Election Results: GOP Govs Win Big, Dems Take California, Oberstar Ousted

The current governor map, before yesterday's winners are seated.
The current governors map, before yesterday's winners are seated. Several blue states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, will turn red. California will flip from red to blue.

The biggest news from last night, of course, is that the GOP won control of the House of Representatives. That means Republicans now control all the House committees, and Ohio’s John Boehner — a believer in wider highways — will wield the Speaker’s gavel. The Democrats hung on to the Senate, though, and pundits are forecasting two years of gridlock.

Streetsblog has mainly been profiling races for governor where transportation issues had a high profile. Here are some results with big implications for smart growth and sustainable transportation.

Governor Results

California: Jerry Brown (D) 54 percent – Meg Whitman (R) 41 percent
Whitman would have said no to high speed rail, Brown has a record of curbing sprawl and fighting highway expansion.

Colorado: John Hickenlooper (D) 50 percent – Tom Tancredo (AMC) 37 percent – Dan Maes (R) 11 percent
The GOP hangs on to major party status by a hair after bike-paranoid Maes costs them the election. Hickenlooper is a bike and transit advocate who really gets it.

Florida: Rick Scott (R) 49 percent – Alex Sink (D) 48 percent
Scott has said he’ll kill high speed rail, giving back federal dollars. Sink is a transit supporter who said bike infrastructure could improve street safety.

Georgia: Nathan Deal (R) 53 percent – Roy Barnes (D) 43 percent
Barnes has environmental concerns about a highway expansion project Deal supports. Barnes wanted to “unclog Atlanta” through transit.

Maryland: Martin O’Malley (D) 56 percent – Bob Ehrlich (R) 42 percent
Incumbent O’Malley will move forward with building a light-rail Purple Line to complement the D.C. Metro. Ehrlich said he favored bus rapid transit but some thought he was just trying to cause delays.

Ohio: John Kasich (R) 49 percent – Ted Strickland (D) 47 percent
The winner says high speed rail is the dumbest idea he’s ever heard. Incumbent Strickland has tried to green the industrial state.

Tennessee: Bill Haslam (R) 65 percent – Mike McWherter (D) 33 percent
Haslam has gained some praise for his bike policy but he’s not friendly to transit, which McWherter supports.

Texas: Rick Perry (R) 55 percent – Bill White (D) 42 percent
Will the Trans-Texas Corridor mega-project go through? It’s likely, now that Perry won an unprecedented third term.

Wisconsin: Rick Scott (R) 52 percent – Tom Barrett (D) 47 percent
Another race where the Republican pledged to kill high speed rail projects underway. Barrett promoted transit as a way to reduce wear and tear on highways.

House Races

Minnesota: Chip Cravaack (R) 48 percent – Jim Oberstar 47 percent
This is a huge blow to transportation reform. Oberstar, the chair of the Transportation Committee and architect of the reauthorization bill, was a strong ally of reformers.

Oregon: Peter DeFazio (D) 54 percent – Art Robinson (R) 45 percent
After a closer-than-expected contest, transit supporter DeFazio stays to fight another day.

Senate Races

California: Barbara Boxer (D) 52 percent – Carly Fiorina (R) 42 percent
The Environment and Public Works Committee chair had the fight of her political life against the Hewlett Packard exec, but she’ll stick around. And with the Democrats keeping control of the Senate, EPW will remain under her leadership.

Stay tuned… later today we’ll be taking a look at how the 29 transportation-related ballot initiatives fared.

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Oberstar agrees to back Senate jobs bill after getting a written promise from Senate majority leader that $932 million in pre-earmarked transportation funding will be redistributed (Politico) Cost inflation and fears of higher ticket prices are already dogging California high-speed rail (LAT) Ohio River Bridges project, dubbed one of the nation’s "highways to nowhere," might […]

Election Day Finds Two Livability Champions on the Ropes

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Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) will likely lose his chairmanship of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as control of the House is widely expected to shift to the Republicans after today’s election. But Oberstar could also lose his seat in Congress. As committee chair, Oberstar has been a strong advocate for transit investment and livability reforms. […]

$2 Billion for Bicycling in Stimulus Package?

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Earl Blumenauer. Photo: New York Times The most tantalizing tidbit in today’s Times profile of Earl Blumenauer comes from fellow cycling Congressman James Oberstar: With an eye on the potential stimulus package, cycling advocates "have compiled a list of $2 billion of projects that can be under construction in 90 days," Mr. Oberstar said, adding […]

Today’s Headlines

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New tax-extension bill on the House floor this week would fix transport-funding disparity decried by Oberstar — but the Illinois delegation remains opposed to the change (Herald Whig) Transit unions to run ads urging GOP senators’ support for Dem bill approving $2B in transit aid (WSJ) Washington D.C. city council initially scraps streetcar funding to […]