SACRAMENTO – The election of Jerry Brown as governor gives California’s LGBT community a huge sigh of relief.
Brown has vowed to fight for equality issues and to continue the legal effort to overturn Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California.
The Republican opponent Meg Whitman had pledged to try to intervene in the appeals court case that begins in December.
In unofficial returns, Brown handily defeated Whitman by a vote of 54% to 41%. Four other candidates collected the remaining votes.
"A huge sense of relief came over me when I saw the giant check mark on TV indicating Jerry Brown's win," said Toni Duran, a San Diego activist attending an Election Viewing Party at Eden on Tuesday night sponsored by The Center's Young Professionals Council.
But Brown’s win dismayed two Whitman supporters at the viewing party.
"I voted for Meg Whitman,” said Brandon, a payroll manager who asked not to use his surname. “Jerry Brown was governor before and we are in the same mess now as we were then. Meg would have been more likely to get us out of the mess - the lesser of two evils."
Matthew Guillory, a bank manager, also wanted a different outcome.
"I voted for Meg Whitman because she is a fiscal conservative,” Guillory said. “I believe we need balance between Dems and Republicans. I like what she had to say about education and am confident about her viewpoints. I am impressed with her business acumen and track record. Anyone who can run a company the size of eBay deserves kudos. She may not be LGBT friendly, but I had to balance which issues are most important to the state."
Brown was part of a Democratic wave sweeping into top state offices. Other Democratic winners included:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as lieutenant governor, who beat four candidates by commanding 50% of the vote;
Debra Bowen as secretary of state with 53% of the vote in a six-candidate race;
John Chiang as controller with 55% of the vote in a six-candidate race;
Bill Lockyear as treasurer with 56% of the vote in a six-candidate race;
Dave Jones as insurance commissioner with 51% of the vote in a six-candidate race;
Tom Torlakson as superintendent of public instruction with 55% of the vote in a two-candidate race;
Attorney general race is too close to call
In a race closely watched by the state’s LGBT community, Democrat Kamala D. Harris is leading Republican Steve Cooley 46.o% to 45.7% with 99.2% of the precincts partially or fully reporting as of 10:34 a.m. today.
Harris is for marriage equality, while Cooley is against it.
If elected, Cooley has pledged to try to intervene in the Prop. 8 appeal, which begins in December. So marriage-equality supporters are on pins and needles rooting for the election of Harris.
SDGLN Staff Writer Ben Cartwright contributed to this report.