Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CA-17: Endorsements

In the battle for the CA-17 congressional seat, congressman Mike Honda has racked up endorsements from many congressional Democrats and other politicians like President Barack Obama. That's great. Ro Khanna has released a list of 100 Silicon Valley execs. Which is better? Khanna might argue that Honda is the candidate of Washington, a place everyone hates. Honda might argue that Khanna is the candidate of the rich, although I'm not sure how knocking the local liberal entrepreneurs will go over.

Georgia isn't Montana or North Dakota

Michelle Nunn, daughter of the late Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, has decided to enter the Georgia Senate race on the Democratic side. The media is acting like her entering the race changes things. Cook Political has moved the race to Lean Republican.

We should remember two things:

1. For all the Democratic red state victories and Republican failures, they've all occurred in states that have elected Democrats statewide in recent elections, mostly when there are several statewide Democrats still serving. The lone exception I can think of is Alaska, where Ted Stevens was convicted of a crime on the eve of the election.

2. Every Democrat elected in a red state has been either a current or former statewide officeholder or a sitting congressman. Nunn is neither. Yes, a better candidate would've won Missouri, but we shouldn't discount Claire McCaskill's role in winning.

Even though we all hear about Georgia turning blue, Republicans won all 9 statewide races in 2010 by at least 9 points. They haven't won a senate seat since 1996. Nunn certainly carries a famous name, but that's all she has.

Republican "problems" with women and young voters

Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report has jumped on the Republican "problems" bandwagon.
Will Republican problems from 2012 simply persist into 2014? Is it possible that the Republican brand remains damaged among minority, women, and self-described moderate voters, and that the strongest GOP contenders decline to run in key races (or if they do choose to run, that they still won’t win their primaries)?
If Charlie was reading this blog, maybe he wouldn't have written that. Romney won White 18-29 year olds 51%-44%. He won White women 56%-42%. House Republicans did 3.5% better than Romney, so the GOP won both of these groups by at least 10%. And this was in a year the GOP lost. 2010 was even better. The only reason Republicans appear to have a problem with these women and the youth vote is that they didn't win them by enough to counteract minority women and youth.

Republicans do have a problem with minority voters, but not with women or the youth vote.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Carl DeMaio for San Diego Mayor?

The ugly sexual harassment escapades of Bob Filner have, of course, led to speculation that he'll resign and what'd happen in a special election subsequently. Roll Call speculates Carl DeMaio, currently running for congress, could run. Coincidentally, Kevin McCarthy is in San Diego today for a fundraising luncheon for Carl DeMaio. What do you think they're talking about?

DeMaio could be faced with a choice, albeit an enticing one. He could quit his run for congress and run for mayor. SurveyUSA has him slaughtering all opponents except Nathan Fletcher, who he's running even with. Fletcher seems almost certain to run. So this could be a 50-50 thing. If he were to lose, then he could go back to the congressional race. The optics on doing that are awful and likely would lead to a loss.

Or he could remain in the congressional race, where previous polling has shown DeMaio will give Scott Peters a difficult race.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

California State Senate 2014 Updated

In January I took an early look at the California State Senate 2014 elections. As then, it appears that there are 26 Safe Democratic and 11 Safe Republican districts. The three important swing districts remain SD-12, 14, and 34. Republican incumbent Anthony Cannella will run for re-election, likely Yosemite Community College District Trustee Tom Hallinan. The district clearly favors a Democrat, although Carly Fiorina did edge Barbara Boxer here in 2010. Cannella's incumbency and Hallinan's political inexperience should even things out. The Central Valley favors the GOP down ballot, especially if they have strong experienced candidates and the Democrats do not.

In January it looked like Democrats would run incumbent Michael Rubio in SD-14. Now, Republican Andy Vidak will be the incumbent and the Democrats will be searching for a challenger. It could be Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in a rematch. It's hardly unusual for a candidate to lose a special election and run again in the next general election. Sometimes they do, in fact, win. Perez was considered the #1 DCCC recruit for CA-21 against Republican David Valadao. She may decide on that race.

