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A divided victory

Both the right and left had cause to celebrate Tuesday
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
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The Roseville Democratic and Republican parties can both claim some success in the midterm elections Tuesday. Locally, Republicans held on to a number of expected seats, including U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock, as well as state Assemblyman Ted Gaines, who will keep his post if he doesn’t beat Democrat Ken Cooley in a run-off for the state Senate. Statewide, the victories of Jerry Brown for governor and Barbara Boxer for U.S. Senate give liberals in the largely conservative Placer County something to celebrate. “We’re elated with the California results,” said Myra Schimke, membership chair of Roseville’s Sun City Democrats, though she said she wasn’t acting as club spokeswoman. She focused on ballots with California-wide impact, which is exactly what had Roseville voters talking Tuesday. Overall, Brown reaped 53.5 percent of the vote to Meg Whitman’s 41.3 percent, while Boxer beat Carly Fiorina, 51.9 percent to 42.6 percent. Those are nowhere near the numbers in Placer County, where Brown had 38.6 percent against Whitman’s 56.5 percent, and Boxer a mere 33.6 percent to Fiorina’s 59.8 percent. “People were picking up Carly and Whitman signs like crazy,” said Ed Rowen, central committee parliamentarian for the Republican Party of Placer County. The county clerk didn’t have precise turnout figures, but in Roseville, the race for city council provides a good indication: of 65,229 registered voters, 47,713 (or 73.2 percent) helped elect the council. As for larger contests, red voters said they wanted a return to smaller government to match smaller purses. “All they’re doing is turning on the printing presses and printing money,” Jerry Jones, 72, said of ruling Democrats, as he stood next to his wife outside a polling place. Alex Griffith, 70, agreed that the most recent elected officials have handled the economy poorly. He’s a self-professed independent who leaned right this election cycle. “I would hope conservatives would be smarter financially,” he said. Andrew Waters, 30 and a software engineer, also hoped Whitman and Fiorina would create jobs because of their success at eBay and Hewlett-Packard, respectively. But Robert Mount-Joy didn’t believe it. “I think they’re both not telling the truth about jobs because they made their fortunes exporting jobs,” the Democratic septuagenarian said. Likewise, Mitch Lindquist, 51 and a small business owner, was turned off by the billions Whitman has made. “I’m sorry, but I just don’t think people in that position in life can feel what you or I feel,” said Lindquist, who is new to California and appalled at the budget delays. He came from Iowa, where he said lawmakers were forced to balance the budget every year. At least a little less partisanship went into two heavily-followed propositions: 23, which would have softened pollution rules, and 19, which would have legalized marijuana. Voters across party lines soundly rejected both initiatives. With 61.1 percent of voters against it, Prop. 23 brought more of the electorate to one side of an issue than any other initiative this election. “It would be really hard to get back in the direction of a green economy and efficiencies if AB 32 were repealed now,” said Waters, referring to the environmental law that Prop. 23 targeted. “If we don’t do something now, it’ll get worse,” voter Gladys Arunachalam, 56, said. Voters were much more divided on Prop. 19, which got 53.8 percent no votes. “To legalize it, if it were to become a nationwide trend would be a real travesty,” Lindquist said after he had finished voting. Phyllis Groff, 61, is concerned, too, because her husband runs a business that requires semi-trucks. If Prop. 19 had passed, she feared he couldn’t drug test employees and prevent road accidents. She also didn’t want smokers near her grandchildren. “I don’t even like people smoking (cigarettes) around them,” Groff said. Jordan Mudd, 19, questioned the measure’s importance, saying, “People use (marijuana) every day, so I don’t think whether it’s legal or not makes a difference.” Arunachalam favored Prop. 19 because it would ease the burden on law enforcement. “It shouldn’t be a priority,” she said, “but there would be less trouble for everyone if it were legalized.” Though she was in a minority, Arunachalam can be glad about one thing now that the midterms are over: an end to the negative campaigning. At least, for now. “It was outrageous,” she said. “It was the most fighting I’ve ever seen.” Lien Hoang can be reached at lienh@goldcountrymedia.com.