Two multi-millionaire Republican women, two losses. Shortly after the polls closed, the networks reported that Carly Fiorina would not take Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat, and Meg Whitman — who spent $150 million of her own money on the campaign — had failed to prevent Jerry Brown from taking a third lap through the governor’s mansion. Only in California, kids.
Brown has had the good fortune of surviving a wildly up-and-down career in a state where a nickname like “Governor Moonbeam” is not necessarily a handicap. He also has the distinction of being both the state’s oldest and youngest governor: When he won his first gubernatorial election, he was replacing Ronald Reagan.
The race demolished previous spending records. Whitman spent $141 million of her own money; Brown raised and spent more than $31 million, with tens of millions more coming from outside groups. Whitman struggled to get her campaign back on course after revelations that she employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper (and then argued the housekeeper should be deported).
Barbara Boxer, on the other hand, took a page from Karl Rove’s playbook and attacked Fiorina where she seemed strongest: Her experience as a Fortune 500 CEO at Hewlett Packard. Boxer accused her opponent of outsourcing jobs and laying off workers. As MSNBC noted, Boxer and Brown may also both owe a hat tip to Arnold Schwarzenegger: After seeing California turn into a fiscal wasteland in recent years, the last thing Californians wanted to do was hand the baton over to two more people without any government experience.
Oh, and Proposition 19, which would have removed the last tattered remnants of marijuana prohibition in the Golden State, was heading for a defeat according to exit polls. Insert your own stoner joke here, hippies.