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In state Senate, only 2 Republicans can surf

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THE ELECTION'S COASTAL CONSEQUENCES: By now it's been widely reported that this election year was not a good one for Republicans in the California state Senate. Between redistricting and election outcomes, they lost three seats, which gives Democrats a 28-12 advantage, and two-thirds majority control with a seat to spare.

But what's not been remarked upon is that while Republicans lost ground all over, they nearly surrendered the coast.

When the Senate adjourned in August, there were 16 districts that touched upon either the Pacific Ocean or the San Francisco Bay. Of those, five, or nearly a third, were held by Republicans. When it reconvenes next month, there will be 17 such coastal districts -- and only two will be held by Republicans.

In fact, there will be just one, 72-mile stretch of California's 840 miles of coastline that will have GOP representation in the Senate. That stretch runs from Huntington Beach down to Cardiff, and encompasses coastal Orange County (Newport Beach, Laguna Beach) and northern San Diego County (Oceanside, Carlsbad). That stretch includes the 36th District, represented by Sen. Joel Anderson, and the 37th District, represented by Sen. Mimi Walters.

Redistricting detached Del Norte County at the northernmost tip of California coastline from its conservative inland neighbors in the north state, taking that out of a safely Republican district that had been held by Republican Doug LaMalfa.. Redistricting also converted the district of San Luis Obispo Republican Sen. Sam Blakeslee into one so safely Democratic that he chose not to even try to seek re-election. He will be replaced for former Assemblyman Bill Monning of Santa Cruz, a Democrat. The new 19th District, which takes in coastal Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, will now be represented by Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson instead of Republican Tony Strickland. Also gone from the Senate Republicans' coastal caucus are the termed-out Tom Harman (replaced by Rod Wright in what is now the safely Democratic 35th District) and Mark Wyland (whose 38th District was redrawn as an inland district).

MORE STREET-LEVEL MUSCLE IN THE 26th CD: In my post-election reporting on the outcome in the 26th Congressional District contest won by Democrat Julia Brownley, I cited the grass-roots, voter-mobilization of efforts of CAUSE, the Brownley campaign and the Ventura County Democratic Central Committee.

Left out of that equation was the work of the Tri-Counties Central Labor Council, which was part of the California Labor Federation's impressive statewide voter-mobilization effort. The Tri-Counties Council's activities, led by Marilyn Valenzuela, had a budget of $200,000, walked 625 precincts, made more than 80,000 phone calls, and hung 34,000 doorhangers. On the final Saturday before the election, about 120 people spread out walking the streets of Ventura after having gathered that morning at the IBEW office.

FOX NEWS, THE PRINT EDITION?: It was evident on election night that many of the pundits and commentators on Fox News seemed genuinely surprised, and somewhat in denial, about the results that were coming in on the presidential election. Newspaper readers in San Diego must have been experiencing the same feelings.

In what has been a heartbreaking turn of events for those who appreciate solid, objective journalism, the new owner of the renamed San Diego newspaper, now called U-T San Diego, has converted that publication into an early 20th century-style partisan propaganda machine. Owner "Papa Doug" Manchester published a front-page editorial endorsing Republican Carl DeMaio for mayor.

That was unusual because most newspapers abandoned front-page editorials decades ago, deciding instead to limit opinions to their editorial pages. Still, the front-page editorial was labeled that, and was clearly an expression of opinion. Far more troubling is a report from KPBS yesterday that indicates the newspaper commissioned a poll that was intentionally designed to produce a misleading result.

San Deigans who relied on their daily newspaper to inform them on the state of the mayor's race were led to believe that DeMaio held a 10-point lead going into the election. Many must have been shocked -- and felt that their trust in the newspaper had been betrayed -- when Democrat Bob Filner won a narrow victory.

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com
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