Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Andy Vidak has officially not won CA SD16

He finished with 49.82%. How can a Republican win a district where Democrats are D+22% in registration? Look at the turn-out in the Republican leaning counties of Kings and Tulare. Also, the VBM was a very high percentage of the vote. Republicans are far more likely to vote by mail and you are more likely to have a higher percentage of those in the spring and summer. So now Vidak needs just a few more votes in the run-off.

Oh yeah. Charles Munger Jr. has given the Fresno County Republican Central Committee $150,000. I wonder if the two are related.

CA-31 Fun

I'm very fortunate to have such a fun congressional district so close to me! Former rep. Joe Baca has been under a lot of fire in his race to return to congress. At first he was going to seek a rematch with his rival rep. Gloria Negrete-McLeod in CA-35. This made Democrats upset since all they'd do is suck money and volunteers into a race that a Democrat would win either way. Joe Baca ran against her last time, instead of running in CA-31, which contained more of his old district and was where he lived.

So this time he decided to be a good soldier and run in CA-31. Is everyone happy? Nope. In the interim the DCCC recruited Redlands mayor Pete Aguilar. Joe knew Aguilar was running, but who would you rather have, and experienced congressman who knows how to win elections or the guy who had the ignominy of not making top two in 2012? Apparently, the DCCC made their decision and so did 12 California Democratic congressmen.

Undaunted, Joe Baca released his endorsement list, a pretty long one. Then House Assistant Minority Leader claimed he never endorsed Baca. What? Joe responded with "you sure did." Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., noticed her name on the list and decided she didn't endorse Joe either. So what's Joe gonna do now? He's releasing the actual paper these congressmen signed. See? You endorsed me! What's next? Are these guys going to say they thought they were just ordering dinner?


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Andy Vidak Has (Unofficially) Not Won

Kings county finished counting their ballots and only had 139 remaining. So they only added 1% to their election day total, while the other counties added 14-17%. That's very strange and I have no explanation why Kings would deviate so far from the other three counties.

Kern also finished the few remaining ballots. There are 170 ballots left in Tulare but they are provisional. Even if Vidak got all of them he's also need a majority of the few remaining Fresno county ballots. He'll finish at 49.8%-49.9%.So we have a run-off.

I've said for a long time that candidates shouldn't concede if there's any possibility they could win. Perez conceded anyway. I assume she's changed her mind now.

The electorate shouldn't be more favorable to Perez than the previous one, as this will still be a spring-summer electorate and those electorate heavily favor Republicans. Perez can't expect all the votes that the minor candidates got. They were Democrats or left leaning but people vote third party sometimes so not to vote for the main candidates. She's hurt if some of those people stay home. I hesitate to overestimate Vidak's chances since this is a district with a big Democratic registration advantage that Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, and Michael Rubio won big. That said, we shouldn't forget there's a lot of overlap between this district and Republican David Valadao's congressional district. So it's not a one time freak occurrence.

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Results For CA SD-16 May Mean Vidak Didn't Win

The California Secretary of State came out with an updated vote count for the CA SD-16 special election showing Andy Vidak dropping to 49.8% of the vote. Anthony York seized on it in a Tweet. The Bakersfield Californian wrote a story. If Vidak is indeed below 50%, there will be a run-off. He'd be less likely to get 50% then, although the electorate for that election would also be a low turn-out primary electorate that favors Republicans.

How did this happen?

Well, everything isn't quite what it appears to be. The Secretary of State only added ballots for Fresno and Kern counties, Vidak's two worst counties. Vidak got 37% in Kern and 44% in Fresno on election night. He had a sharp drop in these results, getting only 25% and 30%. That's a huge drop. Drops like that always make Republicans suspicious. These two counties added 14% and 16% more ballots.

