Yesterday’s elections, here in California included a real eye-opener for the Democrats, who have a virtual lock on Sacramento, in both legistlative houses.
The Republican candidate in the 45th Assembly District, Susan Shelley, ended up about even with her Democratic opponent, Matt Dababneh, even though they are in a solidly blue district. How did she do it?
Scott Lay, the publisher of the Nooner, a California political newsletter, thinks that Prop. 13 and the growing ObamaCare backlash could be part of the answer. If so, couldn’t the OC GOP do the same thing to Tom Daly, the Democrat in the 69th Assembly District, next year? Here are Lay’s thoughts:
AD45 (W. San Fernando Valley): Matt Dababneh (D) is holding on to a precarious lead over Susan Shelley (R) in the west San Fernando Assembly seat vacated by now-LA councilmember Bob Blumenfield. Several political observers are spitting out their coffee this morning as they wake up to these results:
|MATT DABABNEH (D)||13,258||50.42|
|SUSAN SHELLEY (R)||13,038||49.58|
Democrats have a near 2-to-1 margin in this district, and even if every independent voter joined the Republican party, they still would fall short of Democratic registration. Dababneh had far more resources and virtually all the endorsements. Shelley’s entire campaign down the stretch was about “protecting Prop. 13,” arguing that if Dababneh went to Sacramento he would be part of a two-thirds Democratic majority that might ask the voters to consider changes to the voter threshhold for special taxes or to create a split roll for corporations.
In the special primary, 15,266 ballots were cast for Democratic candidates (6,088 for Dababneh), while only 8,970 were cast for GOP candidates (5,205 for Shelley). Turnout yesterday exceeded that of the primary, so that can’t be pointed to for Shelley’s success.
And, here’s something we haven’t seen recently–election day ballots were more favorable to Republican Shelley than early absentees, of which she claimed 46.4%. I mistakenly tweeted at 8:14 p.m. that the first results of 46.4% would be her high-water mark. I was wrong. But, I honestly can’t recall where we’ve seen a Dem v. Rep race in recent years in which the Republican gained share throughout the night.
Nobody knows what is going to happen in AD45. Our standard forecasting would project that late absentees and provisionals reflect election day, although that formula has always given the edge to the more liberal candidate. If we use that formula and ignore that recent tradition, Shelley wins. But, honestly, nobody knows at this point.
If Shelley wins, Democrats would stay at 53 votes in the lower house, with one vacancy. The primary for AD54 is scheduled for December 3 and, if I were to bet, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas wins outright with 50%, and the Assembly convenes on January 6 with 54 votes–a bare supermajority. Overall, a loss in AD54 would be egg on the face of Democrats, although they would almost certainly win the seat back next year. So, a loss by Dems here would be unlikely to have significant ramifications, other than a huge embarassment.
We could have a whole conference on AD45. Was it the bruising primary that continued the Berman-Sherman fight from 2012, or is there a larger issue of taxes, ObamaCare, and a Democratic malaise that party leaders across the state need to pay attention to?
I’ll be looking to Paul Mitchell for some great analysis of who turned out to vote–was the electorate that much different from 9 Tuesdays ago or did it behave differently?