Monday, August 4, 2014

CA-25: Strickland wins Palmdale candidate forum

Some people complain about certain aspects of Top Two. One complaint is that when one party finishes 1-2 the other party voters can’t vote for the candidate of their choice. One party finishing 1-2 happened a number of times in 2012 and 2014. One thing that every district, except one, had in common was that it was safe for that party. In the past, that party would’ve chosen their nominee in a closed primary and that candidate would’ve won the general election. So the voter would’ve been able to vote for the candidate of their choice. Instead they get a chance to actually choose who their congressman will be. In several of these elections, they were pivotal.

And they will be pivotal in the CA-25 election between Republicans Steve Knight and Tony Strickland. I will disclose that I volunteered for Tony Strickland in 2012 and was paid to work for the Ventura County Republican party in the primary. I clearly have a dog in the fight, but truthfully I’ll be fine no matter which Republican wins. Both would make fine congressmen.

The Democratic Club of the High Desert had a Palmdale candidates forum and both Strickland and Knight attended. From the article it sounds like the two candidates tried to make a case for why Democrats should vote for them without abandoning their beliefs. That’s smart. I hope they both learned something that’ll help them navigate the unusual election.

The article said that there were “just as many Republicans there as Democrats, with a fair number of non-aligned voters as well.” I know that Strickland didn’t try to fill the audience with his supporters because I never got an invitation from the campaign to come. There was a straw poll and Strickland won that 52-51. This is good news for Strickland on two fronts. First, people have speculated that Strickland won’t be able to win over Democrats, because of his conservative stances. We don’t know how many Democrats he won over, but if Knight did very well with Democrats, then he did poorly with Republicans.

The more important part is where the forum was held, Palmdale. The Antelope Valley is Knight country and he is from Palmdale. Strickland is from Ventura county, which is pretty far from Palmdale. Strickland’s primary strategy was to run up the vote totals in Ventura County, hold his own in Santa Clarita, and hope that he didn’t get too beat up in the Antelope Valley. He did run up the total in Ventura and held his own elsewhere. I don’t have precinct results, so I can’t break it down. Tony Strickland doesn’t need to win precincts in the Antelope Valley to win the election. It’s only a straw poll of people who are interested enough to attend a Friday afternoon candidate forum, but the result has to be encouraging for Strickland.

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