Tulare had an update also, but it wasn't included on the SoS website. He had a drop here too, from 61% to 51%. Anything above 50% is good for Vidak, but 51% isn't going to make up for the big drops in the other counties, especially in the smallest county. Tulare had 17% more ballots. Tulare reports only an additional 170 ballots, all provisional. So they likely aren't all valid. Neither Fresno nor Kern county give an indication if they have more votes to count. If they do have a fair amount, Vidak could be sunk.

He got 74% in Kings and got his most votes there. Since the other three counties had 14-17% additional votes, it's inconceivable that Kings county doesn't have a similar amount. If Kings even has another 1,500 votes and the others have a minimal amount, Vidak clears 50%.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Republicans Pull Off Upset in SD-16

CA SD-16 was a district where Michael Rubio won with 60.5% of the vote in 2010. While I don't have official numbers, Barack Obama got around 63% of the vote there in 2012. Yes, this was around a D+11 district. Yet last night Republican Andy Vidak pulled off the upset and beat Democrat Leticia Perez 52%-42%. Some people regarded it as a safe Democratic district when it became open. Even yesterday Around the Capital blogger Scott Lay was predicting Perez would get just under 50% of the vote.

There are virtually no places where Republicans win a D+11 district. So how'd this happen?

We should remember that the election was held in May, not November. In the past, we've seen that June primaries are a lot more Republican than November general elections. Last year the difference was 15.3%. So a 10% Vidak win in May might be a 5% loss in November.

This is the Central Valley. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Republicans do very well down ticket in the Central Valley. In fact, David Valadao actually won the overlapping CA-21 by more points in the general election than he did in the primary in 2012. Yes, while other Republicans lost 15% off their margin, Valadao actually increased his. Presidential numbers aren't very relevant when looking at the Central Valley. You're much better off looking at more local races. Of course, Michael Rubio did win big in 2010. That's evidence that with a good candidate Democrats can win in the Central Valley, but it's also true that Republicans didn't really challenge him hard there. Valadao was winning his assembly district with a similar 61%.

Vidak winning wasn't that much of a surprise, although getting over 50% certainly was. This won't really impact Democratic majorities in Sacramento. It only gives Republicans 12 senate seats. They need 14 to end the Democratic super majority. What'll, temporarily, end the Democratic super majority in the assembly is the impending resignation of Bob Blumenfield to take an LA City Council seat. Democrats will regain their super majority again after an upcoming special election but then may lose it again because Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell is expected to run for and win state senator and soon to be LA City Councilman Curren Price's senate seat.

What does this mean for the 2014 election? A lot really. After all, Democrats should do better in November 2014 than May 2013 when the electorate should be more than twice the size this one was. The new SD-14 that Vidak will run for is one where Obama in 08 and Barbara Boxer in 10 did 3.3% worse than this district. So Vidak doesn't have to be as strong to win there. Carly Fiorina won that district in 2010. In a mid-term non-Presidential year, any district Fiorina won is one where Republicans have a good shot of winning. Especially with an incumbent.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

LA Mayor: It's Gruel v. Garcetti

We are about to conclude a poor mayoral campaign with a low turn-out election. I can't think of a better capper. Wendy Gruel came out with a mailer a few weeks ago blasting Garcetti for getting the endorsement of 3rd place finisher Kevin James. James is a Republican and has been very critical of Barack Obama in the past and she emphasized that. Eric Garcetti, perhaps thinking he's gotten the Republican vote wrapped up, unearthed the Jan Perry primary attack on Wendy Gruel this weekend. She was a Republican until 1992 and he alleges that she support the "Pete Wilson supported Prop 187." She claims to oppose it. At least Garcetti was smart enough not to mail this allegation to Republican households.

The latest controversy has stemmed from a Gruel Hispanic PAC that claims Wendy Gruel would raise the LA city minimum wage to $15 an hour. The mayor can't actually do that him or herself and Gruel has denied she supports that. Garcetti is blasting her for this. This election has the maturity of 5 year olds on the playground.

