Sunday, April 15, 2012

CA-2: It doesn't get more liberal than this

While there are districts that are more Democratic than CA-2, none of them has a citizens' voting age population (CVAP) that's nearly 90% White. Democrats have struggled with White voters nationwide for decades. The last time a Democratic Presidential candidate got the majority of the White vote was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In California, a district will likely be Republican if more than 65% of it is White. So these voters are a group of their own. The district hugs the coast from the Oregon border to the Golden Gate bridge, taking in every hippie, wine drinker, and progressive it can devour.

Of course no district that is this White will be devoid of Republicans. Jerry Brown won here 64%-30%. The district voted for the Democrat in 2010 congressional races 69%-31%. The June 5 race is devoid of any 3rd party (e.g. Green, Libertarian) candidates, but it does have two minor independent candidates who shouldn't get more than 2% each. If that. So it's likely Democrats will get somewhere in the mid to high 60's in votes and Republicans will get in the high 20's or low 30's.

First, let's look at the Republicans. As I noted earlier, Jared Huffman has a poll that puts the race as 45% of the votes going to Democrats and 10% going to Republicans. People who usually vote Republican will continue to do so. They voted for John McCain, Mimi Walters for Treasurer, and for all the Republicans that ran against Lynn Woolsey and Mike Thompson. They won't stop now.

Republican Dan Roberts has two enormous advantages over Mike Halliwell. He has money and the backing of the Republican Party. While Halliwell won't be able to get his name out there, Roberts certainly will. He'll likely make a lot of phone calls and knock on a lot of doors. And when the Republicans in the district are getting ready to vote there'll be a mailer from the California Republican Party in every mailbox. Dan Roberts' name and picture will be right at the top. The first time they'll see "Mike Halliwell" is when they look at their ballot.

Roberts will get a minimum of 25% of the vote, if not 30%. Like Democrat Jim Reed in CA-1, not only will he finish top two, but he has a decent chance to finish first.

There are 8 Democrats in this race, four of whom are significant. State assemblyman Jared Huffman is selling himself as the leader and I see no reason to contradict that. He's racked up a lot of endorsements and had $444,000 cash on hand on December 31. It's likely higher. Most of this district is in the expensive San Francisco TV market, although the northern part is in the cheap Eureka market. I'd expect Eureka to be drowned with ads, not just because of its size, but because none of the candidates hail from the area. And you will hear plenty of radio too.

Stacey Lawson is a largely unknown businesswoman. She's raised a formidable amount of money and was second in Huffman's poll.

Norman Solomon is a liberal activist who describes himself as the Occupy candidate has a ton of progressive support. If progressives can't get Solomon elected here, I don't know where they will win a contested primary.

Susan Adams is a Marin County supervisor, which likely makes her familiar to many voters and should make her a contender.

While this should be an interesting race to watch, I think both Huffman and Adams will finish with 25-30% of the vote each, outpacing Solomon easily. Huffman just has too much firepower and support, while Roberts benefits simply by having an R next to his name.

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