Yesterday afternoon, the newest winners of the California lottery were announced: Businessman John Webb, Businessman Pat Garcia, Businessman Ron Varaseth, Senator Mimi Walters, Assemblyman Chris Norby, Perennial candidate Christina Avalos, Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly, Businessman Travis Allen, Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, Newport Beach Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, Supervisor Janet Nguyen, former Supervisor/Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, Businesswoman Karla Downing, Central Committee Member Baron Night, Orange Councilman Jon Dumitru, Central Committee Member Gwen Dyrud, Central Committee Member Steve Nagel, San Clemente Planning Commissioner Nesa Anderson, and Office Clerk Jon Aiken.
No, these 19 people are not splitting a $200,000,000 jackpot. They won the Secretary of State’s candidate order lottery.
What’s the candidate order lottery, you ask?
Well, California law requires a lottery to determine the order of candidates on the ballot. Why does this law exist? Studies of the primacy effect showed the candidate at the top of the ballot gains as much as a 5% increase in votes. Consequently, in 1975, California legislators adopted a law mandating an end to the alphabetical listing of candidates (likely to the chagrin of Sam Aanestad and Dick Ackerman but the joy of Mary Young and Ed Zschau) and requiring a lottery before each election.
The Secretary of State’s candidate order lottery has determined the alphabet for the June primary to be UNADIVXWQGOZLTRKSJHMCBFPYE.
This applies to most races on the ballot, excluding races that cross county lines (for OC, these would be CD-38, CD-39, CD-47, CD-49, SD-29, and AD-55).
The primacy effect is weaker when there are fewer candidates on the ballot, and when there are higher-profile campaigns. Being at the top of the ballot is most valuable for low-profile campaigns with large numbers of candidates. That means that of the 19 people I listed above, the biggest winners in this lottery are the Central Committee candidates, so the biggest congratulations goes to the following Republican Central Committee Candidates for their 5% vote bonus:
- 55th District: Karla Downing, Small Business Owner (1st of 10 candidates)
- 65th District: Baron Night, Incumbent (1st of 11 candidates)
- 68th District: Jon Dumitru, City Councilman (1st of 18 candidates)
- 69th District: Gwen A. Dyrud, Appointed Incumbent (1st of 10 candidates)
- 72nd District: Steve A. Nagel, Incumbent (1st of 14 candidates)
- 73rd District: Nesa Anderson, Planning Commissioner/Businesswoman (1st of a stunning 22 candidates)
- 74th District: Jon Aiken, Office Clerk (1st of 16 candidates)
For the races that cross county lines, each county does its own lottery, so here are the OC Registrar’s lottery results: DMNESVTUHKWGXFCIQYAORZPLJB.
Congratulations to these candidates who won the Registrar’s lottery and will appear at the top of the ballot in the Orange County portions of their districts:
- 38th Congressional District: Linda Sanchez (D), United States Representative (1st of 3)
- 39th Congressional District: D’Marie Mulattieri (
DCorrection: NPP), Community Volunteer (1st of 3)
- 47th Congressional District: Gary DeLong (R), Local Small Businessman (1st of 8)
- 49th Congressional District: Albin Novinec (NPP), United States Marine (1st of 4)
- 29th Senate District: Greg Diamond (D), Workers’ Rights Attorney (1st of 2)
- 55th Assembly District: Curt Hagman (R), Member of the State Assembly (1st of 2)
You would think that with electronic voting now, the names could be randomized for every poll voter (obviously, we’d still need the lottery for absentee voters).
(In the interest of full disclosure, my day job is working for Assemblyman Chris Norby, one of the lottery winners, as the letter N came in second in the alphabet behind U, though no one with a last name starting with U is running in all of Orange County.)