The prediction is that the turnout for today’s Presidential Primary (otherwise known as the “top-two” election for every other partisan office) will be low — very low — perhaps the lowest in history. If you need a reason, look no further than the fact that the Obama-Romney matchup for the Fall has already been decided, and that only two measures are on the statewide ballot, neither of which are on issues that drive turnout. In prior years, a hyper-low turnout would be great news for the ideological extremes in that the base vote of each party tends to be the party stalwarts on the left and on the right. Add to the mix that DTS voters, at least when looking at VBM ballot returned, have been under-performing (which is typical in a June election), and the table would be set for a banner election for partisans. Except, and a big except, we have this new top-two system courtesy of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abel Maldonado. There is simply no way to know what kind of a wrench it will throw into works, besides the obvious results of sending two R’s or two D’s into runoffs in some districts where either only one major party had candidates file, or where partisan registration makes it unlikely that one of the major parties has a candidate advance. On the natural, I do not think that the behavior of voters will change much, yet, due to the new rules. That will take multiple election cycles. Where you get some interesting dynamics is due to a change in the pattern of how Sacramento special interests, and Bay Area multi-millainaire heir Charles Munger, Jr., are trying to game the system, because of the new rules. Money matters.
I thought I would highlight some of the key Republican races for Congress, State Senate and Assembly that I will be watching with interest tonight — if I don’t mention a race, it probably means I don’t think the outcome is in dispute for June (like my friend Marie Waldron walking into a safe GOP Assembly seat in San Diego County, who is not on the list below). This compilation is by no means comprehensive, of course. Because of the redistricting process, the number of seats “in play” is the largest I have every tried to observe in one election. I should add that there are a number of key races that will be November-show downs, where the wonks will be looking at the June numbers to glean some early insights. I will not be highlighting those here.
CD01 – Doug LaMalfa vs. Sam Aanestad. One of these conservatives goes to D.C., very likely La Malfa.
CA08 — Paul Cook , Phil Liberatore, Brad Mitzelfelt, Ryan McEachron, et. al. — One of these four is a new Congressman.
CA24 — Abel Maldonado vs. Chris Mitchum — Good vs. Evil. A grand day for the cause if Maldo is taken out today. Either faces a steep climb for November.
CA26 — Tony Strickland (R) vs. Linda Parks (NPP) vs. Julia Brownley (D) — Who will Strickland face? He wants to face Brownley, no doubt. Slugfest in November.
CA31 — Gary Miller vs. Bob Dutton — Miller should do well here. Funding disparity has made the hometown boy, Dutton, an underdog. Tough general.
SD01 – Ted Gaines vs. Les Baugh – The only question here is if Baugh makes it to a November run-off.
SD05 — Bill Berryhill vs. Sam Ornellas — The momentum is with Berryhill (who will NOT sign a no tax pledge). Competitive general here.
SD31 — Jeff Miller faces ??? — Big business has played hard to try and help engineer a Steve Clute upset over retired General Richard Roth — figuring Clute is an easier opponent in the Fall.
AD01 – Rick Bosetti vs. Brian Dahle — the money is on Bosetti, literally, in this Republican stronghold. Dahle has been way out spent here.
AD03 — Dan Logue vs. Bob Williams — Logue will triumph ultimately in this safe GOP seat. But will Williams force him to a runoff, to drain his treasury before a Senate seat likely opens?
AD05 — Rico Oller vs. Frank Bigelow — Rico Oller is the strong conservative here, but has been considerably outspent. Could go to a runoff between these two in the Fall.
AD06 — Beth Gaines vs. Andy Pugno — This could go to November, but likely only one of these right-wingers emerges. Too close to call. Gaines is the incumbent.
AD08 — Peter Teteishi vs. Barbara Ortega — Very competitive general election seat. Conventional wisdom is on Teteishi. Ortega closed strong, though.
AD23 — David DeFrank vs. Jim Patterson vs. Bob Whalen — Conservatives win here no matter the outcome. Safe Republican.
