It seems the more than $7 million spent on the State Senate race between Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson and Republican Tony Strickland - who are battling to win control of the 19th District, which spans from liberal Santa Barbara to conservative Simi Valley - was just enough to keep them neck-and-neck. As this morning, Jackson, a Santa Barbara attorney and former Assemblywoman, was ahead of Strickland, also a former Assembly member, by a mere 108 votes - and that's in a race with more than 300,000 people casting ballots. Could the most expensive race in the Golden State Legislature's history actually required more money?
According to Jackson, who says she's "cautiously optimistic," there are still nearly 100,000 ballots to be counted in Ventura County and another 30,000 or so to be counted in Santa Barbara County. It could take up to 10 more days to figure out the winner.
But how did a Democrat do so well in a district that was gerrymandered to favor Republicans? "I think that the demographics have shifted," said Jackson. "I think there's been a real rejection of the failed policies of the right wing and the Bush administration. I think, too, that there's a good candidate out there to try and take that seat away from the right wing."