I talked with a couple of Democratic friends about the election. Neither was enthusiastic. One told me he didn't like the candidates. I said that they both were good Democrats like him. He replied, "That doesn't matter much with mayor. I want someone who can do the job and I don't think either of them can."

Monday, May 20, 2013

California Legislative Elections Tuesday

There is a special election in 80th Assembly district to replace Ben Hueso. Hueso won congessman Ron Vargas’ state senate seat earlier this year. This is a very Democratic district. Dianne Feinstein won 70% of the vote last November. Because of that, no Republican is running. Two Democrats are. So that won’t change the composition in the legislature.

There’s a special election in the agricultural 16th senate district to replace Democrat Michael Rubio. California’s jungle primary means everyone is running on one ballot. If one candidate gets 50%, there’s no run-off. If no one does, then there is.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, a Democrat, is the favorite, since Rubio won 60.5% of the vote here to win the seat in 2010. There are, however, two other Democrats and a Peace and Freedom candidate on the ballot. Perez is from Kern County, a smaller part of the district, while her two Democratic opponents are from the larger Fresno County.

These three candidates will get 7-14% of the vote, even if they don’t spend any money. That’s just the nature of the California voter.

Republicans are running businessman Andy Vidak. He made a strong losing campaign against congressman Jim Costa in 2010.

This is a Central Valley district that’s minority majority. Barack Obama has done very well here, but Democrats have a big drop-off down ticket. The district overlaps CA-21, which was won by a Republican and had the second lowest turn-out of any district last November. Turn-out will be even lower tomorrow and that should benefit Vidak. White voters here vote like they are from Georgia. Minority voters vote like they do elsewhere at the top of the ticket, but can be swayed down ticket. Vidak is a farmer and that may have strong appeal to Democratic farmworkers.

I expect a narrow Vidak “win,” with Perez taking the run-off, but there’s no polling and the area is so unpredictable that Vidak could get 50% tomorrow. Because of the presence of so many Democrats on the ballot, even a strong showing by Perez won’t result in her getting 50%.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Nooner Ratings

Scott Lay is a Democratic blogger who puts out the authoritative Nooner that's read by everyone in politics in California. He's come out with preliminary ratings for next year's races.

He has Republicans favored in 26 Assembly races and has 2 other swing seats. Republicans currently hold 25 seats and need 27 to deprive Democrats of their super majority. So the GOP should be able to pick up the 2 seats the party needs.

He has Republicans favored in 7 senate races, which would be a 1 seat pick-up. One of the seats he currently has as Lean Democratic has a Republican incumbent, while the other is the successor to the seat which is up for a special election. If Republicans win that seat, and Andy Vidak is an underdog, picking up 3 seats to end the 2/3 Democratic majority is possible.

He's optimistic on Republican congressional chances. He sees CA-7, 10, 24, 31, 36, and 52 all as swing seats, with CA-9, 26, 41, and 47 also in play. Some people here think I overestimate Republican chances, but I'm nowhere near as optimistic as he is on these seats. I could see CA-7, 10, 31, 36, and 52 as swing seats, although I favor the Democrat in CA-7, 31, and 36. Of the remainder, I'm only optimistic that CA-26 is in play.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Demographics is Destiny?

"Demographics is Destiny" is a popular mantra of the left when it comes to winning future elections. Their theory goes that the Democratic party dominates Black, Hispanic, and youth voters. Blacks and Hispanics are likely to become an increasingly large portion of the electorate and every year new voters turn 18, while older voters die. There are some holes in this theory and two articles suggest that this may not be so. Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House expressed his thoughts">expressed his thoughts, while the Washington Post looks at a census report.

According to the census bureau the 18-24 segment voting went from 49% to 41%. There was a smaller drop in 25-44. We can probably assume that some of that drop was the younger 25-29 group. The assumption that the Washington Post is making is that non-voters in this group would vote like the people that actually vote, but if they don't show up, they won't help Democrats. Of course, we don't know how they will vote, but we may have an idea of how they voted in 2008.

