Election 2012: Day before tomorrow

David Goldman / AP-- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives to his election-night rally, in Boston.

Time for some day after, day before the rest of it starts, review of Tuesday’s election. To start, here’s Thursday’s Sentinel Editorial:

Santa Cruz County voters, and California voters, demonstrated in Tuesday’s election they are willing to raise taxes, even on themselves.

The biggest election news statewide was the success of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure raising the sales tax by a quarter cent and income taxes on higher income filers to avoid massive budget cuts to public schools and universities. The measure won easily, by nearly 8 percentage points statewide, but had a gathered a staggering 73 percent in Santa Cruz County — which just about mirrored the percentage for President Barack Obama from solidly Democratic county voters (nearly 75 percent). Republican candidates had little chance in state and congressional races as well, where incumbents won reelection easily. Voters in the unincorporated county and city of Santa Cruz also supported measures raising the tax on hotel guests. In Capitola, voters gave narrow support to Measure O, permanently raising the sales tax by a quarter cent, and in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Measure L, a $150 million bond measure to improve facilities and infrastructure, passed easily. Voters in Davenport also supported a parcel tax for their school.

Otherwise, the ballot measures pretty much went down as predicted — and mostly followed the Sentinel list of endorsements. One exception was Measure P on the Santa Cruz ballot, where, as we predicted, backers afterward hailed the decisive yes vote requiring a city vote on a desal plant as indicating a lack of support for any such facility.

In the election on Proposition 34, voters also said they want to keep the death penalty in force, despite the high cost, unfairness and unlikelihood Death Row prisoners will be executed. We said that based on these factors, capital punishment isn’t working and should be ended in the state. Santa Cruz County voters agreed, with 63 percent supporting repeal of the death penalty.

Voters, however, saw it differently, and shot down the measure by nearly six percentage points. Although 66 percent of Santa Cruz County voters supported Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of genetically modified foods, state voters rejected this poorly crafted measure by more than 7 percentage points.

Not surprisingly, state voters also turned down Proposition 32, which would have banned unions from taking members’ dues and using them for political purposes. Although millions in outside-the-state dollars flowed in from conservative Republican groups in support of 32, and against Prop. 30, voters saw through the negative ad blitzes.

On the Santa Cruz City Council, as expected Mayor Don Lane and longtime former councilwoman Cynthia Mathews cruised to easy victories. Newcomer Pamela Comstock also won, unsurprisingly. Bicycle advocate Micah Posner won the fourth seat, polling well in a community that supports both bike access and his stands on environmental issues. Although we didn’t endorse Posner, he’s an energetic and committed advocate for his positions and we take him at his word he’ll work to represent the broader community on issues including public safety and economic development.

The two candidates we endorsed in the Capitola City Council race, newcomer Ed Bottorff and longtime Councilman Dennis Norton, both appear to have won. In the hotly contested 5th supervisorial district, our choice, former California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, holds a precarious 27-vote lead over Eric Hammer, whose popularity in the San Lorenzo Valley and among Democrats was significant. With an unknown number of ballots still to be counted in the district, it remains a tossup.

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As for the main squeeze Tuesday, the presidential election, here’s a few links to chew on (and spit out if they don’t go down without gagging):

Atlantic: Why conservative forecasters got the election totally wrong, and why Nate Silver had it right.

Politico: Mitt Romney quickly recognized he had a problem with his initial Benghazi statements — which kept him from bringing up the issue in the election’s final weeks.

Washington Post: How the Obama team got the jump on the Republicans and Mitt Romney early on — and how Romney’s mistakes kept him from coming back. Then the first debate put him back into the race, until a storm finally was the coup de grace.

Politico: Republican mega donors question whether the $1.2 billion spent on Romney and allies was worth it — and whether they will pony up again with the big bucks for so little change.

And, finally, my favorite column today on why Romney lost, from Dana Milbank — he really was a rich guy who was insulated from the rest of us.

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