There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy

There’s no amount of money that can compete with real, grassroots enthusiasm and mobilization, and never has that been more apparent than it is today. Thanks to the commitment and activism of California’s working families, Main Street candidate JERRY BROWN triumphed over failed CEO Meg “Wall Street” Whitman by 13 points, despite Whitman’s record-breaking $180 million campaign. And Senator BARBARA BOXER’s victory over HP ex-CEO and notorious job killer Corporate Carly Fiorina ensured the continuation of a Democratic majority in the Senate.

We were up against some deep pockets, but they could never compete with our grassroots troops. Time and again, we’ve seen that union volunteers talking to fellow union members is far more effective than even the most expensive paid “Get Out the Vote” campaign, and this election is certainly no exception. Six months ago, California Labor launched the largest and most extensive ground campaign in history, and enthusiasm has only gotten stronger over the course of the campaign. Over the last week alone, more than 30,000 volunteers made 3.3 million “Get Out the Vote” phone calls, knocked on 325,000 doors and distributed more than a half million flyers at worksites.

Art Pulaski, California Labor Federation:

Tonight’s results serve notice to the super-wealthy who think deep pockets and corporate allegiances are the only prerequisites to high office. Whitman and Fiorina’s assault on working people’s ideals made this election more critical to our state’s future than any we’ve seen in a generation. Nearly 30,000 union volunteers worked to combat Whitman and Fiorina’s record spending by spreading the word about the stakes in this election, person by person. That grassroots campaigning made a key impact on tonight’s results.

Thanks to our hard work, California successfully fought off the “red wave” over Republican victories that swept the country. In fact, Labor’s endorsed candidates for statewide office came out on top in nearly every race:

Lieutenant Governor — GAVIN NEWSOM
Attorney General — KAMALA HARRIS (currently leading Steve Cooley)
Secretary of State — DEBRA BOWEN
Treasurer — BILL LOCKYER
Controller — JOHN CHIANG
Superintendent of Public Instruction — TOM TORLAKSON
Insurance Commissioner — DAVE JONES
Board of Equalization — BETTY YEE and JEROME HORTON

Other notable victories:

PROPOSITION 23 — the Big Oil-funded measure to repeal California’s landmark global warming law — went down by a huge margin.

BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster:

Yesterday's decisive defeat of Proposition 23 is a clear victory for clean energy, not just in California but throughout the United States and around the world. The importance of the Proposition 23 vote cannot be overstated. For the first time, American voters directly considered the economic and environmental consequences of doing nothing about the growing risks of climate change. And they have answered unequivocally that ignoring these risks is unacceptable and that the job-creating potential of clean energy investments is the smartest path out of the current unemployment crisis.

Californians made the right choice in passing PROPOSITION 25, the Majority Vote Budget initiative.

California Federation of Teachers President Marty Hittelman:

The passage of Proposition 25 means that the Californian Legislature will not have an easy excuse for passing a late budget that harms California's future. By voting in favor of majority rule, California's voters have taken an important step forward in restoring democracy to the budget process. No longer will a few legislators hold up the entire budget process until special favors are finally granted in exchange for their votes.