Thursday, September 18, 2014

CA-25: Knight gets further backlash over Donnelly endorsement

[Note: I supported Tony Strickland in the CA-25 primary and anticipate supporting him in the general election]

The backlash against Republican state senator Steve Knight over the endorsement of former gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly went up a notch today. Lee Rogers, the top Democratic candidate in June's primary, withdrew his endorsement and is now urging Democrats to leave the ballot blank. Rogers isn't really well known in the district, but he became notable in the 2012 election due to his stronger than expected performance. So he raised some money this time and I'm guessing he does have an email list. Still I wonder how much his endorsement withdrawal matters. I don't think he's going to be the only Democrat withdrawing his support.

Knight's opponent, Tony Strickland, has developed a strong reputation as a conservative. Enough activist Democrats dislike Strickland and looked to Knight as the less conservative alternative. Knight's views just weren't as well known, but he's always been regarded as a conservative. Based on 2012 Top Two elections between two same party candidates I'd anticipate around 30% of Democrats would leave the ballot blank. While this race could be higher, there still will be a lot of Democratic votes simply because a lot of people don't know they can leave one race on a ballot blank or just won't do that. So Knight and Strickland will continue to vie for Democrats, but still want to get Republicans and independents. It's a tough balancing act.

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