OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

OC’s Best Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 2, 2018

Ballot designations are the only piece of information that appear directly on the ballot other than a candidate’s name (and sometimes, political party).

Yesterday was OC Political’s coverage about OC’s worst ballot designations.  Today, we’ll talk about OC’s best ballot designations.

As noted yesterday, “One of the most important things a candidate does in a California election may well be selecting a ballot designation. That short phrase below a candidate’s name is the very last piece of information that every voter sees before casting their ballots. Additionally in low-profile races, that short phrase could well be the only piece of information that voters see about a candidate before casting their ballots. California’s unique ballot designation system has even received coverage in the national press, such as this 2016 article in The Hill.”

Just a reminder, appearance on this list has nothing to do with whether the candidate is great or terrible, whether the campaign is well-run or poorly-run, whether the campaign is well-funded or underfunded, or whether I personally like the candidate or hate the candidate; it’s simply commentary on their ballot designation.

(Sadly, this post won’t be anywhere near as funny as yesterday’s post on OC’s worst ballot designations.)

Elected officials’ ballot designations are an inherent advantage, so this article excludes the designations of elected officials.  Even in the worst years of anti-incumbency, incumbency remains an inherent advantage.  Incumbents win 90% of the time typically, and even in anti-incumbent years, we still see 75% of incumbents re-elected.

Also as with the list of worst ballot designations, we will not be including statewide races, partly because Brenda Higgins and Craig Alexander have been beating the dead horse of the Governor’s race this morning on OC Political (and the past month) and partly because we didn’t include statewide races on the worst ballot designation list.  We are only covering County seats or State/Federal districts that include OC. Without further ado:

OC’s Ten Best Ballot Designations (for Non-Incumbents/Non-Elected Officials)

  1. Orange County Undersheriff (Don Barnes in the Sheriff’s race)
    It doesn’t get much better than this when you’re running for Sheriff.  This is as close to an incumbent ballot designation as it gets.
  2. Deputy Assessor (Richard B. Ramirez in the Assessor’s race)
    This is a great ballot designation when you’re running for Assessor.  Unfortunately, for Ramirez, there is someone with a much better ballot designation in the race: Orange County Assessor Claude Parrish.  (Parrish’s designation just wasn’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  3. University Dean/Professor (Lisa Sparks in the County Board of Education, Trustee Area 5)
    Everyone running for school board wants an education-related ballot designation.  However, “University Dean” is one of the most impressive ones available, showing both teaching and leadership experience at the highest levels of education.  The only better ones I’ve ever seen are “University President” (David Boyd when he first ran for County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2 in 2010) and iterations of Superintendent.
  4. Retired Fire Captain (Joe Kerr in the 4th Supervisorial District)
    Voters respect firefighters.  Fire Captain shows leadership experience.  Kerr’s tough battle is two of his opponents are mayors and two are councilmembers; it’s just their designations weren’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.
  5. Victims’ Rights Attorney (Brett Murdock in the District Attorney’s race)
    Voters have great sympathy victims and great respect for victims’ rights, and few offices are better-equipped to help victims than the District Attorney.  Unfortunately for Murdock, two of his opponents have better ballot designations: Orange County District Attorney and Orange County Supervisor/Attorney.  (Their designations just weren’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  6. FBI Advisor/Attorney (Omar Siddiqui in the 48th Congressional District)
    This one is intriguing.  In yesterday’s worst ballot designations, I wrote “Unless you’re running for Attorney General, Superior Court Judge, or District Attorney, there is no value in using attorney as your ballot designation: think about all the insulting things people say about attorneys. There are some modifiers that make great exceptions…” Well, FBI Advisor/Attorney is a great exception.  It makes Siddiqui look almost like a prosecutor, and voters love prosecutors.  (Though Siddiqui’s ballot designation is strong, his problem is how much better-funded his four opponents are, including the incumbent.)
  7. Fraud Investigator/Businessman (Russell Rene Lambert in the 46th Congressional District)
    This one is also intriguing.  A “Fraud Investigator” has a certain degree of expertise.  It lends itself well to a government reformer message.  Unfortunately, for Lambert, party registration is very slanted against him in his district for this partisan seat and the fact that there is someone with a much better ballot designation in the race: United States Congressmember Lou Correa.  (Correa’s designation just wasn’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  8. Orange County Business Owner (Scott Baugh in the 48th Congressional District and Greg Haskin in the 72nd Assembly District)
    This is a different spin on the usually strong ballot designation of Small Business Owner.  Adding “Orange County” makes it clear the candidate’s business is in Orange County, so they’re employing people locally.  The challenge for Republicans Baugh and Haskin is each of them are facing off against a Republican elected official: Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Councilman Tyler Diep; plus there are well-funded Democrats for both seats.  (Rohrabacher and Diep’s designations just weren’t eligible for this list since we are excluding the designations of elected officials.)
  9. Entrepreneur/Company President (Josh Lowenthal in the 72nd Assembly District)
    There’s some good advice going on in the 72nd Assembly District when two of the candidates make this list and a third was simply ineligible because we are excluding the designations of elected officials.  With Company President, FreeConferenceCall.com President Josh Lowenthal has conveyed to voters that he is not only a businessman but a rather successful one, and with the Entrepreneur portion, he’s showing he’s a self-made businessman.
  10. Technology CEO/Entrepreneur (Rachel Payne in the 48th Congressional District)
    See above.

2 Responses to “OC’s Best Ballot Designations, 2018 Primary Edition”

  1. Craig P. Alexander said

    Thank you Chris! Always great to get your take on these things!!!

  2. Janeane Bolton said

    I am curious to know why Russell Rene Lambert is nowhere to be found in the “Orange County Sample Ballot & Voter Information Guide”, nor “The Official Voter Information Guide”? I had to come online to find any information on this candidate!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s