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Pete Stark issues statement on loss to Swalwell

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, who lost his seat in this election to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell, issued this statement by e-mail a few minutes ago:

Pete Stark (photo by Aric Crabb)“It has been my honor to serve the people of the East Bay for the last 40 years. I have worked hard to deliver results: accomplishments like writing the COBRA law to make health insurance portable between jobs, bringing the first computers to schools, and crafting President Obama’s groundbreaking health care law.

“I went to Washington by running against an unpopular war and for women’s rights, opportunity for children and dignity for seniors. I leave knowing that the landscape has changed, but the needs of my constituents remain.

“I congratulate Mr. Swalwell on his victory. I am happy to be of assistance in the future.

“I want to thank all the wonderful people I met along this fabulous journey and I will remember them fondly. Together, we have made a real difference.”

We’ll have a big story later today following up on Swalwell’s victory, and what comes next.

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3 things for the GOP to consider in California

1.) Learn to choose better battles.

Every cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee tells us that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is among the nation’s most vulnerable House Democrats; every cycle, he proves otherwise. In 2008, with a 1-point voter registration disadvantage, he won by 10 percentage points; in 2010, with a .32-point voter-registration disadvantage, he won by 1.1 percentage points; and this year, with a 12-point voter-registration edge, he won by 8 percentage points. Instead of pouring resources into the campaign of a 25-year-old with no job experience, perhaps the GOP should’ve looked for greener pastures.

2.) Your navel-gazing is near-sighted.

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro’s statement last night indicates he believes Romney and Republicans failed to “make the case, at every level, for tax reform and to successfully articulate that a welfare state can’t succeed and the true engine of growth is a vigorous free enterprise system.” I’m sure some Democrats will disagree with the philosophical underpinnings of that argument, and that’s not a debate I’ll get into here. But what Del Beccaro failed to address was that the GOP clearly lost big among Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and young voters – that is, most of this nation’s future electorate. If his party can’t find platform that appeals to these blocs, and an effective way of explaining it to them, it’ll continue to wane even further. Already I see some GOPers sniffing that Obama won without a mandate, but the fact is, he won the popular vote by at least about 2.7 million and – if Florida were to stop counting votes now (and where have I heard THAT before?) – he’d win there too, meaning he carried every battleground state except North Carolina.

3.) Who has the mandate?

Gov. Jerry Brown has the mandate. He won it in 2010 when he beat out the candidate who spent a record $142 million of her money to no avail. He won it again last night with a resounding 8-point victory for Prop. 30, his tax hike for K-12 and higher education. And it seems voters are tired enough of gridlock in Sacramento that they may have handed Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature – another mandate, of sorts, for Brown’s agenda. The moral of this story: Don’t mess with Jerry.

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Some inspirational words for Election Day

Some words of inspiration for those who still haven’t cast a ballot today:

“Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.”
— Daniel Webster

“I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election.”
— Walt Whitman

“We preach the virtues of democracy abroad. We must practice its duties here at home. Voting is the first duty of democracy.”
— President Lyndon B. Johnson

“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
George Jean Nathan

“Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.”
Laurence J. Peter, formulator of “the Peter Principle”

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STOP READING THIS BLOG AND GO VOTE!!!

It’s Election Day – get out there and vote, if you haven’t already!

California’s polls are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you haven’t put your vote-by-mail ballot in the mail yet, DON’T – it won’t be counted unless it reaches the registrar’s office by 8 p.m. tonight, and postmarks don’t matter. You can drop it off by hand at any polling place in your county, or at the registrar’s office; don’t forget to sign the outside of the envelope.

If you have any questions about your ballot, your polling place or anything else having to do with this election, contact your county registrar:

Alameda County, www.acgov.org/rov, 510-267-8683
Contra Costa County, www.cocovote.us, 925-335-7800
Marin County, www.marinvotes.org, 415-473-6456
Monterey County, www.montereycountyelections.us, 831-796-1499
Napa County, www.countyofnapa.org/Elections, 707-253-4321
San Francisco, www.sfgov2.org/index.aspx?page=599, 415-554-4375
San Joaquin County, www.sjcrov.org, 209-468-2885
San Mateo County, www.shapethefuture.org, 650-312-5222
Santa Clara County, www.sccvote.org, 408-299-8683
Santa Cruz County, www.votescount.com, 831-454-2060
Solano County, www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov, 707-784-6675
Sonoma County, vote.sonoma-county.org, 707-565-6800

To report election fraud, call the California Secretary of State Office‘s voter hotline: 800-345-8683

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Mike Honda seeks CA-17 voters in 17 languages

If Rep. Michael Honda cruises to re-election over his barely-known Republican challenger as is widely expected, he’ll be representing the continental United States’ first House district to have an Asian American/Pacific Islander majority.

honda.jpgBut with so diverse an Asian population (51.55 percent) and a significant Latino population (17.46 percent) as well, Honda is going to unprecedented lengths to reach out to all voters in this South Bay district. By Tuesday’s election, his campaign will have connected with voters in more than a dozen languages: English, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Hindi, Pashto, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Telugu, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese.

For both the primary and general election campaigns, Honda filed a ballot statement in both Alameda and Santa Clara counties in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Tagalog. But even before the primary, he had reached out by phone to nearly 30,000 households with the option for recipients to take the call in Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and English.

This yielded volunteers who worked on the Honda campaign’s banks using those languages and others, including Dutch, German, Cantonese and Japanese. For the primary, these phone banks reached about 3,000 voters live; in this general election, Honda has added several more languages to round out the list. The linguistic targeting is based on the voter’s place of birth, determined from his or her voter registration; the voter’s preferred ballot language; and/or the voter’s probably ethnicity based on his or her surname.

“We can’t treat the AAPI population like it’s a monolithic group,” Honda said. “There’s a great deal of linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity among AAPIs. Furthermore, our AAPI diasporas are here in the U.S. for a variety of reasons – political, economic, entrepreneurial and educational, to name a few.”

People of all nationalities and languages “deserve to be approached and heard in their home languages whenever possible, because the conversation that results is fuller and richer, and you tend to hear things that otherwise might not be said in English,” he added. “Our campaign capitalizes on the multilingualism of our volunteers. Their talents allow us to engage individual voters in a way both the volunteers and voters appreciate.”

As I wrote back in July, the nation’s rapidly expanding AAPI population already is becoming a crucial swing votes in some battleground states, and could be the sort of decisive voting bloc in many future races that Latinos already are today – but only if the parties recognize the AAPI community’s diversity and actively reaches out to them. Honda is positioning himself at the forefront of this; who else will follow?