OC Political

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

Election Day in BOS-3: $1.2 Million+ in Spending Ends Today

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 12, 2019

Moments ago, the polls opened in the Third Supervisorial District, as voters decide who will fill the seat vacated by now-District Attorney Todd Spitzer for the remaining 22 months of his unexpired term.  In 51 weeks (i.e. 1 week short of a year), voters in the Third District will return to the polls for the primary election for the same seat for the next four-year term.

Ballots Received

While the polls close at 8 PM tonight, it is widely expected that vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots will comprise the overwhelming supermajority of the votes.  As of yesterday, 46,632 ballots had been received by the Registrar of Voters.  Of those, 5,466 arrived yesterday, and party breakdown on those ballots is not yet available.  Of the other 41,166 ballots that had arrived by Friday, 44.7% were from Republicans, 32.6% were from Democrats, 20.1% were from No Party Preference (NPP) voters, and the remaining 2.6% were from third party voters.

The 46,632 ballots received are 19.8% of the 236,026 vote-by-mail ballots issued by the Registrar.  That number will of course climb as more ballots arrive in the mail today at the Registrar’s office, additional vote-by-mail ballots are delivered directly to polling places, and still other vote-by-mail ballots are mailed today to arrive at the Registrar’s office by Friday’s receipt deadline under state law.

There are 341,809 registered voters in the Third District.  Those 46,632 vote-by-mail ballots received are 13.6% of registered voters, but of course that turnout number does not include any of the poll voters (myself included) who only began casting ballots moments ago nor does it include the various vote-by-mail ballots not yet received that I described above.

Campaign Spending

Over $1.2 million was spent in this election between the candidates, political parties, and independent expenditures, with over $500,000 in support of Loretta Sanchez (D), over $400,000 in support of Don Wagner (R), and over $100,000 in support of Kris Murray (R).  Additionally, more than $63,000 was spent attacking Wagner by the Orange County Employees Association, the County’s largest labor union, and over $54,000 was spent attacking Murray by multimillionaire Howard F. Ahmanson and his Fieldstead & Company.

Deborah Pauly (R) spent just over $10,000, and the other three candidates (Republicans Larry Bales, Kim-Thy “Katie” Bayliss, and Katherine Daigle) spent nothing.  There were no independent expenditures for or against Pauly, Bales, Bayliss, or Daigle.  Bayliss and Daigle’s campaigns seem to only exist on the ballot and in cyberspace, as neither candidate has spent any money, appeared at any candidate forums, or submitted a candidate statement for the sample ballot.

The campaign finance reports for the IEs are largely complete, but those for the candidates are only complete through February 23.  After February 23, the only information we have from the candidates are regarding contributions received totaling $1,000 or more.

Here’s the campaign finance chart for the candidate’s campaigns:

Candidate Contributions
Through 2/23
Loans Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures Cash on Hand
(COH)
COH
Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
and Loans
Through 2/23
$1,000+
Contributions
After 2/23
Don Wagner (R) $187,760 $100,000 $120,366 $232,279 $184,747 $64,381 ($35,619) $54,000
Loretta Sanchez (D) $193,846 $100,000 $0 $138,321 $256,652 $256,652 $156,652 $25,900
Kris Murray (R) $50,512 $52,000 $1,150 $97,797 $49,974 $48,824 ($3,176) $18,000
Deborah Pauly (R) $6,275 $10,500 $0 $10,269 $6,506 $6,506 ($3,994) $0
Katie Bayliss (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Katherine Daigle (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Larry Bales (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Here’s the chart of the independent expenditures (excluding spending by the Democratic Party of Orange County and the Republican Party of Orange County):

Independent Expenditure Pro-Sanchez Pro-Wagner Anti-Wagner Pro-Murray Anti-Murray
Orange County Employees Association $243,770 $0 $63,418 $0 $0
Orange County Attorneys Association $99,605 $0 $0 $0 $0
Engage OC $0 $55,300 $0 $0 $0
Howard F. Ahmanson / Fieldstead & Company $0 $0 $0 $0 $54,497
California Women’s Leadership Association $0 $0 $0 $31,037 $0

My father received an IE mailer from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, but I have been unable to find an IE report from the firefighters union on either the County Registrar of Voters’s web site or the Secretary of State’s web site.

Here are the member communications from the respective political parties:

  • Republican Party of Orange County: $133,317 (supporting Wagner and opposing Sanchez)
  • Democratic Party of Orange County: $45,122 (supporting Sanchez and opposing Wagner)

What That Spending Looked Like to Voters

Here’s a glimpse of what all that campaign activity looked like to two different houses in the Third District: my parents’ house and my house.

