Ah, the smart money. It said Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich might walk away with a win in the district attorney's race Tuesday, even without a November runoff. Turns out the smart money was just big money and not all that smart after all. Trutanich is out of the race after voters picked Jackie Lacey and
Voters can be smarter than the smart money, and we like to think that was the case with Proposition 29, the tobacco tax initiative. If the current numbers hold, the measure will have been defeated by the slimmest of margins, perhaps because of the millions of dollars that tobacco companies poured into the campaign against it, or perhaps — just perhaps — because a majority of voters perceived that it would be foolish for the state to embark on a whole new taxpayer-funded
It's worth noting that California held its first top-two primary and the world kept turning. The new way of doing things — in which all candidates run in the primary and the top two go on to a runoff in November, regardless of party — divided races for Congress, the Assembly and the state Senate into four basic types. First there's the dry run, in which there are only two candidates in the primary race, meaning it doesn't really matter who comes in first and who comes in second. See, for example, the congressional race between
Then there are the why-bother races, in which only one candidate runs in the primary (like Rep.
There are the old-school races, in which the primary produces a November face-off between one Republican and one Democrat, as in the Ventura County congressional race between conservative
That brings us to the newfangled runoffs, like the one in the 50th Assembly District, in which two
Won't top two and independent redistricting deprive California of some of its most senior elected officials by making them run in competitive races that they might lose? Perhaps. In the Assembly and Senate, though, voters won back for themselves the option of sticking with a little seniority over new blood by convincingly approving Proposition 28. The term-limits tweak will allow a state lawmaker to ask voters to keep him or her in place, in the same house, for up to 12 years, instead of shuttling back and forth for up to 15 years.
Meanwhile — who is Elizabeth Emken? We're about to find out. She did better than any of the other 22 candidates who were running against U.S. Sen.
There will be no judicial runoffs in Los Angeles County; voters elected six Superior Court judges outright. Three incumbents handily beat back challenges from unqualified candidates who hoped to follow the example set six years ago by bagel shop owner Lynn D. Olson, who toppled a highly regarded veteran jurist. It's more than a bit ironic that Olson is now one of those judges who had to fend off a challenge, but as unqualified as she may have been six years ago, she was a better candidate this time around than her opponent.