Tuesday, April 1, 2014

California Possible Top Two Clusterplucks

After the competitive CA-31 primary in 2012 ended with 2 Republicans in top two, people are curious if it can happen again. Now that the candidates are final, we can look at districts that should be competitive or even safe for one party but the other party gets both spots in top two.

SD-28 - Just so you don't think it's only possible for Democrats to get screwed, I'm starting with a Republican district. And it's not a Republican leaning district. It's a safe one. Since the district wasn't up in 2012, it's difficult to have an idea how the June vote will break down by party. Based on districts where Dianne Feinstein got a similar percentage of the November vote I'm anticipating this district to break down around 63% Republican and 37% Democratic in June. There are two Democrats, both of whom are unknown and neither of whom have raised any money. If that continues to be the case, and they don't get a party endorsement, they'll likely end up with similar vote shares. That could be 22%-15% or 19%-18%.

Republicans look like they have three strong candidates, all of whom have been elected to public office and each has raised a similar amount of money. There's an additional Republican. He has no website, is unknown, and hasn't reported any fundraising. In similar circumstances, a candidate like this would get around 2-5%. If the three Republicans split 60%, then at least one is going to make top two. If Carns, however, turns out to be a legitimate candidate, then there's a chance the top Republican in the race gets less than 18%. Of course, I could be wrong on vote share. If Democrats split a higher percentage, 40-42%, that reduces the share for Republicans. I think this district is a long shot for 2 Democrats to finish top two, but it's possible.

CA-24 - This district is on the edge of competitiveness. Incumbent Democrat Lois Capps won the district 55%-45% in 2012 and is facing lighter competition. She has two Democrats challenging her, one of whom, Paul Coyne, should get more votes than the other. I put him around 10% of the vote. There are 5 Republicans running. If they split the vote evenly, the top vote getter would get around 10%. If Coyne were more effective than I expect and got 15%, there could be an issue. One Republican, Justin Fareed, has over $100k cash on hand, while the other four have under $25k combined. I expect Fareed to top 20%, so a 2 Democrats in the top is a long shot.

CA-25 - This district is the reverse of CA-24. Republicans are heavily favored and it's a long shot for Democrats. Republicans won the district in 2012 70%-30%. That's a lot more Republican than the district should go, but it provides a benchmark. This time there are 4 Republicans in the race, two of whom are significant candidates, two Democrats, a Libertarian, and an NPP. Lee Rogers figures to be the top Democratic vote getter, but Even Thomas should take a decent share of Democratic votes. If Republicans Tony Strickland and Steve Knight get most of the Republican votes, and are close to one another in vote share, a Republican top two is possible. It'd put it at 30-40%.

CA-31 - Having three Republicans to go along with four Democrats makes a Republican top two less likely this time. One of those Republicans, Ryan Downing, appears like he'll be a candidate who gets a nominal share of the vote. That could make it more likely that the two more serious candidates, Paul Chabot and Lesli Gooch, both finish with at least 20-22% of the vote. as I've previously discussed this year's Democratic field looks more formidable than the 2012 field. That makes it more likely they'll split the vote. I think the top Democrat will be around 20-22%. So I'd give this district a similar 30-40% chance two Republicans finish top two.

CA-33 - In 2012 we had a district, CA-8, with 10 Republicans and one former Republican running as an NPP. No Republican got more than 16% of the vote in this district. None got less than 0.9%. There are definitely 2-3 Democrats who stand head and shoulders above the others here, but the bottom 7 Democrats should get at least 9% of the vote combined. And a big difference between this district and CA-8 is that Republicans got 72.6% of the vote there in 2012 and Democrats got only 52.2% here. There's also a Libertarian, a Green, and an NPP who is drawing significant left wing support. There are too many moving parts to make a good prediction at this point, but it's not hard to see the top Democrat topping out at 15%. If that happens, it's possible that two Republicans exceed that percentage. It's also possible none do. Or the NPP, Marianne Williamson, could face off against either a Republican or Democrat in November.

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