Monday, June 16, 2014

California Statewide Races

For the most part the Republican Party isn't bothering to contest the statewide races. They have reputable names running for Treasurer, LG, and Insurance Commissioner, but none are running a vigorous campaign. In fact, the state party recruited candidate for Attorney General, Phil Wyman, managed to finish third in the race behind fellow Republican Ronald Gold. I'm guessing the state party doesn't care that much as long as it's not birther Orly Taitz. All should lose by anywhere from 15-24 points.

There were two offices the state party did care about, Secretary of State and Controller. They didn't recruit for Secretary of State, but seemed happy with the one Republican who decided to run for office, Pete Peterson. Democrats beat Republicans in the Secretary of State race 51.7%-36.1%. That's a major disappointment. Former Republican and current NPP Dan Schnur's votes likely leaned more Republican than Democratic. I wouldn't add them to the Republican side. If you did, the GOP still would be 51.7%-45.3%. I don't think that's a difference Peterson will be able to make up. I think he'll be closer than the other candidates and lose by around 55%-45%.

The great Republican hope has been Ashley Swearengin, the young attractive female mayor of Fresno. She was recruited late. She did spend a few hundred thousand dollars, but nowhere near the amount spent by Assembly Speaker John Perez. Swearengin's performance outside the Central Valley was disappointing. She got beat by David Evans, a candidate who didn't spend money, in many counties. So she'll have to work a bit to consolidate the Republican vote. Overall, the vote is 48.4%-46.0%. Losing the popular vote wasn't entirely unexpected and Steve Cooley lost it by a similar percentage four years ago in the Attorney General race. To win, Swearengin will have to improve on the Republican primary performance more than Cooley did then. It's an uphill battle and she's a definite underdog. Her preferred opponent is likely Betty Yee. Yee is strong in the Bay area, somewhere Republicans will do poorly no matter what. John Perez is from Southern California, an area Swearengin will rely on for votes. Perez has also shown himself to be a better fundraiser than Yee. Swearengin will have to hope the GOP pours a lot of money into this race and Democrats don't pour a lot in. I wouldn't bet on Democrats doing that, however, and I think she'll lose something like 53%-47%.

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