California voter turnout is highest since 1994 gubernatorial election


Last month’s political contest between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman mobilized more California voters than any gubernatorial election since 1994, according to final election results certified Friday by Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The Nov. 2 election drew a 59.6% turnout, Bowen said.

“The race for governor and some controversial propositions drew the highest number of people to the polls in five gubernatorial elections,” she said.

Just as a sweep of statewide offices by Democrats in California ran counter to GOP gains nationally, the Golden State’s voters did not exhibit the “enthusiasm gap” that dampened turnout in other states.


A statewide exit poll and a Times postelection poll both indicated that Latinos came out to vote in higher numbers than before, which probably helped boost overall turnout.

Bowen said 48.4% of the votes were cast by mail. In the last gubernatorial election, in 2006, 41.6% of votes were mailed in.

The certified results show Democrat Brown won with 53.8% of the vote to Whitman’s 40.9%, even though the Republican businesswoman broke campaign spending records in the race.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer was reelected with 52.2% of the vote. Her Republican challenger, Carly Fiorina, received 42.2%.

In one of the closest races, Democrat Kamala D. Harris received 46.1% of the vote to be elected state attorney general, while Republican Steve Cooley had 45.3%.