Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Obama vs. Romney - How California's Slates of Presidential Electors Are Selected

(For the list of 55 Obama/Biden electors from California, see below.)

California has 55 electoral votes in the 2012 presidential election "electoral college."  Under California law, whichever presidential candidate wins the statewide popular vote is awarded all 55 votes.  The electors assemble in mid-December in Sacramento to formally cast California’s votes for president and president. 

In recent presidential elections, the individual Democratic presidential/vice-presidential electors have been selected by the Democratic party nominee in each congressional district and by the party’s most recent U.S. Senate nominees for each Senate seat.  However, the adoption of Proposition 14 in June 2010 (“top two” primary system) has caused a change in this system.  Beginning with the 2012 presidential election, according to California Elections Code sec. 7100, “the candidate in each congressional district who received the largest number of votes in the primary election among the candidates who disclosed a preference for the Democratic Party shall designate one presidential elector …”

The new system for selecting Democratic presidential electors in California has at least two major implications.  First, in congressional districts where two Democrats will appear on the November ballot, the top vote-getter in the June election selects the Obama-Biden presidential elector for that district.  Therefore, “Pete” Stark, Brad Sherman and Joe Baca will select the Democratic electors in the 15th, 30th and 35th districts respectively, even if their Democratic opponents Eric Swalwell, Howard Berman and Gloria Negrete McLeod end up winning in November. 

Second, in congressional districts where no Democratic candidate advances to the November election, the losing Democrat with the most votes in June gets to name a presidential elector.  Democrats Jackie Conaway in the 8th District and Pete Aguilar in the 31st District will not appear on the November ballot, but each has the authority to name a Democratic presidential elector for California.

In other congressional districts, even where “sacrificial lamb” Democratic candidates are unlikely to defeat Republican opponents in November, the Democrat has the authority to name a presidential elector. This must be a valuable “consolation prize” for those Democrats who are unlikely to win.

The Republicans have a different system for selecting presidential/vice-presidential electors in California.  Proposition 14 did not directly affect it.  According to Elections Code section 7300, “the Republican nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Controller, Attorney General, and Secretary of State, the Republican nominees for United States Senator at the last two United States senatorial elections, the Assembly Republican leader, the Senate Republican leader, all elected officers of the Republican State Central Committee, the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman, the President of the Republican County Central Committee Chairmen's Association, and the chairperson or president of each Republican volunteer organization officially recognized by the Republican State Central Committee shall act as presidential electors …”

This means that if “Mitt” Romney wins the California popular vote, then Meg Whitman, Abel Maldonado, Mimi Walters, Tony Strickland, Steve Cooley, Damon Dunn and Carly Fiorina, all of whom have lost bids for statewide office, would meet in Sacramento in mid-December as members of the Electoral College.

The names and residence and business addresses of each presidential elector on each slate must be filed with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen by October 1, 2012.

The following are the names of California's 55 Democratic electors.  At least eight of the 55 are relatives by blood or marriage of the congressional candidates who appointed them.  At least nine electors are non-residents of the congressional districts that they represent. (There is a cluster of non-resident electors in the San Joaquin Valley, where four of the six congressional districts will have electors who reside outside of the Valley.)  Some are financial contributors to the congressional candidates who appointed them.  Some are political consultants to their appointing powers.

California's 55 presidential electors will assemble in Sacramento on Monday, December 17th at 2:00 p.m. to cast the state's electoral votes for Barack Obama for President and Joe Biden for Vice President:

Dolores Clara Huerta - USS (Senator Boxer)
Bakersfield, CA

(Ms. Huerta is a prominent/legendary civil rights/labor leader)

Barbara Schraeger - USS (Senator Feinstein)
Sausalito, CA 

(Ms. Schraeger is a retired business consultant who is a campaign contributor to Sen. Dianne Feinstein)

Brooke Reed - CD 1
Fall River Mills, CA

(Democratic candidate Jim Reed appointed his daughter)

Daniel Leroux - CD 2
San Rafael, CA

(Democratic candidate Jared Huffman appointed a San Rafael attorney)

Patricia W. Garamendi - CD 3
Walnut Grove, CA

(Rep. John Garamendi appointed his wife)

Michael Williams Adams - CD 4
Roseville, CA

Kyriakos Tsakopoulos - CD 5
Carmichael, CA

(Rep. Mike Thompson appointed a non-resident of his district)

Sandy L. Nixon - CD 6
Sacramento, CA

Janine Vivienne Bera - CD 7
Elk Grove, CA

(Democratic candidate Dr. Ami Bera appointed his wife)

Aaron Samuel Conaway - CD 8
Phelan, CA

(Democratic candidate Jackie Conaway apparently appointed her son)

Ernest Joseph Vasti - CD 9
Stockton, CA

(Rep. Jerry McNerney appointed a local physician)

