Californians will elect a governor Tuesday – along with seven other statewide officials, half the state Senate and the entire Assembly. They’ll also decide six statewide ballot measures.
In November 1974, Democrat Jerry Brown won his first term as California governor. Forty years later, he’s asking voters for a record fourth term. He’s facing Republican challenger Neel Kashkari, who led the federal government’s bank bailout program under Presidents Bush and Obama.
The most competitive statewide races appear to be for Secretary of State (Republican Pete Peterson vs. Democrat Alex Padilla), Controller (Republican Ashley Swearengin vs. Democrat Betty Yee) and Superintendent of Public Instruction (Democrats Tom Torlakson and Marshall Tuck).
In the Legislature, Democrats are trying to hang onto their two-thirds supermajority. Republicans must pick up one Senate seat or two Assembly seats to block them. Key Senate races are in the Central Valley and Orange County. Pivotal Assembly districts are in Palmdale, Ventura County and Orange County.
And the six statewide propositions include two backed by Gov. Brown and legislative leaders from both parties: Prop 1, a $7.5 billion water bond, and Prop 2, a “rainy day fund” state budget reserve.
Two hotly-contested health care measures, Props 45 and 46 are also on the ballot. Prop 45 would allow California's Insurance Commissioner to reject health insurance rate increases that he or she considers to be excessive. Prop 46 would raise the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases; require drug testing of doctors; and require physicians to check a database before prescribing patients addictive substances.
Rounding out the measures are Prop 47, which would require a misdemeanor sentence instead of a felony for six drug and property offenses, and Prop 48, a referendum on two tribal gaming compacts that essentially asks voters whether tribal casinos should be able to be built on off-reservation lands.