The other view is that Perez lost a district where Barack Obama got 63% of the two party vote and the luster may be off the rose and both the California Democratic Party and DCCC may decide to go with other candidates. Democrats don't have an especially deep bench in the Central Valley. That's evident in their inability to field a quality opponent against Valadao in 2012 and no candidate committed to challenge him in 2014. Before Democrats convinced Perez to enter the race their best candidate was Fran Florez, who lost by 21% in 2010 in an assembly district Jerry Brown was winning.

Assemblyman Henry T. Perea would be a strong candidate, but he's said he'll run for re-election in his assembly district. He'll be turned out in 2016 and will then, assumably, challenge Valadao in CA-21 then. Another alternative could be first term Democratic assemblyman Rudy Salas, although Salas underperformed Barack Obama in 2012 by roughly 4%.

The other district which could swing is the one where Democrats would appear to be weakest, but also one where there's no Republican incumbent. Assemblyman Jim Silva, Former Assemblyman Van Tran, OC Board of Education member Long Pham, and Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen are all Republicans circling SD-34. Rancho Santiago CCD Trustee Jose Solorio and Garden Grove Planning Commissioner Joe DoVinh are the Democrats. As the 2012 CA-31 race should remind us, having four candidates from one party and two from the other can lead to the party with two candidates both making top two. I'd guess the GOP will do anything they can to discourage two of their candidates from remaining in the race.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

CA SD-16 Leticia Perez concedes

Leticia Perez conceded to Andy Vidak tonight. There were 1,522 Kern County ballots counted today and Leticia Perez took roughly two-thirds of them. While that sounds good, this was her best county, and she needed to take about 90% of the ballots here to have a shot. Maybe 95%. Heck, maybe all of them. She's behind by 5,352 votes and there are 6,523 ballots left in the two counties she won and roughly 1,200 left in the two she lost. So she'd have to get virtually every remaining vote in Kern and Fresno counties. Of course conceding was her most successful move last time. So maybe that's why she did it.

Andy Vidak will win CA SD-16 Election

Republican farmer Andy Vidak leads by 5,833 votes over Democrat Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez in California's 16th Senate District special election. The lead is 54.0%-46.0%. Vidak had just under 52% of the vote after election night in the May primary and managed to lose 2% to finish with 49.8%. Since a candidate needs to get 50%+1 to avoid a run-off in a special election primary, Vidak fell just short.

Based on press reports, there are 2,345 remaining ballots in Kern County and 185 in Kings as well as 5,700 in Fresno county. I don't know how many remain in Tulare County, but it could be around 600. Perez would need to take 83% of the remaining ballots to win if this is the case and that's virtually impossible unless she's filling them out herself. My analysis of the voting shows that her best case is a 51.9%-48.1% loss.

Some might hold up this win as meaning that Republicans can appeal to Hispanics. While there are some Hispanics voting GOP in this district, they largely stay home and don't vote. And these Hispanics are rural farmworkers. Hispanic are much more likely to live in urban areas and have little in common with the Central Valley.

Winning this race makes Vidak the incumbent for the 2014 SD-14 race under the new lines. That district is 3.3% more Republican. So Vidak would expect to do 6.6% better with the same electorate. Of course, the electorate should be more favorable to the Democrats. But they'll need a good candidate to beat Vidak and they haven't recruited that well in the Central Valley.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

CA SD-16 Election Today

Today is the run-off special election for California's 16th Senate district.

Democratic State Senator Michael Rubio retired earlier this year to work for Chevron and left this Central Valley seat open. On the surface it should be an easy seat for Democrats to hold. They have a 20% registration advantage in the district. That's similar to the advantage Democrats have in Congresswoman Anna Eschoo's district and Republicans don't bother there. The Central Valley is different. It's loaded with low turn-out migrant workers registered as Democrats. Some vote Republican down ballot, but most don't show up. Especially for a special election.

Hence, that's why Andy Vidak took 49.8% of the vote in the primary, almost winning the seat outright.

