposition 1C, one of the seven propositions, provides increased housing programs for battered women and homeless families.

Proposition 1D will provide funding to overcrowded schools and upgrades to colleges; and Proposition 83 will place stronger rules on habitual sex offenders.

The remaining 6 measures, however, did not share a rush of support:

Fifty-four percent of voters said “no” to Proposition 85, which requires parental notification and a waiting period of 48 hours for minors choosing to have an abortion.

 “It’s a woman’s choice to get an abortion although personally I would never have one,” said voter Laura Cantrell, University of La Verne assistant to the Legal Studies Department.

Proposition 87 also did not inch close enough to win public approval.

54.8 percent of voters chose not to have a tax on oil extracted from California that aimed to promote alternative energy in the state.

“It makes me angry to see that the majority of California citizens don’t believe that alternative energy sources is a high importance,” said voter Brandon Martinez a senior political science major. “In the long run we’ll have more problems.”

It would keep money in his pocket, said voter Tony Fraire, 71, Glendora resident.

Across the nation in the midterm elections, the Democrats won 229 seats in the 435-member chamber and 51 seats in the Senate.

Both gave them a majority in the two houses of Congress to end the roughly dozen years of Republican majority.

Despite the Bush administration weaning popularity, based on public frustration about the war in Iraq, among other things, some voters still do not see the justification in the shift of power in House and Senate to Democrats.

“They’re too liberal for me and they have no morals as far as anything goes and it’s very bad for our children,” said Republican voter Ruth Murrieta, 70, La Verne resident.

Thirty-five other states also held gubernatorial races where the Democratic Party also swept a victory in 20 states.

For the Bush administration, the Democratic Party’s win at the state and national levels means that the Republican Party no longer holds congressional control in the Legislature.            

Len Ly can be reached at lly@ulv.edu.

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