This is cross-posted to OC Daily.
In numbers that should scare Republicans across Orange County (and probably California, and maybe the United States), for the first time ever, more Orange County Democrats cast primary election ballots than Orange County Republicans did. Even in 2012, when Mitt Romney had sewn up the presidential nomination, more Republicans cast primary election votes than did in 2016. Even in the 2008 battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Democrats could not surpass Republicans in primary election ballots cast.
|Democrat||317,859 (67.8%)||139,316 (27.5%)||231,638 (49.5%)|
|Republican||373,587 (52.2%)||234,396 (34.5%)||205,988 (36.9%)|
The 2012 general election was a bloodbath for Republicans:
- Democrats captured 2 Assembly seats from Republicans.
- Democrats captured 3 Senate seats from Republicans.
- Romney beat Obama by just 6.3% in Orange County.
Gerrymandered districts likely saved Republicans in 2008. The 2016 elections will be conducted under the same district lines that were first contested in 2012.
2016 threatens to be worse than 2012. Nowhere in Orange County is that more evident than in AD-65. Here is how Assemblyman Chris Norby did against challenger Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva in the 2012 primary:
|CHRIS NORBY (REP)||29,917||58.8%|
|SHARON QUIRK-SILVA (DEM)||20,936||41.2%|
Here is how Assemblywoman Young Kim did against challenger ex-Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva last night:
|SHARON QUIRK-SILVA (DEM)||28,840||53.0%|
|YOUNG KIM (REP)||25,575||47.0%|
Norby led Quirk-Silva by 17.6% in the 2012 primary before losing to her in the general election by a 52%-48% margin. Kim is behind in the 2016 primary by an even larger margin than Norby lost in the 2012 general. Republicans will need to marshal massive financial and human resources in order to save the AD-65 seat.
Things look even bleaker in a swing seat that neighbors Orange County, where 66th District Assemblyman David Hadley is at 45.6% and trails ex-Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi:
|AL MURATSUCHI (DEM)||36,832||48.3%|
|DAVID HADLEY (REP)||34,773||45.6%|
|MIKE MADRIGAL (DEM)||4,659||6.1%|
The tri-county SD-29 is a good news, bad news situation for Republicans:
|LING LING CHANG (REP)||52,131||44.8%|
|JOSH NEWMAN (DEM)||34,013||29.2%|
|SUKHEE KANG (DEM)||30,280||26.0%|
As of the last reporting period ending May 21, Chang had $369,770 cash on hand, Newman had $21,835 cash on hand, and Kang had $173,086 cash on hand. The good news is that Chang now faces a weaker, underfunded opponent for a key Senate target seat. The bad news is Chang only got 44.8% of the vote in the primary.
Other scary numbers for Republican incumbents in Orange County last night:
- Assemblyman Travis Allen has just 50.9% of the vote.
|TRAVIS ALLEN (REP)||35,062||50.9%|
|LENORE ALBERT-SHERIDAN (DEM)||20,067||29.1%|
|NAM PHAM (DEM)||13,723||19.9%|
- Supervisor Andrew Do (R) is headed to a run-off with Michele Martinez (D), who he beat by 0.3% or 200 votes.
- Assemblyman Matthew Harper joins Assemblywoman Young Kim (who we discussed above) as the only two incumbents in Orange County who were not in first place.
|KARINA ONOFRE (DEM)||33,570||42.5%|
|MATTHEW HARPER (REP)||30,614||38.7%|
|KATHERINE DAIGLE (REP)||14,885||18.8%|
- Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond (R) is breathing a sigh of relief that County Board of Education races are winner-take-all in June with no runoff, for he beat Beckie Gomez (D) by 1.9% or 961 votes:
|ROBERT M. HAMMOND||21,100||42.4%|
|REBECCA “BECKIE” GOMEZ||20,139||40.5%|
There’s also the implications of California’s U.S. Senate race:
|KAMALA D. HARRIS (DEM)||2,044,347||40.4%|
|LORETTA L. SANCHEZ (DEM)||939,107||18.5%|
|DUF SUNDHEIM (REP)||405,730||8.0%|
With the top Republican vote-getter for U.S. Senate, Duf Sundheim, finishing a distant third, that means for the first time in California history, the November ballot for U.S. Senate will not include a Republican. Instead due to the top-two primary, only two Democrats will be on the U.S. Senate ballot in California.
Republicans face a tall order this fall to overcome the Democratic surge. Republicans will have to unify behind Republican candidates. The Republican Party must organize volunteers and raise significant funds. The OC GOP must strengthen its financial and human infrastructure in order to defeat Democrats. Otherwise, 2016 will be a bleak year indeed.