Today is the general election for the seat. Well, that's not exactly true. Seventy-six percent of the ballots in the primary were mail-in. If this election follows a similar pattern, then it's pretty much already decided. The Fresno Bee has the total VBM as of yesterday.

VBM compared to the primary is down in Fresno County, but up in Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties. Overall, this appears to mean the election could end up similar to the primary. If we take Vidak's overall percentage of the votes and apply it to the VBM in the primary we get 50.8% of the vote. Vidak got 1% less than that because the counties he did worst in, Kern and Fresno, had lower VBM than the two counties he did better in, Kings and Tulare.

If we assume Vidak gets the same percentage of the vote in each county in the general election, we get that he'll have 50.7% of the vote.

 photo Vidak_zps2cd3fbba.png

That's so close that Vidak projects to again get roughly 50% of the vote again today. This was a low turn-out election in May and is again. It may be decided based on who shows up at the polls today. Edit: I should also add is that this assumes that Vidak only gets Vidak voters and Perez gets all other voters. If some of the voters who voted for other candidates vote Vidak, he wins.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

California House Fundraising Update Part 2

CA-17 - In the last two elections, Mike Honda raised less than $900k in each. He's already at $567k. Ro Khanna has raised $1,066k and now has $1,745 cash on hand. This is going to be a bruising race. Honda is no Pete Stark, but he shouldn't underestimate the public's desire for someone new. Khanna will get his message out.

CA-21 - David Valadao has no Democratic opponent, so it's difficult to call $464k raised so far low.

CA-24 - Lois Capps doesn't have a Republican challenger yet, but she does have a Democratic challenger. Paul Coyne has raised only $31k and had $642 cash on hand at the end of the quarter. Capps has raised $456k and it's almost as if she has the same opponent as Valadao.

CA-25 - Buck McKeon's $209k in fundraising is low for someone running for re-election, which will certainly bring further retirement rumors. Lee Rogers did surprisingly well against McKeon in 2012, leading Democrats to get excited about possibly winning the seat in 2014. Rogers is running again, but he's raised $202. That's not $202k. It's $202. Rogers didn't raise a lot in the last cycle, but this is hardly the fundraising of someone who's actually trying.

CA-26 - Julia Brownley has raised $507k. Tony Strickland has raised $349k. Whether Strickland is actually challenging Brownley is unknown, but that depends on what McKeon does. If McKeon retires, others are expected to get into CA-25 and CA-26 races. None has so far and they haven't raised any money yet.

CA-31 - Gary Miller's fundraising this year is at $316k, most of which are from PACs friendly to Miller. If Miller want to win re-election, he'll have to pick up the fundraising. His chief Democratic rival Pete Aguilar isn't slacking off. He's already raised $302k. Fellow Democrat Eloise Gomez Reyes has raised $204k, although half of that has come from the candidate. Of course, if you just take her contributions from individuals, she still leads former congressman Joe Baca, who has only raised $56k. Baca isn't in office. What is he doing if he's not raising money? Finally, Democrat Danny Tillman has only raised $6.7k. While that doesn't sound like much, Renea Wickman raised only $27k the whole cycle in 2012 and she got 6% of the primary vote.

California House Fundraising Update Part I

The Q2 2013 House of Representatives candidate fundraising numbers are all out. Let me start by saying that while they make a big deal of these inside the Beltway I mostly just "ho-hum" at them. People are limited in what they can contribute. An individual is limited to $2,600 in donations to any candidate. So the candidate can get that amount at any time. If you get it now, you can't get more later. If you don't get it now, you can get it later. Last year Tony Strickland got into the CA-26 race in January and raised $318,000 in the first day. His opponent, Julia Brownley, didn't get in until later and she won. The fundraising numbers can still tell us a little bit about who the seriously candidates are.