Phones

My parents received 6 phone calls from either Don Wagner’s campaign or the Republican Party of Orange County in support of Wagner.  My NPP father also received a robocall from Deborah Pauly that emphasized her support of Donald Trump.

Mail

My parents were kind enough to let me have all their mail from the special election, so the first picture is what it looked like when I spread all of their special election mail on my living room floor, and the second picture is all of my special election mail spread out on the same portion of my living room floor:

My Republican mother and NPP father received 32 pieces of mail for this special election from candidates and independent expenditures

I received 14 pieces of mail for this special election from candidates and independent expenditures

Comparing my mail as a Republican voter with the mail sent to my Republican mother (or to both my parents) finds fairly similar compositions.  The radical difference is the mail sent to my NPP father.  He received more pro-Sanchez mail than my mother or I received from all sides in this election.  While all pro-Sanchez forces pushed hard for my father’s vote, OCEA pushed the hardest, producing the majority of all the pro-Sanchez mail my father received.

None of the candidates’ campaigns directly attacked their opponents in the mail, with all the attacks either coordinated through the political parties or done separately by independent expenditures.

As an NPP voter, my father was rather annoyed at how the majority of the pieces addressed to him were overtly partisan.  Of the 28 pieces of mail addressed to either my father alone or to my father with my mother, a full 16 pieces praised the political party endorsements of the candidates: 9 pieces touting Sanchez’s Democratic Party endorsement and 7 pieces touting Wagner’s Republican Party endorsement.

For those of you who care about the details, here’s the breakdown of the mail in two Nguyen households…

The 14 pieces of mail I received at my home consisted of 5 pro-Wagner pieces, 2 more pieces supporting Wagner and opposing Sanchez, 1 pro-Sanchez piece, 3 pro-Murray pieces, and 3 anti-Murray pieces.  They were:

  • 3 pieces from Wagner’s campaign
  • 3 pieces from Murray’s campaign
  • 3 anti-Murray IEs from Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company
  • 4 member communications from the Republican Party of Orange County
    • 2 pro-Wagner
    • 2 pro-Wagner/anti-Sanchez
  • 1 pro-Sanchez IE from the Orange County Attorneys Association

Of the 32 pieces of mail my parents received at their house, 19 were addressed to my NPP father, 4 to my Republican mother, and 9 to both of them.

The 19 pieces of mail addressed solely to my NPP father consisted of 13 pro-Sanchez pieces, 2 pieces supporting Sanchez and attacking Wagner, 3 anti-Wagner pieces, and 1 anti-Murray piece.  They were:

  • 3 pieces from Sanchez’s campaign (2 in English, 1 in Vietnamese)
  • 11 IEs from the Orange County Employees Association
    • 6 pro-Sanchez
    • 3 anti-Wagner
    • 2 pro-Sanchez/anti-Wagner
  • 3 pro-Sanchez IEs from the Orange County Attorneys Association
  • 1 pro-Sanchez IE from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association
  • 1 anti-Murray IE from Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company

The 9 pieces addressed to both my parents consisted of 5 pro-Wagner pieces, 2 pieces supporting Wagner and attacking Sanchez, and 2 pro-Sanchez pieces.  They were:

  • 3 pieces from Wagner’s campaign
  • 4 member communications from the Republican Party of Orange County
    • 2 pro-Wagner
    • 2 pro-Wagner/anti-Sanchez
  • 1 piece from Sanchez’s campaign
  • 1 pro-Sanchez IE from the Orange County Attorneys Association

The 4 pieces addressed to my Republican mother consisted of 3 pro-Murray pieces and 1 anti-Murray piece.  They were:

  • 1 piece from Murray’s campaign
  • 2 pro-Murray IEs from the California Women’s Leadership Association
  • 1 anti-Murray IE from Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company

Results

The polls close at 8:00 PM, and the first results will be released online at 8:05 PM by the Registrar of Voters.  Those 8:05 PM results will consist of the vote-by-mail ballots already received by the Registrar.

When the count is completed (which will likely be next week) and certified, whoever gets the plurality of the votes will be sworn in as Supervisor two weeks from today, on Tuesday, March 26.

3 Responses to “Election Day in BOS-3: $1.2 Million+ in Spending Ends Today”

  1. […] of pieces of mail, funded by more than $1.2 million in combined campaign spending, blanketed 3rd Supervisor District voters for the past month. Voter contact was dominated by Wagner […]

  2. […] Day in BOS-3: $1.2 Million+ in Spending Ends Today ocpolitical.com/2019/03/12/ele… https://t.co/QAPfuaqULk […]

  3. […] Writing at OCPolitical.com on Tuesday, Chris furnished this analysis on the campaign messaging and tactics underlying the election result: […]

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