Obama got 66% of the 18-29 vote in 2008. If 49% of these people in 2008, then a group of 200 18-29 voters, would've voted for Obama 66 to 32. In 2012, Obama got 60% of the 18-29 vote. If 41% of these people voted, Obama would've gotten these voters 49 to 30. If this is the case, Romney didn't actually do better with the 18-29 segment. What happened was that 17 Obama voters stayed home and 2 McCain voters.

So the 60%-37% vote in 2012 wasn't good news for Republicans. They may have lost voters. It's just that it's really bad news for Democrats. Many of those 17 Obama voters will show up as they get older. As will some other 2008/2012 non-voters. I have no idea who they'll vote for, but I'd guess Democrats will have to earn their vote. The assumption that they'll automatically get it seems foolish.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CA-52: Poll has Carl DeMaio in the Lead

A couple of months ago I looked at the 2012 election and determined that Carl DeMaio would make a formidable challenger to incumbent CA-52 congressman Scott Peters. The National Republican Congressional Committee message tested DeMaio and found him leading Peters 49%-39% in a hypothetical match-up.

There are good reasons to be skeptical of DeMaio holding such a big lead. The poll was conducted by the NRCC. They gave out positive attributes for DeMaio and, I assume, not for Peters. That'll push DeMaio's numbers up. Yet while DeMaio is unlikely leading by 10%, he is likely fairly even with Peters, if not leading. You don't expect a non-scandal plagued sitting congressman to be trailing before the opponent is even in the race. Usually the challenger is closing the gap by campaigning and getting better known. So DeMaio would likely be a great candidate for the Republicans and Scott Peters should indeed be scared of his candidacy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

California Gubernatorial Race

The California Gubernatorial race has yet to swing into high gear, especially since the sitting governor, Jerry Brown, has yet to announce his re-election plans. Everyone expects him to run, but nothing starts until he makes his intention known. Republicans have a credible challenger in former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, but there's a difference between credible and winning. The Sacramento Bee looked at the race today. Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach has indicated he'll run, but he's not viewed as high profile enough to beat Maldonado.

Maldonado, of course, is reviled by some California Republicans. The article quotes Jon Fleischman and John W. Briscoe see a Maldonado candidacy as "Democrats light" and our "worst foot forward." These guys need to come to grips that there aren't enough conservatives in the state to win anything. Republicans are already irrelevant and won't become relevant by "sticking to our principles." Sorry. That might be a good strategy for national Republicans, but if becoming Democrats light will win us an election, I'm fine on Democrats light. Better to have someone in there Republicans agree with half the time rather than someone Republicans agree with 10% of the time.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nathan Fletcher is a Democrat

Nathan Fletcher was a Republican assemblyman from San Diego who ran for mayor last year as a Republican, then became NPP when it was clear Republican support was overwhelmingly behind Carl DeMaio. It didn't help him in the primary and he finished third.

Today he announced he has registered as Democrat. It's a curious move. Party switching is usually a loser move, because the party you switch to doesn't warm up to you due to your previous affiliation and your moderate positions. In California, the number of people registering with no party preference is increasing dramatically. With Prop. 14, there may be a future for independents here. So the only reason you take the risk of becoming a Democrat is if the San Diego Democratic party gave him a commitment of support for some elected office. Look for them to clear the field for a run.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

LA Mayoral Vote Decision

The Wendy Gruel campaign seems to be populated with people who don't know what they're doing. I got a mailer today from them bashing Eric Garcetti for taking Kevin James' endorsement. "He sold us out to win Republican votes." Hello? I'm a Republican. Does no one there have the good sense not to send Republican bashing literature to Republicans?

I've worked on campaigns. It's easy to generate a voter list by political party. She could've generated a mailing list of Democrats and only sent this to them.

I wasn't going to vote, but I'm now going Garcetti because 1) Gruel clearly doesn't want Republican votes 2) Her people are incompetent. I can't vote for someone who'd do something this stupid.