CA-3 - Democratic congressman John Garamendi has raised $329k this year and his Republican challenger Dan Logue has raised $102k. That's a bad number for Garamendi and a good one for Logue. Wait. What? Garamendi is an incumbent and his number covers six months. That's a low number for an incumbent in a competitive district. Garamendi only has $124k cash on hand and carries $22k in debt. Logue announced his bid for congress on June 19. So while he was gearing up for a congressional bid for a while, he didn't start picking up campaign contributions until the last 10 days of the six month period. Topping $100k in ten days is pretty darn good. I don't have Logue's cash on hand, but it's probably close to Garamendi's cash on hand less debt.

CA-7 - First term Democratic congressman Ami Bera has raised $576k this year. He's been a fundraising powerhouse. Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken has raised $302k, but $250k of that is from Emken's personal funds. So her fundraising total is insignificant compared to Bera. Emken may have put so much money in her campaign account to discourage rivals Doug Ose and Igor Birman from getting into the race. There's likely to be a lot of Republican money spent in the primary before challenging Bera.

CA-10 - Democrat Michael Eggman will need to raise more than $118k to take on Republican congressman Jeff Denham. Denham, like Bera, is a prolific fundraiser and has raised $797k this year. Denham has $835k cash on hand, more than seven times what Eggman has.

CA-15 - If Ellen Corbett is going to challenge 1st term Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell, she'll need to raise more than $28k. So far, there's once again no Republican in the race. So Corbett likely will finish top two and make it to November regardless of the amount she's raised.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This Week in California CA-17, 31, and 41

Freshman congressman Mark Takano has done little to get noticed, but decided he would this week, grading a letter drafting by Republicans. It's quite arrogant to grade someone else's work when that isn't your job. Yes, this'll get him on MSNBC and people at dailykos will notice him, but treating your colleagues, elected same as you, with condescension and scorn does only helps sink the bill. From his remarks, his objective appears to be the opposite. Of course, Takano commits some of the same errors he accuses the authors of doing. He supplies his own hyperbole and opinions in response.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein endorsed Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar for CA-31. This isn't much of a surprise, since the establishment in Washington is behind Aguilar. Aguilar raised $300k in the 2nd quarter. Fellow Democrat Eloise Gomez Reyes raised $200k. No word yet on former Congressman Joe Baca, a Democratic rival, or Congressman Gary Miller, a Republican. Aguilar raising a decent chunk of money is nice, but his opponents have too. That's going to make it tough, especially when you consider he spent the second most money last year, but finished third.

Democrat Ro Khanna raised an astounding $1 million in Q2 in his bid to unseat fellow Democrat Mike Honda. Honda raised $345k, a good amount, but it pales in comparison to Khanna.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The White Voter

Sean Trende had a series of excellent articles that successfully poked holes in the conventional wisdom that Democratic success has been due to the minority vote and that if Republicans want to win in the future they'll have to pick up more minority votes.

Nate Cohn of The New Republic acknowledges the quality of Trende's analysis, but seeks to dispel the idea that Republicans can gain anything by doing better with White voters.

Cohn, inexplicably, compares 2000 to 2012. His chart shows that while Republicans have made gains with Whites in the South and Appalachia they haven't made gains at all elsewhere. Since Republicans are already winning those states, Democrats aren't losing White voters where it counts, the swing states.

The GOP did continue to make gains in Appalachia from 2008 to 2012, but the Southern gains were between 2000 and 2008. The exit poll in Alabama shows Obama went from 10% of the White vote in 2008 to 15% in 2012. Romney gained slightly among Whites in Virginia and Mississippi, but far below his national gains. There weren't exit polls in Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, or Texas, but Obama actually did better than 2008 in Louisiana and Mississippi and his drop in South Carolina and Alabama was smaller than his national drop.

The chart shows Obama gaining outside the South and Appalachia, but if he compared 2008 to 2012, as I did, he'd see that Obama lost a huge number of White voters in places like New Jersey and California. Obama won California Whites 52%-46% in 2008, but lost them 53%-45% in 2012. No, he's not in danger of losing California, but losing California Whites tells us that he's losing Whites all over the country. Romney gained big with Whites in Missouri, but failed to do so in Iowa. Is there a reason Iowa Whites are different than Whites just over the border? If not, the GOP may be able to make gains there once the Obama Iowa machine is gone.

