Update: I must be a prophet. Agran did lose and it is clear now that Daigle took votes from him, not from Choi – an epic backfire for Agran!
The conventional wisdom has it that Irvine Mayoral candidate Larry Agran won by convincing Katherine Daigle to run for Mayor this year, instead of running for the City Council. The premise is that Daigle will split the GOP vote and allow Agran to defeat the top Mayoral candidate, Steven Choi.
But is that true? Or could it be that Daigle is going to end up taking votes away from Agran?
Let’s examine the historical record:
- In 2002, Agran defeated an Irvine City Commissioner named Mike House, according to Smart Voter. Agran won by about 2,500 votes.
- In 2004, Agran deafeated Choi, by about 150 votes, according to Smart Voter. There were three other mayoral candidates that year, including eventual Agran ally Sukhee Kang; Irvine School Board Member Debbie Coven; and House. All of them got over 20,000 votes each.
- In 2006, Agran ally Beth Krom won the Mayor’s race, according to Smart Voter. She handily beat an unknown guy named John Duong.
- In 2008, Kang beat Christina Shea by four percentage points, to become Mayor, according to Smart Voter.
- In 2010, Kang won re-election as he handily beat an unknown guy named Christopher Gonzalez, according to Smart Voter, by over 15,000 votes.
The past Irvine Mayor’s race that most closely resembles this year’s race is the one in 2004. But we can draw some lessons from the 2008 and 2010 races as well.
One thing to know about Irvine, particularly when it comes to their Asian voters, is that they don’t care that much about partisan politics. They voted for Kang twice and now they are going to vote for Choi.
By adding Daigle to the Mayoral ticket, Agran goofed – he gave white voters, and women, someone else to vote for instead of him. And he did this at a time when there are a lot of negative headlines in Irvine about the way he and Krom have mishandled the Orange County Great Park’s finances.
I think Daigle could be this year’s Debbie Coven but this time there is no Mike House on the ballot to screw things up further, nor is Kang running again. The path is clear for Choi to get a ton of votes and for Agran and Daigle to squabble over second and third place.
Remember that the Irvine municipal elections are non-partisan. So folks won’t really care what political party Daigle belongs to. She will be someone to vote for if they are sick of Agran and for whatever reason don’t want to vote for Choi.
We’ll find out tomorrow if I am right, but don’t be surprised if this is how it goes down. Choi easily matches Agran’s name I.D. and he doesn’t have Agran’s baggage. And many of Kang’s supporters will be voting for Choi, not Agran and certainly not Daigle.
Now if Lynn Schott and Shea can take out Krom and P.K. Wong, that will really be something. Obama won’t be carrying Irvine this time around and his presence on the ballot won’t help Krom, or Agran.
It could be a clean sweep in Irvine this year and the Agranistas might finally get tossed overboard…