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Some Last Thoughts on the SD-37 Special Primary Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 17, 2015

All the mail I got for the SD-37 special election.

All the mail I got for the SD-37 special election.

I really hope that I’m wrong about the election going to a run-off on May 19.  I hope whoever comes in first tonight, whether it is Don Wagner or John Moorlach, gets more than 50% of the vote.  A run-off would be bad for both candidates, their campaigns, and the voters.  The candidates and their campaign staffs would have their lives continue to be on hold for another two months, and the voters would be subject to another endless barrage of campaign mail and robocalls (not to mention the $1.974 million price tag to taxpayers for the run-off).

I imagine my aberrant voter behavior contributed to my voter contact level: I’m a poll voter who requested an absentee ballot on the first day you could request one, but then held on to it and surrendered it at the polling place to vote at the poll.

I personally received 11 robocalls, with 10 of them in the last week. The calls were from (in order of receipt):

  • Congressman Ed Royce for Wagner
  • Naz Namazi for herself
  • Supervisor Todd Spitzer for Wagner
  • John Moorlach for himself
  • Supervisor Andrew Do for Wagner (in Vietnamese)
  • Naz Namazi for herself
  • Mayor Tom Tait for Moorlach
  • Senator Janet Nguyen for Wagner (in Vietnamese)
  • Shawn Steel for Wagner
  • Ed Royce for Wagner

Additionally, I was even had a voicemail from Don Wagner personally phone banking.

Mailwise, I received:

  • 5 mailers from Wagner (1 positive in Vietnamese, 2 mostly-positive comparison pieces, and 2 mostly-negative comparison pieces)
  • 2 mailers from Moorlach (1 mostly-positive comparison piece and 1 mostly-negative comparison piece)
  • 3 IEs from AOCDS and the statewide law enforcement union (1 anti-Moorlach piece, 1 pro-Wagner piece, and 1 that was both)
  • 1 IE from the California Homeowners Association (a comparison piece)

The reason this race went so negative so fast is fundamentally, there are no real differences between Wagner and Moorlach.  They will compile virtually identical voting records in the Senate.  When there are no real policy differences, all you can do is go negative.  As Jon Fleischman of the Flash Report put it at the beginning of this election, “The conservatives have already won.”  The only real difference is one of style and priorities, but they’d vote the same, and Martin Wisckol’s piece in the OC Register was spot on.

Usually, when we say there’s no difference between the candidates, it’s a complaint.  In this election, it’s a compliment.  We’ll know the results in a few minutes, and hopefully somebody breaks 50%.

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