Cohn's conclusion that if Republicans want to gain more White votes they need to be more moderate is pulled completely from nowhere. Most people think Republicans become more conservative between 2008 and 2012? Going more conservative appears to not have hurt the GOP this time and it may have helped. So why go more moderate in the future.I'm not suggesting that going more conservative is the answer for the future, as I'm only looking at elections and not recommending policy.

Romney, of course, beat McCain by less than 2 points. Congressional Republicans beat 2008 Republicans by 5 points. So if these are Romney's gains, congressional Republicans must've had bigger gains. And they are the ones who people think are too conservative.

CA-7: Conservative Activists Oppose Doug Ose

Is it a sign your blog is important when you receive an email also addressed to reporters at the Sac Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, and Jon Fleischmann? I got this yesterday, much to my surprise since I had no idea who Barry Pruett was.

Conservative activists are likely supporting former Tom McClintock COS Igor Birman.

Monday, July 8, 2013

CA-52: Carl DeMaio Raises $483,000

The Q2 2013 congressional fundraising numbers are starting to come out and CA-52 Republican candidate Carl DeMaio has released his total. It's an eye popping $483,000. This is a good haul for a full year in the odd numbered year before the even numbered election year. DeMaio has been running for a month. The top Republican challenger in Q1 raised just over $100,000. DeMaio likely is the top Republican challenger fundraiser and probably top five overall.

My sources told me that DeMaio was an incredible fundraiser, that he'd make some phone calls and be quite persuasive. They were right.

CA-31/45: Gary Miller Staying Put

I suppose California politics leads to all sorts of speculation but Republican congressman Gary Miller wasn't going to move to Orange County to run in CA-45. He confirmed it. Last year Miller had a choice to either run in a district against fellow incumbent Ed Royce or run in a nearby district, where he had a home, where no Republican was running. He chose the latter. If he ran in CA-45 this time, he also wouldn't be challenging a sitting Republican, but he'd be moving a lot further, into an area he has no ties, and he'd be abandoning a district the GOP wants to retain. He could still retire, but he isn't running elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Moorlach in CA-45

Jon Fleischman can remind any Republican in California that no matter how well connected with think we are, we're really not that well connected. Candidates call him. While I was emailing my Orange County contacts, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach was calling Fleischman to tell him that he'd "decided to explore a run for the 45th Congressional District seat."

Moorlach hasn't represented any part of this district in his entire time as supervisor. That isn't usually a big deal for voters, many of whom have no idea who their supervisor is.

Fleischman also links to a poll of the district race. The poll includes an option with Ed Royce, the congressman from a nearby district. Royce isn't running in this district. He's running in CA-39. He's already endorsed Mimi Walters in the race.

The polls show that Walters could do well, but the GOP has a lock on the district. The district does have a 16% Republican registration advantage. So that's understandable. And no, Gary Miller isn't running here, despite the rumors.

Republicans, LGBT, Carl DeMaio, and Gay Candidates

I've gotten some feedback on what I posted yesterday about Carl DeMaio, the LGBT community, and Republicans. I'm not talking about hardcore left wing progressives here. There are certainly many of them.I'm talking about college educated upper income business people who agree with DeMaio on many issues. They might favor less regulations, lower taxes, and be skeptical about global warming. You are far more likely to find people who agree with DeMaio and the Republicans on a majority of the issues in the gay community than in Black or Hispanic communities.

I'm not saying this is most or many of the LGBT community, only that these people are out there and voting Democratic. Some people present the gay community as monolithic left wing progressives.

I have no doubt that the barrier for entry for many in this group is that most Republicans don't support gay issues and the GOP isn't softening it's stance. So some in the LGBT community can safely see Republicans as the "Party of Hate."

It's not debatable that the GOP isn't going to suddenly be the party supporting gay issues. The questions I'm posing are 1) can gay Republicans who do support those issues draw gay voters who agree with them on many economic, social, and foreign policy issues and 2) whether the GOP can win voters with Republican inclinations in spite of these positions.