Ruben Antonio Villalobos - CD 10
Modesto, CA

(Democratic candidate Jose Hernandez appointed a Modesto criminal defense attorney)

Gwen Regalia - CD 11
Walnut Creek, CA

(Rep. George Miller appointed a former Walnut Creek city council member/mayor)

Jane Morrison - CD 12
San Francisco, CA

(Rep. Nancy Pelosi appointed a longtime San Francisco Democratic Party member, age 92+)

Geoffrey Pete - CD 13
Oakland, CA

(Rep. Barbara Lee appointed a local nightclub owner)

Ranada Stephenson - CD 14
Hillsborough, CA

(Rep. Jackie Speier appointed a local political activist/campaign donor)

Meriam Reynosa Louise - CD 15
San Leandro, CA

(Ms. Reynosa Louise, a nonresident of the district, is President of Southern Alameda County Young Democrats.  She is staff member for state Sen. Ellen Corbett.  As the highest Democratic vote winner in the congressional district in the June 2012 election, Rep. "Pete" Stark appointed her.)

Terry Reardon - CD 16
Sacramento, CA
(Rep. Jim Costa appointed Mr. Reardon, a former member of his state Assembly staff in Sacramento in the 1980s and a nonresident of his congressional district.  Mr. Reardon, who lists his employer as "retired," is a financial contributor to Rep. Costa's campaigns.  In the 1990s,, Mr. Reardon formed an organization called "Californians for Rail Transit.")

Susan Johnson - CD 17
Fremont, CA

(Rep. Mike Honda appointed Ms. Johnson.  She likely is the "Susan M. Johnson" of Fremont who was a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.)

John Freidenrich - CD 18
Atherton, CA

(Rep. Anna Eshoo appointed Mr. Freidenrich, an investor with Regis Management Co.  Mr. Freidenrich is a major financial contributor to Democratic political campaigns.)

Jang Badhesha - CD 19
San Jose, CA

(Rep. Zoe Lofgren appointed Jang Badhesha, who apparently is a lab manager at Juniper Networks and a golfer.)

Dennis Donohue - CD 20
Salinas, CA

(Rep. Sam Farr appointed the outgoing Salinas mayor)

Dean E. Vogel - CD 21
Davis, CA

(Democratic candidate John Hernandez apparently appointed the president of the California Teachers Association, a non-resident of the district)

Maeley Lock Tom - CD 22
Sacramento, CA

(Democratic candidate Otto Lee apparently appointed a public affairs firm operator, ex-CalPERS board member and State Personnel Board president, a non-resident of the district)

Louis Paulson - CD 23
Walnut Creek, CA

(There was not a Democratic candidate for Congress in this congressional district centered on Kern County.  The California Democratic Party apparently appointed Mr. Paulson, a Contra Costa County Fire District employee and political campaign donor, mostly to an International Association of Firefighters political action committee.  He apparently does not reside in this district.)

Mollie Culver - CD 24
Santa Barbara, CA

(Rep. Lois Capps appointed Ms. Culver, her campaign manager and a former political director of the California Democratic Party, according to the Ventura County Star website on Dec. 16, 2012.)

Christopher Tumbeiro - CD 25
Simi Valley, CA

(Democratic candidate for Congress Lee C. Rogers appointed Mr. Tumbeiro, who is an 18 year-old Royal High School senior, according to the Ventura County Star website on Dec. 16, 2012.)

Sandy Emberland - CD 26
Thousand Oaks, CA

(Ms. Emberland is a volunteer for Democratic congressional candidate Julia Brownley's campaign, according to the Camarillo Acorn of Oct. 19, 2012.  The Ventura County Star reported on Dec. 16, 2012 that Ms. Emberland is a "69-year-old grandmother and retired computer teacher.")

Xiaoguang Sun - CD 27
Cupertino, CA

(Rep. Judy Chu appointed Dr. Sun, who apparently is president of the U.S.-China Agricultural Development Center and president of Ecrossland, Inc. of Cupertino.  He is a non-resident of the district.)

William H. Kysella, Jr. - CD 28
Hollywood, CA

(Rep. Adam Schiff appointed Mr. Kysella, a deputy attorney in the Los Angeles city attorney's office and a member of the state Board of Optometry.)

Felipe Fuentes - CD 29
Sylmar, CA

(Congressional candidate Tony Cardenas appointed Mr. Fuentes, who is now a former assemblyman and running for Los Angeles city council in 2013.)

John Harold Simpson - CD 30
Encino, CA

Alisha Aguilar - CD 31
Redlands, CA

Andre Quintero - CD 32
El Monte, CA

(Rep. Grace Napolitano appointed the mayor of El Monte.)

