Electoral College to meet Monday, hand state’s votes to Obama

The California Electoral College will meet Monday in Sacramento to formally cast the state’s 55 electoral votes for President Obama.

The procedural meeting starts at 2 p.m. in the California Assembly’s chambers.

Obama won California with more than 60 percent of the statewide vote.

An analysis of Riverside County’s election results show Obama also won over the Coachella Valley.

The breakdown shows Obama beat GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in five of the nine desert cities: Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Palm Springs.

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama: Tracking the state-by-state presidential projections

With polls closed on the East Coast, we tracked the results coming in — and, of course, the projections being made in the presidential election.

It took only a few minutes after West Coast closed its polls for several media outlets to project that President Obama won a second term.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win.

Here’s the roundup of endorsements we saw:



President Barack Obama

  • Vermont (AP, FOX News) – 3 electoral votes
  • Illinois (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 20
  • Connecticut (AP, CNN) – 7
  • Maine (AP, CNN) – 4
  • D.C. (AP, CNN) – 3
  • Delaware (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 3
  • Rhode Island (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 4
  • Maryland (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 10
  • Massachusetts (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 11
  • New Jersey (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 14
  • New York (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 29
  • Michigan (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 16
  • Pennsylvania (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 20
  • Wisconsin (CBS, FOX News, NBC) – 10
  • New Hampshire (ABC News, CBS, FOX News, NPR) – 4
  • Minnesota (ABC News, NPR) – 10
  • New Mexico (ABC News, FOX News) – 5
  • California (AP, CBS) – 55
  • Hawaii (AP, CBS) – 4
  • Washington (AP, CBS) – 12
  • Ohio (AP, NPR) – 18
  • Oregon (CBS, NPR) – 7
  • Iowa (AP, NPR) – 6

Total electoral votes so far for Obama, if  these projections hold true: 287


Gov. Mitt Romney

  • Georgia (AP, CNN,  FOX News, NPR) – 16 electoral votes
  • Kentucky (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 8
  • Indiana (CNN, FOX News) – 11
  • South Carolina  (CNN, FOX News) – 9
  • West Virginia (AP, CNN, FOX News) – 5
  • Oklahoma (AP, CNN, ABC News, FOX News, NPR) – 7
  • Mississippi (AP, NPR) – 6
  • Alabama (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 9
  • Tennessee (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 11
  • Arkansas (AP, CNN, FOX News, NPR) – 6
  • Texas (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 38
  • Kansas (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 6
  • South Dakota (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • North Dakota (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • Louisiana (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 8
  • Wyoming  (AP, FOX News, NPR) – 3
  • Nebraska (AP, NPR) – 5
  • Utah (ABC News, CNN, NPR) – 6
  • Idaho (ABC News) – 4
  • Montana (CBS News) – 3
  • Missouri (CBS News) – 10
  • Arizona (AP, FOX News) – 11
  • North Carolina (NPR) – 15
  • Idaho (FOX News) – 4

Total electoral votes so far for Romney if these projections hold true: 207

Superstorm Sandy rocks the vote

This just in from Forecast the Facts, an advocacy group supporting better media coverage and a strong government response to climate change:

Early exit polls by CBS News reveal that the fossil-fueled Superstorm Sandy, and President Obama’s response, was a crucial factor for two in five voters nationwide.  Twenty-six percent of those polled said Obama’s broadly praised response was an important factor, and 15 percent — about one in six voters — said it was the most important factor in their vote.”

Of course, the exit polls reconfirmed that the economy remains the most important issue for 60 percent of voters.

Presidential debate: Give us your feedback

President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will face off for the first time Wednesday night.

The much-anticipated debate — the first of three scheduled — will start at 6 p.m. local time. It should be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC as well as cable news channels such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

The 90-minute session is expected to focus on the economy, with additional questions on health care and “the role of government,” according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

We’re anxious to get your reactions to what the candidates are saying. Share your reactions to the debate as it unfolds via Twitter by using the hashtag #cvelection in your tweets.

We’ll be watching with you and will feature your tweets in our live debate coverage. A selection of your best tweets may also be included in Thursday’s MyDesert coverage of the debate.

If you want to watch the debate with some like-minded friends, both the Democrats and the Republicans are hosting parties Wednesday night.

– Local Democrats will be at the Stadium Club Sports Bistro in Rancho Mirage, 69-640 Highway 111. Doors open at 5 p.m. A $10 donation is requested.

Reservations: (760) 328-9425

– The Palm Springs Republican Women Federated will be at the Palm Canyon Roadhouse in Palm Springs, 535 S. Palm Canyon Drive. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for guests.

Reservations: (760) 837-7072

Getting out the (mock) vote

Candidates may be trying to woo voters in their late teens and early 20s. But the state officials are looking at an even younger demographic.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson are inviting high school and middle school students to participate in the 2012 MyVote California Student Mock Election.

The mock ballot will let students weigh in on the race for the White House, the U.S. Senate campaign and the 11 statewide ballot measures.

“These mock elections can make the upcoming election a teachable moment in California’s classrooms, and help students make the connection between the principles of democracy and their own lives,” Torlakson said in a statement.

Interested schools can sign up here. You have until Sept. 21 to get involved.

The actual vote will be conducted on Oct. 30, which is one week before Election Day.

Dem convention: Day 3

We got some more convention updates from Greg Rodriguez, a Palm Springs political activist who is one of seven locals in Charlotte to attend the Democratic convention.