AD33 — Tim Donnelly vs. Bill Jahn — The SEIU has dumped considerable funds to try and force conservative Donnelly into a November run off with moderate Jahn, another GOPer.
AD36 — Tom Lackey vs. Ron Smith — This district will elect one of these two in November. Democrats need not apply.
AD38 — Patricia McKeon, Paul Strickland, Scott Wilk. This safe GOP seat has been a brawl between McKeon and Wilk. Strickland was in play until Tony Strickland did mail making it clear Paul is not him!
AD60 — Greg Kraft, Eric Linder, Stan Skipworth — the strong conservative here is Linder. Fingers crossed. That said, he was late to the game but has the CAGOP endorsement.
AD61 — Bill Batey vs. Joe Ludwig — This will be a tough but possible seat for the GOP in November. Sacramento eyes Batey as the more viable pick.
AD66 — Craig Huey vs. Nathan Mintz — Old YAF alum Huey, a solid conservative, dukes it out with the more moderate Mintz (the latter will not sign a no-tax pledge). Competitive general.
AD67 — Bob Magee, Melissa Melendez, Phil Paule, Ken Dickson. No Dems filed here. I predict Phil Paule the lead candidate. Who else goes to the runoff with him? We’ll find out.
AD72 — Travis Allan vs. Troy Edgar vs. Long Pham — The money here is on Edgar, though Allen dropped decent mail in the end. Enough? Not likely. Safe GOP turf.
AD74 — Leslie Daigle vs. Allan Mansoor — Another good vs. evil showdown. With big $ from Munger and unions, Daigle looks to try and knock off conservative incumbent Mansoor. I predict this is over in June, safe GOP seat.
AD76 — Rock Chavez, Farrah Dougles, Sherry Hodges. No Dem filing means two of these three “no new tax pledge” signers advance to a double-R runoff.
AD79 — Brian Maienschein vs. Dustin Steiner — Mainschein was the front runner before a pile of Sacramento special interest money piled in for him, this despite Mainschein’s signing a no new taxes pledge. Safe seat for the GOP.
SAN DIEGO MAYOR
Who is NOT keeping an eye on the Mayoral race in San Diego. Councilman Carl DeMaio (R), Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (?), District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (R), and Congressman Bob Filer (D) will face off in a race of epic spending and media attention. Latest polls show DeMaio and Filner ahead by a good margin, but it’s all about turning out your vote!
UNITED STATES SENATE
Diane Feinstein will face — someone. Most pundits had assumed that Elizabeth Emken would have broken from the large and rather nondescript pack of GOP ersatz Senators because of her State GOP endorsement, and strong presence on slate cards. Still a Survey USA poll released recently had the race a toss-up. Look to Dan Hughes, Rick Williams and Al Ramirez as the other more well-known candidates. How with “birther” Orly Taitz fare?
DEMOCRATS — NOT THIS LIST
It’s significant to reemphasize that my list above is a watch on Republican races, which is to say there is a lot of Democrat on Democrat action, about which I did not write. As a brief mention on the U.S. House side, I’ll be watching the Howard Berman vs. Brad Sherman and Janice Hahn vs. Laura Richardson slug fests with interest, and looking to see if looney Pete Stark gets into a runoff with fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell.
STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES
PROP 28 — Will voters wise-up to the scam here? The title and summary of the measure imply that this measure strengthens term limits when it does the opposite. The last public surveys showed this measure passing, but not by much.
PROP 29 — This measure is straight forward, and a toss up. Tax tobacco, or don’t.
There is much to watch tonight, and if you are a total geek for this sort of thing, maybe this list has helped you. Of course we’ll report on all of the outcomes. Look for information on the FR blog later on as to where we think the best places are to catch election results tonight.
Oh, my apologies for the lighter than usual blogging from me these last couple of weeks. I never thought when I volunteered to be the spokesman for the No on 28 campaign that it would become all-consuming. That’s done as of tonight, so look for my output to notch up considerably.
Good luck to the conservative candidates tonight!