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%.

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