Saturday, March 15, 2014

CA-33 Primary Filing Analysis

California extends the primary filing by five days in all districts where an incumbent was eligible to run but fails to file. That five day period has passed and filing is closed for all California offices. Unfortunately, the state won't publish an official certified list until March 27. As I mentioned earlier, some counties publish complete information while others don't publish any. I'll take a look at the more competitive races and highlight a few others.

Since CA-33 is so involved, I'll give it, its own diary. I'm pretty good at analyzing top two, but this district is difficult to analyze. There could be 11 Democrats, 4 Republicans, and an odd assortment of Greens, Libertarians, and independents. This probably shouldn't be surprising. This coastal district is home to a lot of upscale politically active people. With Henry Waxman retiring, everyone sees an opportunity.

In 2012, Democrats got 52.2% of the vote to 39.9% for the Republican and right leaning independent. The Green and Libertarian combined for 7.8% of the vote in 2012 and there'll be one of each again. One might expect a similar breakdown to 2012, but NPP author Marianne Williamson adds a new dynamic. While Williamson seems to be running a far left populist campaign, her fame and ballot designation could mean she could take Republican votes. For the most part Democrats didn't take Republican votes in 2012 primaries, but there were a few exceptions. Notable was the Berman-Sherman match-up where both candidates spent a lot of money and sent out mailers to Republicans, while the Republicans spent little.

None of the four Republicans has any name recognition and it's unknown whether any of them will raise money. Chris David didn't in 2012 and ended up missing top two despite being the only Republican on the ballot. Even if the four Republicans get 40% of the vote, there's no guarantee any will get the 15% they might need to finish top two. I use 15%, but it might not be that high. The U.S. Senate race had a similarly large field in 2012 and the second place finisher was just north of 12%. It's still conceivable that Republicans could take both of the top two spots. Or they could take neither. Honestly, I can't tell you which is more likely.

There are 3 Democrats of note here, but we should keep in mind that almost everyone whose name was on the ballot in 2012, regardless of the field size, took at least 0.5%. In a 24 person field for U.S. Senate only two candidates got below that and they got 0.4% and 0.3%. So even if those eight Democrats do nothing to distinguish themselves they should take 4-6% of the vote.

State Senator Ted Lieu got the state party endorsement, but former city controller Wendy Greuel has more endorsements from elected officials. It's possible one could run away with it and top 20%, but I see 20% as pretty much the top Democrat's ceiling. Greuel and Lieu will both likely get between 15% and 20%. The third notable Democrat is former KCRW "Left Right and Center" host Matt Miller. Miller has occupied the center spot on the weekly political roundtable. Considering he has no money, no endorsements, and hasn't held elected office here, his familiarity is all he has in his column.

When she ran for LA mayor, Wendy Greuel sent me a mailer criticizing Eric Garcetti for getting Republican Kevin James' endorsement in the mayoral race. She tied James to a bunch of "extreme" Republicans and did so with Garcetti by association. Then her campaign had a volunteer call me with the message that Bill Clinton endorsed Greuel. When I asked the girl if that was the best way to convince a Republican to vote for Greuel, she hung up on me. I don't know if Wendy Greuel will go after Republican votes in the primary, but if she does that'll be the sort of campaign brilliance to her congressional race she won't win Republican votes.

Ted Lieu has geography going for him. He comes from the South Bay, not the progressive Westside. The South Bay is slightly Republican leaning, but is split fairly evenly. He could consolidate the Democratic vote and attempt to appeal to Republicans who don't want a congressman from the Westside.

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