Sanford Weiner - CD 33
Los Angeles, CA

Maria Teresa Becerra - CD 34
Sacramento, CA

(Rep. Xavier Becerra appointed his mother)

Alfonso Sanchez - CD 35
Sacramento, CA

(As the top vote getter among Democratic candidates in the June election, Rep. Joe Baca had the authority to appoint an elector.   Mr. Sanchez, campaign manager of his Democratic rival state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, was somehow appointed. Mr. Sanchez also served as her press secretary in the state senate.  He is a non-resident of the district.)

Gregory Lucas Rodriguez - CD 36
Palm Springs, CA

(Democratic congressional candidate Raul Ruiz appointed Gregory Lucas Rodriguez, a self-described "long time Democratic Party and LGBT activist and consultant.")

Diane Watson - CD 37
Los Angeles, CA

(Rep. Karen Bass appointed a former member of Congress)

Laura Lee - CD 38
Cerritos, CA

(Rep. Linda Sanchez appointed a Cerritos city councilmember.)

Karen Chang - CD 39
Hacienda Heights, CA

(Congressional candidate Jay Chen appointed his wife.)

Ricardo Roybal Olivarez - CD 40
Glendale, CA

(Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard appointed her son, a non-resident of the district. Ricardo Olivarez is an attorney with the firm of the Olivarez Madruga law firm.  The law firm website says that he is "Managing Shareholder of the Firm and the current City Attorney for the City of El Monte and the City of Cudahy.")  He has written about the Ralph M. Brown Act, California's primary local government open meeting law, among other matters.

Laurie Stalnaker - CD 41
Highland, CA

(Democratic congressional candidate Mark Takano appointed Ms. Stalnaker, the longtime Executive Secretary/Treasurer at Central Labor Council AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.)

Mark Macarro - CD 42
Temecula, CA

(Democratic congressional candidate Michael Williamson apparently appointed Mr. Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of LuiseƱo Indians.)

Karen Waters - CD 43
Inglewood, CA

(Rep. Maxine Waters appointed her daughter, a political consultant whose firm has done significant business with the congresswoman's campaign committee.)

Alexandra Rooker - CD 44
West Sacramento, CA

(Rep. Janice Hahn appointed Ms. Rooker, who apparently is a non-resident of her district.  Ms. Rooker apparently is Alex Gallardo-Rooker, first vice chair of the California Democratic Party and vice president of Communication Workers of America Local 9400.)

Dave Low - CD 45
Sacramento, CA

(Congressional candidiate Sukhee Kang apparently appointed a non-resident.  Dave Low apparently is Executive Director and Director of Governmental Relations of the California School Employees Association.)

Michael Ray - CD 46
Laguna Beach, CA

(Rep. Loretta Sanchez apparently appointed Mr. Ray, a non-resident of the district.  He writes a column called "Musings on the Coast" for the Laguna Beach Independent newspaper.  His column describes him, "He makes a living as a real estate entrepreneur and is involved in many non-profits.")

Raymond Cordova - CD 47
Garden Grove, CA

(Congressional candidate Alan Lowenthal appointed Mr. Cordova, who is active in California Democratic Party affairs.)

Steven Ray Young - CD 48
Newport Beach, CA

[Congressional candidate Ron Varasteh appointed Mr. Young, who is an attorney.  He is active in state Democratic party affairs and has been Democratic candidate for Congress (2006, 2008) and state senate (2012).]

Bobby Glaser - CD 49
San Diego, CA

(Congressional candidate Jerry Tetalman appointed Mr. Glaser, who apparently is owner and president of the La Jolla Group, a firm that specializes in signature gathering for local initiatives.)

Bonnie Burns Price - CD 50
La Mesa, CA

(Congressional candidate David Secor appointed Bonnie Burns Price, who has written editorials and other items favoring Democratic political candidates.)

Ernesto Encinas - CD 51
San Diego, CA

(Congressional candidate Juan Vargas appointed Mr. Encinas, who apparently is a retired San Diego police detective.  As a retiree, he was a witness in an underage alcohol sale violation case, in which he instructed the "decoy" in the sting operation.)

Donald Mullen - CD 52
San Diego, CA

(Congressional candidate Scott Peters appointed Mr. Mullen, chief of staff to San Diego Councilmember Marti Emerald.)

Gary Rotto - CD 53
San Diego, CA

(Rep. Susan Davis appointed Mr. Rotto, Director of Health Policy for the Council of Community Clinics, a consortia of 16 private, non-profit health care organizations that provide primary care services primarily to the uninsured and underinsured in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties. Mr. Rotto is a frequent contributor to San Diego Jewish World.)


  1. California law should be changed. The people, not the political party monopolists, should selct the CA Presidential Electors.

    Cuz'n Ben

  2. The Electoral College would be the best way of selection of the President, but only if the people, not party bosses, select the electors. Each Congressional District should have direct voting by the people for the electors, rather than the party bosses being able to impose their choice on all voters of the State.