OC Republicans Shoot Selves in Foot; OC Democrats’ Worst-Case Scenario Evaporates
Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 16, 2012
In a pre-Prop 14 world, it made absolute good sense to contest every single partisan race. Each qualified party was guaranteed exactly one candidate on the November ballot.
Prop 14 changed all that. The top two candidates, regardless of party and regardless of whether anyone breaks 50%, advance to the November ballot. If the top two candidates were members of the same party, presumably the more moderate candidate would win. If there were two Democrats, the less liberal one would win thanks to Republican voters. If there were two Republicans, the less conservative one would win thanks to Democratic voters. Furthermore, the party with two candidates facing off in November would then spend a fortune in an intraparty battle, freeing the excluded party to spend its human and financial resources elsewhere.
In Orange County:
- Republicans feared a November bloodbath in AD-74 between Allan Mansoor and Leslie Daigle, in which the less conservative candidate would win. In AD-74, Republicans comprise 42.5% of registered voters, Democrats 29.0%, and no party preference voters 23.7%.
- Democrats feard a November bloodbath in AD-69 between Tom Daly, Michele Martinez, Julio Perez, and Paco Barragan, in which the least liberal candidate would win. In AD-69, Democrats comprise 49.7% of registered voters, Republicans 27.5%, and no party preference voters 19.1%.
Conventional wisdom held:
- If no Democrat filed in AD-74, Democratic voters would back Republican Leslie Daigle over Republican Allan Mansoor in both June and November, as Daigle is less conservative than Mansoor. Republicans would squander valuable human and financial resources in an intraparty battle for AD-74, freeing Democrats to spend their resources elsewhere. However, if a Democrat were in the AD-74 race, presumably that person would be in the top two to face off against the winner of the Mansoor-Daigle fight.
- If no Republican filed in AD-69, Republican voters would back Democrat Tom Daly over the other three Democrats (Michele Martinez, Julio Perez, and Paco Barragan) in June, as Daly is the least liberal of the four; the Republican voters would continue to back Daly over whichever Democrat he faced in November, as Daly would still be the less liberal candidate. Democrats would squander valuable human and financial resources in an intraparty battle for AD-69, freeing Republicans to spend their resources elsewhere. However, if a Republican were in the AD-69 race, presumably that person would be in the top two to face off against the winner of the Daly-Martinez-Perez-Barragan fight.
For about half a week, many in OC, including yours truly, thought the Democrats’ worst nightmare had materialized: a Democrat in AD-74 and no Republican in AD-69, as Robert Rush joined the Democratic Party and entered the AD-74 race while Republican Robert Hammond withdrew from AD-69 to join the Orange County Board of Education race.
Well both party’s fears came to naught and we revert to status quo in November with likely one Democrat versus one Republican. As my intrepid fellow blog editor Chris Emami wrote, an obscure gentleman by the name of Jose Moreno (not to be confused with Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose Moreno) filed as the sole Republican in AD-69 with barely two minutes to spare.
Robert Rush (D-74) and Jose Moreno (R-69) could spend the next three months in Siberia, and both will still be in the top two in their June races by virtue of having “Democrat” and “Republican” after their names, respectively, allowing them to advance to November, where they will be summarily destroyed by their opponent.
(In case you’re wondering, Rush has a ballot designation of “Business Owner/Accountant” and will be second on the ballot after Daigle but before Mansoor while Moreno has a ballot designation of “Orange County Eligibility Technician” and will be third on the ballot after Daly and Martinez but before Barragan and Perez. Many voters will be left scratching their heads as to what an eligibility technician is, and if you’re one of them, here’s an explanation of what that is.)
Democrats won’t squander their resources on an intraparty AD-69 battle in November nor will Republicans squander their resources on an intraparty AD-74 battle in November. Both parties will revert to the old rules of spending their resources against each other in November.
Former Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte once said in reference to a San Francisco Mayoral race: “When you’re a conservative, and you’ve got a choice between a socialist and a communist, you back the socialist.” Democrat Robert Rush has enabled the most conservative candidate to win in AD-74, and Republican Jose Moreno just enabled the most liberal candidate to win in AD-69.