To this point the answers have been "no" on both. Can that be changed?

I want to add that Roll Call had this story today:

The headline and the first sentence including "most prominent openly gay House candidate" are just awful. Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy aren't supporting Carl DeMaio because he's a "gay Republican." They're supporting a Republican and his sexual orientation is irrelevant. I'm not questioning that DeMaio being gay is part of the campaign. Some may consider voting for him because he is and others might not vote for him because he is. DeMaio being gay isn't the entirety of the campaign. He's not going to win or lose because he's gay any more than Scott Peters will win or lose because he's straight. Yes, there's a gay Republican candidate out there. We know it. You know it. How about we don't make it the focus of every story about this race?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Carl DeMaio and the Gay Vote

Republicans have lamented that the biggest obstacle with Blacks, Latinos, and LGBT is that these groups think Republicans are a bunch of racist, homophobic, xenophobes who hate them. I generally agree with this sentiment, but caution that while removing this belief won’t win the GOP Black or Latino votes by themselves. People in these groups tend to be poorer and favor a bigger government. So while there are some in each that Republicans will likely get if this barrier is removed, the work for their votes will be much harder.

On the other hand, the LGBT vote should be easier. They tend to be more educated, have higher incomes, and more likely to be in the business community than Latinos or Blacks.

Other than gay issues, they have no natural tie to the Democratic party. Yes, gays have been more likely to favor the Democratic stance on the environment but I can’t, for the life of me, see why choosing another man for your life partner makes you more likely to believe in global warming.

I bring this up because openly gay Republican candidates seem to be becoming more common. Richard Tisei cam a whisker away from winning a congressional seat. Kevin James finished 3rd in the Los Angeles mayoral contest. Carl DeMaio, fresh off a narrow loss to Bob Filner for San Diego mayor, is running for congress in CA-52.

Arlon Jay Staggs argues in the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News that DeMaio shouldn’t be getting nearly the hate he’s getting from the gay community. In Staggs’ opinion DeMaio is okay on gay issues. If that’s the case, why should a college educated, upper income gay businessman have a problem with him? Because reflexively all Republicans are bad people. Thus, DeMaio must be also.

I’m sure many gays think they’ll be better off with Scott Peters than Carl DeMaio and I’m certainly not going to argue with anyone who believes that. But Republicans will almost certainly be in the majority in the next term, and probably for the next three after that. Wouldn’t it be nice for the LGBT community have someone who can get legislation passed than another person to sitting in their office doing nothing? Wouldn’t they be better off if more Republicans were like DeMaio and less like… well all the Republicans they think are homophobic? If they want to win over Republicans and get gay marriage passed in more states wouldn’t it be nice to have a lot of these voters to know and like gay politicians? To have gay politicians speaking at their events?

In the recent LA mayoral election I know some Republicans who had issues with Kevin James softening up his positions on a number of issues. None of those issues were LGBT issues. And many of those Republicans, who don’t support gay marriage, busted their butts to get James elected.

I don’t know nearly as many conservatives in San Diego but those that I do know talk effusively in their praise for DeMaio and will, likewise, be busting their butt for him next year.

So we’re faced with an interesting crossroads. Will some in the LGBT community look at DeMaio, see they agree with him on most issues, and still vote Democratic because DeMaio has an R next to his name or will they give DeMaio their vote? While Republicans aren't about to nominate scores of gay candidates, can DeMaio, James, and Tisei finally give them an opening into this elusive group?

SD-16 Vidak up in internal

California SD-16 Republican candidate Andy Vidak leads Democrat Leticia Perez by 4 points in his internal for their July 23 run-off. He leads by 11 with “high-interest voters." You'd expect him to lead in an internal, especially after winning the primary, but the "high-interest voters" is interesting. The GOP polled “high-interest voters" in 2012 and it gave them skewed results, as far more "low interest" voters showed up than they expected. This is a July election, however, in a very low turnout district. Democrats usually have trouble in summer elections in California. So Vidak could be headed for a win, even though Barack Obama won big here in 2012.