The overwhelming defeat of the five tax-hiking proposals, including one which would extend tax hikes for two years, shows that even citizens in “blue” California are willing to tolerate reduction in services in order to hold the line on state spending one of the core ideas of the GOP resonates with voters. The referendum results show that budgetary restraint is a winning issue.
But, it wasn’t just the defeat of the budget measures which provide signs of hope for the GOP. While perennial politician and ardent left-winger Paul Koretz clings to a 335-vote lead over David Vahedi for the District 5 seat in City Council, the fact that the margin is so close in a very, very liberal district. To be sure, Vahedi is not a Republican, but he had built of coalition of neighborhood activists and other concerned citizens upset at the status quo in the City. He ran at the outsider fighting a liberal City Hall.
The real sign of hope for the GOP though came in the race for City Attorney, when San Pedro lawyer Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich shellacked City Councilman Jack Weiss, the more liberal candidate who was backed not just by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, but also by the Democratic Party and labor unions. Those unions ran harsh ads attacking Trutanich alleging he represented polluters. But, thse ads didn’t seem to resonate.
Despite the assistance he received from the Mayor and the labor unions, Weiss lost by over ten points. It wasn’t even close.
What these elections indicate is that certain ideas which have long defined the GOP resonate with voters, even in “blue” states like California, even in liberal cities like Los Angeles. Yesterday’s results suggest that should the GOP returns to its principles and run against machine politics with reform agenda, they could see themselves returning to the majority, even if jurisdictions where they have long been written off.