June 7, 2006

Cal-50: Addendum

Hatched by Dafydd

Although it's likely that Brian Bilbray will fail to reach either 50% (which I anticipated he would) or a 5% margin over Francine Busby (which I actually predicted) -- with 100% of the precincts reporting, the semi-official tall stands at 49.33% for Bilbray, 45.46% for Busby -- we still can't close this one out just yet. If you look at the very top of the page at the link, you will read this little cautionary note:

There are approximately 68500 Absentee / Provisional ballots still to be counted

That total is for all of San Diego County, I believe; obviously, only a small portion of those ballots are for the 50th district special election. Even so, a movement of 0.67% upward (or downward) is entirely possible.

(There was also a 50th district primary for November; the tallies are in, and the nominess are -- wait for it -- Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray! This will be the third of three rounds in the Busby-Bilbray title match, winner leaves town.)

Typically, absentee ballots tend to favor Republicans (though that's changing), while provisional ballots tend to favor Democrats (though that's changing). It is unlikely in the extreme that those ballots will change the outcome of the race; Busby is not going to wake up in a few days and find herself the winner.

But it wouldn't take many ballots, especially in such a low-turnout election as this (126,000 ballots cast), to add or subtract a fraction of a percent to either candidate... and in fact, that is guaranteed: whatever the final results, they will not be exactly 49.33% and 45.46%.

Currently, the two are separated by about 4,872 votes. If Bilbray were to add a net 850 to his total out of however many absentee and provisional ballots have not yet been tallied in this race, that would probably do it; 900 for sure.

It will take a few days to finally resolve all of the provisional ballots, and I doubt California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson is going to change the results page again until he can announce the final final results. Bilbray is very close to a majority (less close to my 5% prediction, alas), and he might well achieve it when the smoke clears.

I know a person can grow old just waiting, but sometimes that's the only thing to do.

In evaluating this race, it's important to pay attention not only those who voted for the Democrat or the Republican, but also those who voted otherwise... especially when trying to prognosticate.

While Bilbray got only 49.33% (semi-final, remember), another candidate, William Griffith, got 3.67%; Griffith is an ultra-hard-right conservative who ran against Bilbray by calling him too liberal.

Here's a profile of Griffith.

In addition, the Libertarian Party candidate, Paul King, took 1.53%. There are two kinds of LP members: those whose primary focus is drug legalization, who are apostate Democrats; and those whose main focus is to shrink the government, who are renegade Republicans. (There is a nonzero intersection of people for whom those are equally important, but it's smaller than you would imagine.) King clearly seems to be in the latter camp; he may support drug legalization, in a vague way; I don't know enough about him. But what brought him into the race, he says, is shrinking the government.

Even without adding King, the clear "right-wing" vote in this election was 53%... which is just about what we calculated as the total vote among all the Republicans voting in the April preliminary. I suppose that some of those who voted for a far-right Republican (like Eric Roach, 14.46%, or Howard Kaloogian, 7.45%) just didn't find Bilbray conservative enough for them, so they voted for Griffith, who was barely an "also-ran" (0.82%) in the prelims -- running as an Independent (specifically, the hard-right American Independent Party), as he did yesterday and probably will in November.

If you add King in as a (probable) small-gov Libertarian (as opposed to a pot-puffing Libertarian), that would make it 54.5% voting to the right; there were no candidates running to Busby's left... she got all the Democrats plus all the Leftists who voted.

That means the Right vs. Left vote in CA-50 was 54.5% to 45.5%, just about how the district voted in the 2004 presidential contest (55-44 Bush), despite the huge drop in Bush's job approval since then. Again, this is not a good sign for Democrats in November.

(By the way, centrist Democratic Rep. Jane Harman (70%) easily held off her primary opponent, Leftist Marcy Winograd; Harman won more votes in her hotly contested primary than did Republican Brian Gibson in his uncontested primary -- 26,670 to 20,455. I think Harman is a shoetree for reelection in November.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 7, 2006, at the time of 2:31 PM

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The following hissed in response by: FredTownWard

According to John J. Pitney, Jr. at NRO, this was even worse than we thought for Democrats because Democrats actually raised MORE money, some of which was used quite brazenly to encourage Republicans to cast protest votes:

"In a couple of ways, the outcome was quite remarkable. As of the last FEC report, Busby had raised more money than Bilbray. And the presence of minor candidates threatened to drain crucial support from Bilbray. Accordingly, Busby made a unique and brazen move. She ran ads on talk radio stations urging conservatives to vote for independent William Griffith, who had the support of the Minutemen. The ads may have had some effect. In the preliminary count, Griffith got nearly 4 percent."

Pitney later goes on to raise warning flags for Republicans, but all things considered, Republicans should be cheered and Democrats depressed by the outcome. It ain't smooth sailing just yet, but the mother of all political storms just keeps failing to arrive.

The above hissed in response by: FredTownWard [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 7, 2006 2:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: FredTownWard

I don't know what foreign substance monkyboy is ingesting, but I bet it ain't good for him, and I doubt that it's legal.


While I agree with the premise that the DOM Amendment could be written better to make it less of an attack on state's rights and more of a pure defense against judicial activism, the purpose here was simply to get Democrats on the record on a hot-button issue that matters a LOT to SOME voters, PARTICULARLY African-Americans who got Yet Another timely reminder of why they MIGHT want to consider adopting the Two Party System.

As for the rest of his "points", pretending that the latest trap, excuse me, diplomatic offer to the Iranians is some kind of a climb down is just delusional, as is the idea that Democrats can make any sort of hay over "corruption" in November with the tagline, "A least not as many of OUR crooks have been idicted or convicted yet."

Add to this the fact that one too many blows to the head has Senator Harry Reid apparently still determined to have Democrats seize the blame for the failure to pass immigration reform, and we may be looking at a Democrat "moral" victory in November for having LIMITED Republican gains.


The above hissed in response by: FredTownWard [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 7, 2006 4:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

I wonder if Christianist is another one of those words with movable definitions, like swiftboating, civil war, and amnesty?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 7, 2006 4:02 PM

The following hissed in response by: Don

And who are they, monkyboy?

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 9, 2006 5:12 PM

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