Capitol Alert

Harder unseats Denham + Newsom’s ‘reality check’ + DMV tips

Josh Harder Supporters Gather And Wait For Results

Josh Harder talks to supporters at his campaign party Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018 night.
Up Next
Josh Harder talks to supporters at his campaign party Tuesday Nov. 6, 2018 night.


If this keeps up, “Bad News Bears” will need a remake. Republicans across California are continuing their losing streak, falling victim to yet another Democratic congressional challenger.

In the Modesto area, Democratic challenger Josh Harder unseated Republican Rep. Jeff Denham. It wasn’t that much of a surprise win for Harder, but it serves as yet another blow to an already wounded party. The Associated Press called the race for Harder Tuesday night, giving Democrats their fourth congressional pickup. Two additional pickup opportunities lie ahead.

Harder boosted his lead over Denham to 2.6 percentage points and declared victory shortly after the AP’s call, saying in a statement, “I pledge to be a member of Congress for this entire district regardless of political party, regardless of who you voted for. Washington is broken because our leaders have put party over country — I pledge that I will always put this community before anything in Washington.”


Alexei Koseff writes…

As he prepares to take office in less than two months, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom met privately Tuesday with Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss the transition.

At a (very brief) joint press conference following their meeting, Newsom thanked Brown and his staff for their “incredible generosity of energy and spirit and collaboration” that has kept the process moving smoothly amid the mass shooting and major wildfires that dominated the week since his election.

“This transition started off with a reality check,” Newsom said.

The two Democrats talked about both policy and personnel, according to Newsom, including which staff members in the governor’s office may want to stay for the new administration: “We’re moving from the how business to the who business.”

Brown, ever the philosophical sage, reflected on how a Newsom governorship would differ from his own.

“Times change and we have to change with them,” he said. “The new governor will take California in a very positive and a very creative direction.”

Standing next to the enormous bronze bear that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had installed outside the governor’s office in 2009, affectionately dubbed “bacteria bear,” Newsom said he received “one key piece of advice” from Brown.

“Don’t touch the bear,” Newsom said. “Keep the hands off the bear.”


Dan Smith writes...

At 6:57 a.m. Tuesday, the sun was barely above the horizon in the smoky Sacramento sky, but eight people were in line at the Sacramento Department of Motor Vehicles on Broadway.

I was number nine, brought there more than an hour before opening to replace a California license that mysteriously went missing in Nevada.

There had been months of stories about long lines and other troubles the agency has had issuing Real IDs.

My wait could be hours-long. I left so early, I didn’t eat. You’d think there would be at least one food truck here.

That 9 a.m. work meeting would be missed, for sure.

A bearded guy in a Raiders jacket was number 11.

“I came at 7 once before and the line was around the corner…It’s getting better!”

Should I be optimistic?

By 7:45, two DMV workers with clipboards worked the line, which had grown to more than 50. They separated license seekers like me from those trying to register vehicles.

I fell in behind a few other license people and was led to a side door.

We were questioned and asked for paperwork.

Everyone had a problem but me.

Two guys couldn’t speak English and hadn’t filled out the online application. They were routed to the right for help when the doors opened.

Another guy tried to register a car he bought, but the seller signed in the wrong place. Besides, he was in the wrong line. The clipboard guy sent him off.

I’m told that everything is in order -- passport, W-2 tax statement, mortgage bill, completed online application. I’m instructed to head to the front desk when the doors open at 8.

I am assigned a new number -- number one -- and immediately was called to the counter.

“I lost my license.”

“You have everything you need, why not get a Real ID?”

By 8:20 A.M., I was in my car and driving away. One hour, twenty minutes for a Real ID with no appointment.


  • Get there early

  • Read the website/bring the correct documents

  • Fill out paperwork online

  • Bring your own food


In the Board of Equalization District 4 race, State Sen. Joel Anderson now trails his Democratic challenger, Mike Schaefer, by 0.2 percentage points — a difference of 3,508 votes.

Over three million ballots remain uncounted, and several races remain uncalled. Here’s the latest numbers in some key seats, as of 9 p.m. Tuesday:

House of Representatives

  • District 39: On Monday morning, Republican Young Kim enjoyed a 1.1 percentage point lead over Democrat Gil Cisneros. She accused the Cisneros campaign of trying to “alter the outcome of this race.” If she loses, “foul play” could be to blame, she added. Well, Cisneros has taken a major step toward victory. The $266 million Lottery jackpot winner now trails Kim by just 0.4 percentage points — or 711 votes. If Cisneros takes a lead in the coming days, things could turn hostile very quickly. Everyone knew this would be close, but it could wind up being the closest congressional race in the state.
  • District 45: Democratic challenger Katie Porter has taken a narrow lead over Rep. Mimi Walters, spelling what is likely to be a fifth pickup for California Democrats running in the House. Porter leads by 0.1 percentage points, or 261 votes.

Statewide Offices

  • Insurance Commissioner: Sen. Ricardo Lara is coasting to victory as of late. He’s now beating Steve Poizner by 3 percentage points. Lara’s victory appears inevitable.
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond is expanding his lead over Marshall Tuck. Thurmond is now up by 0.9 percentage points — a difference of over 67,000 votes.

California Legislature

  • Assembly District 16: Republican Assemblywoman Catharine Baker is working to fend off Democratic challenger Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. She leads by 0.2 percentage points, or 339 votes. This is the last remaining Assembly seat in the Bay Area under GOP control.
  • Assembly District 38: Republican Assemblyman Dante Acosta appears to be headed for defeat. Democrat Christy Smith now leads him by 1.1 percentage points, or 1,718 votes.

  • Assembly District 60: It’s the last pickup opportunity for Republicans in the Legislature. Democratic Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes leads Republican challenger Bill Essayli by 1.3 percentage points — a difference of 945 votes.

  • Assembly District 74: Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris is in prime position to unseat Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper. She’s up by 2.3 percentage points.

  • Assembly District 77: Republican Assemblyman Brian Maienschein is holding onto a 2.9-point lead over Democratic challenger Sunday Gover. He’s ahead by 4,349 votes.


Josh Harder (@joshua_harder) — “Pam and I want to thank the people of our community for the humbling privilege to serve you in Congress. I pledge that I will always put this community before anything in Washington.”

MUST-READ: Something beautiful amid total disaster. The Camp Fire and the salvation of London the cat


The Bee’s Editorial Board says California’s fire heroes deserve our gratitude.

Mary Creasman, chief executive officer of the California League of Conservation Voters, thinks environmental protection was a big winner in midterms.


Jack Ohman illustrates the Arc de Trump