To begin, we can all celebrate the election of Gayle McLaughlin in Richmond. This is a city with many problems, but with a core of people who are willing to work for change. When Richmond makes the news, it is most generally for yet another gang related killing. Even when the citizens of Richmond set up a tent village and camped out at nights in a dangerous area, they ended up being less than a football field's length from yet another killing. Gayle has more than a normal mayor's job to do and deserves all the support that she can get, from everyone, all over the state.
Then, when looking at the statewide returns, we have the fact that most down ticket candidates had better success than those at the top of the Ticket, Peter Camejo and Todd Chretien. One possible explanation for this is to declare it pesonal dislike of the candidates. Another is that it is a repudiation of their positioning of the Green Party at the far left of the political spectrum. Camejo is at his best when he talks about specific solutions to specific problems. There, it is his intelligence that comes through. We did not see that often enough in this campaign.
The top vote getter, Insurance Commissioner candidate Larry Cafiero, may be been the beneficiary of the fact that the Democratic candidat, Cruz Bustamante, was very flawed. Having failed to succeed Gray Davis in the recall election, and then again for the office of Insurance Commissioner, Bustamante may need to find a real job, perhaps as a lobbyist.
My biggest disappointment was in the lack of support for Forrest Hill. I still think that his proposals for electoral reform were practical and need to be part of the Green Party goals as we go forward.
The time to start planning for 2008 was yesterday. I know that the supporters of Jerry McNerney have begun to put a grassroots organization in place to help maintain his newly gained CA 11 seat (Bye Bye Dick Pombo.) We need to find the bright spots in what we managed to do and to build on them.