Monday, January 20, 2014

California Secretary of State

Republicans are an extreme long shot to win any statewide office in California and this year should be no different. Right now the GOP might not have a candidate for a number of offices. There's one office that might put everything into chaos due to top two. That's Secretary of State.

There are two top Democrats in the race, both state senators. There's a third Democrat, who is a Vice President with Common Cause. There's also a Green. There's one Republican, Pete Peterson, who is Executive Director of Pepperdine Davenport Institute and one NPP, Dan Schnur, Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. Schnur used to be a spokesman for Pete Wilson. As of now, there are no AI or Libertarian candidates.

There were three statewide offices that were contested on both sides in 2010, Governor, Attorney General, and Lieutenant Governor. Democrats got between 50.2% and 52.1% of the vote in the three. Yes, June primaries in California look like you're in a purple state. A Green candidate is going to get 2-3% of the vote in a statewide election. So it's likely that the vote will be split fairly evenly between the Democrats on one side and the Republican and NPP on the other.

One Democrat could really gain momentum and top 30% of the vote. That's what happened in the three contested Democratic primaries in 2010. It's also possible that Padilla and Yee, the state senators, could get 22% each, with the third Democrat getting 5%. After all, neither is well known far outside their districts.

Peterson and Schnur could split the remaining 48 of the vote. And there's no reason to think they won't split it fairly evenly. Like Yee and Padilla, neither have a very high profile and hold similar jobs to one another. The 2012 Senate race was the only statewide election with top two and that was a race with an extremely popular and well known incumbent. So there's no way of knowing how an NPP will be treated. Will Schnur get significant Republican votes and some left leaning votes or will the Republican votes go largely to the Republican candidate? NPP candidates were underwhelming in confessional races. Most notably, Linda Parks, a well known former Republican, didn't come close to top two. It's likely she lost a lot of Republican support by going NPP. So Schnur could split the 48% non-left leaning vote or Peterson could take much of it. If you're looking for a race where two non-Democrats finish top two, this could be it. We'll get a good idea after filing closes March 7.

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