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AD-72: What Will Edgar & Allen Do in Their All-Republican November Matchup?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 11, 2012

This week, I’ll be doing a series analyzing OC’s multi-candidate Assembly races that have now narrowed down to two. Our opener is the surprise in AD-72.

Conventional wisdom held that if any OC district was going to feature an intraparty battle in November (courtesy of Prop 14), it was going to be the Republicans in AD-74 between Allan Mansoor and Leslie Daigle or the Democrats in AD-69 between Tom Daly and either Julio Perez or Michele Martinez.

Lo and behold, AD-72 came out of nowhere with an all-Republican November matchup between Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar and Huntington Beach Businessman Travis Allen.

Troy Edgar & Travis Allen

AD-72 Matchup: Mayor Troy Edgar (R-Los Alamitos) vs. Businessman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

Conventional wisdom held that the Republican vote would split three ways between Edgar, Allen, and OC Board of Education Member Long Pham, while Joe Dovinh would hold most of the Democrats, with a small number of votes going to Democrat Albert Ayala.

Most people (myself included) predicted an Edgar vs. Dovinh matchup in November, a few predicted Allen vs. Dovinh, even fewer predicted Pham vs. Dovinh, but did anyone predict Edgar vs. Allen?

How did this happen?  Edgar was weaker than expected allowing Allen and Pham to eat up more Republican votes while Ayala was stronger than expected eating up much of Dovinh’s votes from Democrats.

This race was incredibly evenly divided.  First place was quite low at 28.2% and last place rose up to 13.6%.  Second, third, and fourth place were 0.5% apart.

Troy Edgar 17,594 28.2%
Travis Allen 12,300 19.7%
Joe Dovinh 12,055 19.3%
Long Pham 11,959 19.2%
Albert Ayala 8,492 13.6%

(Some readers may be wondering if Dovinh or Pham could still catch Allen with the remaining uncounted ballots.   There just aren’t enough out there. 62,400 out of the 409,824 ballots counted in Orange County so far cast votes in AD-72, which equals 15.2% of the votes.  There are 17,125 uncounted ballots remaining in Orange County, which leaves approximately 2,603 votes remaining in AD-72.  To make up the current 245-vote deficit, Dovinh would need to be ahead of Allen by 9.4%.  Dovinh never led Allen by more than 5.2%.  To make up his current 341-vote deficit, Pham would need to be ahead of Allen by 13.1% and also be 3.7% ahead of Dovinh.  Pham never led Allen by more than 5.5%.  Now, of that 17,125 uncounted ballots, there are 15,642 provisionals, which do tend to favor Democrats; presumably, 2,378 of those provisionals cast votes in the AD-72 race, but provisionals have a higher invalidity rate than other ballots.  Note also that Albert Ayala is still there sucking up a good chunk of votes that would otherwise go to Dovinh.)

The Edgar and Allen camps now face an interesting quandary: tack left, tack right, or try to do both.  During the primary, Edgar and Allen both tried to run right, each proclaiming he was the real conservative and the other was closet liberal.

Both Edgar and Allen have interesting partisan histories.  Edgar was a registered Democrat until switching his registration to Republican the same week that he filed to run for office for the first time when he did so in his successful bid for Los Alamitos City Council.  Allen has donated large sums of money to Democrats, as reported by Jon Fleischman over at FlashReport.

If they run right, Edgar and Allen can each undercut each other’s bases and grab Pham’s supporters.   If they run left, they can pick up Dovinh and Ayala’s supporters.  Will Edgar and Allen both run right?  Will they both run left?  Will one run right while the other runs left?  Will they attempt to be all things to all people, running right in mail to Republicans, running left in mail to Democrats, and proclaiming their independent/bipartisan/maverick qualities in mail to No Party Preference voters?

In the primary, both men were willing to dip into their personal funds to finance their campaigns.  Edgar dropped $100,000 while Allen dropped $95,500.  (By the way, Pham dropped $100,000 while Dovinh only dropped $1,000.)  Many people will note that candidates often loan their campaigns money to make their warchests look bigger than they actually are.  Well, not in AD-72!  The largest remaining warchest is less than $25,000.  Edgar, Allen, and Pham all spent the bulk of the money they dumped in their campaigns.  To recoup that money, they’re going to have to raise it.

Edgar and Allen will need to spend the summer raising more money or else be willing to dip into their personal fortunes again.  Either way, this should be an interesting November in AD-72, as Democrats laugh at Republican money being spent against Republicans.

(For our more literature-oriented readers, I will note in the race between Troy Edgar and Travis Allen, Marilynn Poe has endorsed her Council colleague, Edgar.)

5 Responses to “AD-72: What Will Edgar & Allen Do in Their All-Republican November Matchup?”

  1. Greg Diamond said

    Wrong, Chris. I’ve run the numbers in my latest Orange Juice post (I won’t link to it, as a courtesy, but you may if you wish), and your better question may be “what will Edgar and Pham do in their all Republican matchup?”, although Dovinh still stays ahead of Pham unless there are about 1700 more votes.

    Your fallacy is that you presume that the number of remaining votes are evenly divided among the districts. From what I saw today while monitoring the vote, they are definitively not. The lion’s share of the provisionals seemed to be in AD-69 and AD-72 — and the lion’s share of the ones in AD-72 appeared to have Vietnamese surnames.

    There are plenty enough ballots left to change the outcome — and any of the three could win. In one analysis I ran, estimating about 1700 provisional ballots left to count, all three end up separated by single digits!

  2. […] But there aren’t all that many votes being counted now.  Earlier today OC Politico’s Chris Nguyen stated that there aren’t enough uncounted ballots for Dovihn to catch Allen in an interesting analysis of the upcoming Edgar vs. Allen race. […]

    • Ray said

      If the Percentages of provisional ballots matches the regular ballots there should be around 1,900 ballots left in the 72nd Race. If Greg’s numbers hold up it is still a 3 way race for second.

  3. Danny said

    … for all of Greg’s expert prognostication – Allen still went up again today… to hold a 279 vote lead.

    • Greg Diamond said

      The numbers are what they are. The most important think that I don’t know is how many ballot challenges — and more to the point, how many specious ballot challenges — there were today.

      Looking just at AD-72: In Monday’s report, Dovinh+Pham combined outpolled Allen 156 to 47. In Tuesday’s report, Dovinh+Pham outpolled Allen just 253 to 179 — in what would be expected to be a more positive sample for the Vietnamese duo. How is that possible?

      It could be that there was a very pro-Vietnamese, anti-Allen, batch that I didn’t know about in the Monday results. (“Damaged ballots,” for example? Could be — but why would they have such a skewed result?) It could be that the ballots were not at all randomly distributed across the days — as you might get with a poorly shuffled deck of cards — so that predicting Day 2 from Day 1 doesn’t work.

      Or … it could be that people with the Allen campaign were there were challenging every last provisional ballot with a Vietnamese name on it, and that there should have been an additional 400 or more ballots (almost all of them for Dovinh and Pham) included in today’s totals that will instead have to wait for one-by-one adjudication of their vote. (This is a stunt that Republicans pulled in the Minnesota Senate recall where Al Franken was elected in 2008. It didn’t ultimately change the results.)

      I don’t know if this happened; due to a flat tire, I wasn’t there today.

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