Special election outcome

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 10, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In bypassing the Legislature and taking key portions of his agenda straight to voters, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday night realized the riskiest strategy yet of his unorthodox 24-month tenure. As expected, campaigning that led up to the election and its outcomes have severely deepened the partisan divide across the state.

Tuesday’s special election sparked a campaign that was by far the costliest in California's history. All told, proponent and opponent campaigns on the eight initiatives spent more than $250 million.  Schwarzenegger alone spent $7.2 million of his own money.

Leading up to the election, Schwarzenegger cast the four initiatives as central to his larger vision for restoring fiscal discipline to California and reforming its unbridled politics. Each measure failed:
  • Proposition 74 – Teacher Tenure – 2 Years to 5 Years
  • Proposition 75 – Unions to Obtain Member Consent to Use Dues for Campaign Purposes
  • Proposition 76 – State Spending Restraints
  • Proposition 77 – State Election District Overhaul
The Governor’s defeat on Proposition 75 was a particular victory for public employee labor. For months, labor and its Democratic allies have deemed Schwarzenegger's agenda an assault on nurses, firefighters, teachers and other public employees.

By a wide margin, voters also rejected rival measures on prescription-drug discounts. The pharmaceutical industry spent $80 million on a campaign to defeat Proposition 79, a labor and consumer-group proposal, and pass its own alternative, Proposition 78.

Voters also turned down Proposition 80, a complex measure to revamp rules governing the electricity industry. The initiative, sponsored by consumer advocates, tried to draw on public anger from the state's 2000 energy crisis, but proponents were not able to make their case and voters responded accordingly.

Prior to receiving the final results, the Governor addressed his supporters and pledged "to find common ground" with his Democratic adversaries in Sacramento.  Notwithstanding the bruising, multimillion dollar campaign, Schwarzenegger reaffirmed his goal of bringing lasting change to state government – but this time working with legislators on issues that matter to voters.  Moving forward, the Governor has already committed to work with the Legislature in 2006 – improving roads, ports, bridges and other infrastructure needs.  

Senate leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) spoke publicly on Wednesday about the special election results and moving forward with the Governor on infrastructure and transportation reforms.

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