Rodriguez had nothing but praise for the first full day of floor speeches, dubbing it “absolutely incredible.”

“I love the personal stories of ‘regular’ Americans who have been positively impacted by the president’s policies, especially in the area of healthcare,” Rodriguez wrote by email.

Today’s events started with a breakfast for the California delegation. Rodriguez said there was “very light turnout” for the morning kickoff.

“Everyone must have been celebrating the incredible first day of the convention, especially our first lady’s moving speech,” Rodriguez noted.

Speaking of First Lady Michelle Obama, Rodriguez had a chance to meet her today at a lunch with the Human Rights Campaign and The Victory Fund. Both groups advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

In short summary, Rodriguez said “Michelle was amazing.”

Other early speakers he had the chance to hear from included California’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Former President Bill Clinton is the headliner of tonight’s events. The Democratic convention wraps Thursday, with President Obama officially accepting the party’s nomination.

Dispatch from the Dem convention

At least eight Coachella Valley residents are in Charlotte this week as delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

As part of the paper’s coverage, we’ve asked veteran campaigner Greg Rodriguez of Palm Springs to send in regular updates about what he’s experiencing.

Rodriguez, who said there was a “rousing welcome” for California’s delegates this morning at a breakfast that featured House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as Reps. John Lewis, Jared Polis and Donna Edwards.

Edwards and Polis highlighted the state’s “Red to Blue” races — which are targeted congressional districts Democrats think they can snag from Republicans — and Rodriguez said they gave “a shout out” to 36th Congressional candidate Raul Ruiz.

The emergency room physician from Palm Desert is challenging Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

Rodriguez said he also spent time at an event that focused on Latino voter outreach efforts.

The speeches, Rodriguez said by email, highlighted “Romney’s stand on self deportation and the devastation the Romney/Ryan budget plan would do to the Latino community.”

With most of the official business done for the day, Rodriguez plans to spend the evening discussing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights at events sponsored by the Victory Fund and the  National Stonewall Democrats.

As noted in Sunday’s Insider, the local Democratic headquarters provided The Desert Sun with a list of  six Coachella Valley residents who are attending the convention.

They are: Rodriguez, Jennifer Fitzgerald Wilson; Vern and Paula Kozlen; Mary Jane Sanchez; Robert Westwood.

After Sunday’s column ran, we got a note from Jackie Lopez, a district spokeswoman for Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez. She said that she and Perez, a Coachella Democrat, also would be attending the convention.

The Democratic National Convention officially kicks off Tuesday. It wraps with President Obama’s speech on Thursday.

Democrats increase campaign efforts

Organizing for America is teaming up with local Democrats as part of their effort to re-elect President Obama.

Members of the president’s campaign team will be working out of the local Democratic headquarters, located at 67555 E. Palm Canyon in Cathedral City.

An official kick-off event is slated for 1 p.m. Thursday.

Organizing for America plans to stay until the election.

Despite Republicans’ voter registration advantage, Obama won Riverside County in 2008 by taking 50.29 percent of the countywide vote.

Boxer cancels campaign event

In light of the Colorado theater shooting, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer this morning canceled a conference call she was scheduled to have with reporters covering the presidential campaign.

Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat, was supposed to join California Attorney General Kamala Harris on the call. An invitation to the call said they would discuss the contrasts between President Obama and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.

The press call was scrapped early this morning following a shooting at a Denver-area movie theater, when a masked gunman opened fire during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

According to the latest reports, 12 people were killed and dozens more were injured.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families whose loved ones were killed or injured in this senseless tragedy,” Boxer said in a statement issued by her office this morning.

“We hold them in our hearts today and pray that those injured make a full recovery.”

Both Obama and Romney also announced they would not be campaigning today.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack, Raul Ruiz take aim over health care

House Republicans voted yet again today to repeal the sweeping health care law that was signed into law by President Obama.

The vote is largely symbolic since the Democratically controlled Senate isn’t likely to move it forward. But that isn’t stopping the local congressional candidates from using it as campaign fodder.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican who voted for the repeal today, released an online ad that targets Democrat Raul Ruiz’s support of the law.

Bono Mack also released this statement today:

“Poll after poll shows the same result: A majority of Americans want President Obama’s healthcare law repealed. Period. Obamacare is too costly, imposes one of the largest tax increases in history – primarily on the middle class – and is morally wrong, because it will eventually lead to a government takeover of our healthcare system. That’s not what Americans want.

“We need a simpler, smarter healthcare plan which makes certain patients are not denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions; children can remain on their parents’ insurance policy until they are 26 years old; and seniors can continue to get the help they need paying for expensive prescription drugs. We can do all of these things without resorting to government-dictated healthcare that will cost $1.8 trillion and put 800,000 Americans out of work.”

Ruiz, an emergency room physician from Palm Desert, also took a stand on the issue today.

“Today, Rep. Mary Bono Mack showed once again that she has lost touch with the needs of the residents of the 36th District. By voting to take away affordable health care from thousands of local families, small businesses, and people with preexisting conditions, Bono Mack chose partisanship over people,” Ruiz said in his statement.

“Rep. Mary Bono Mack and her Republican colleagues have repeatedly voted to deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions, to keep students off of their parents’ health plans, and to increase the cost of prescription drugs to our seniors.

“Even worse, on the same day she voted to take away health coverage from thousands of local families, Bono Mack also voted to protect her own lifetime benefits. We are sick and tired of career politicians who put their own personal benefits ahead of the legitimate needs of the people they are supposed to represent.”