Saturday, November 26, 2016

CA GOP Chairman Jim Brulte Thinks Something Funny Is Going On

Jim Brulte, the California GOP chairman, sees something suspicious with unusually high turnout somewhere in Orange County. Since Brulte is only going to be concerned in a district where Republicans stand to lose a seat, it's likely that he's talking about SD-29. This is Bob Huff's district right now, but he's termed out. Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang led the race by 3,923 at the end of election night. On November 16 that lead was 5,051. When additional ballots were counted on Friday, November 18, Chang's lead dropped to 187. Democrat Josh Newman then took the lead in the next count by 829 votes and is now up by 1,650.

I've been tracking the counts in 55 congressional, senate, and assembly districts and Democrats have done better in 39 of them. While Democrats often do better in post-election night counts, it's not universal. Newman had 49.1% of the vote on election night and has gotten 52.8% since then. That shift is the 7th largest in favor of the Democrats in the post-election counting. In the other cases, however, the counting has consistently been in favor of one party or the other. A reversal like this one if fairly unique.

Orange County doesn't list turnout by precinct until the results are certified. The Orange County portion of SD-29 is up by 10%. This might come heavily from some precincts which are up 30%. The smallest Orange County does go is by AD. Here are the AD vote increases:

AD-55: +7%
AD-65: +7%
AD-68: +2%
AD-69: +19%
AD-72: +15%
AD-73: even
AD-74: -2%

This turnout does look a bit odd, but I don't know if such a disparity is unusual. It's work noting that AD-69 and 72 have the largest turnout increases and I don't think any portion of either is in SD-29. I think all of the Orange County portion of SD-29 is in AD-55 and 65. While SD-29 is as large as two assembly districts, some of the state senate district is in San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. So the portions of SD-55 and 65 that are in SD-29 might be up more than the portions that aren't. Brulte likely has precinct level data and, I assume, he can tell if there were certain precincts that were giving Newman 48% before November 18 and 58% after it.

There's intrigue here but until there's more information all we can do is speculate.

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