Now that's a race. In the contest between Republican Tony Strickland and Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson for the 19th District state Senate seat, Strickland is hanging on to a razor-thin lead. Election workers in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties are still doing mandatory manual tallies and checking provisional ballots, but Strickland is holding steady at 50.2% of the vote to Jackson's 49.8%. More than 400,000 votes were cast Nov. 4 for the seat, but as of Monday, just 1,385 votes separated them.
This is just what we wanted, right? Two closely matched general-election candidates in a district not gerrymandered to serve merely Democrats or simply Republicans. With each nominee having a realistic shot at victory, the candidates presumably would have to make moderate appeals across party lines instead of running to their bases. We would end up with more lawmakers listening to a broader cross-section of their constituents and making laws in the interests of Californians as a whole instead of party leaders or ideological camps. Races would no longer be over after the primary.
That was the point behind Proposition 11, the redistricting measure also on the Nov. 4 ballot. By taking the task of drawing district lines away from the political parties, California is supposed to end up with a lot more of those evenly balanced districts.