Wednesday, April 05, 2017

CA-34 Special Election Primary Results-- A Progressive Will Face Another So-Called "Ex"-Republican

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Yesterday, as expected, progressive Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez came out far ahead of any of the other 23 candidates in the first round of the congressional contest to replace Xavier Becerra. CA-34 in an overwhelmingly Hispanic district entirely within the confines of Los Angeles. It goes from Eagle Rock. Highland Park, Mount Washington Cypress Park and El Sereno down to Chinatown, Downtown L.A., City Terrace, Boyle Heights and Koreatown. It's a rapidly gentrifying district that is overwhelmingly Hispanic (67%) and Asian (19%). The two most popular politicians in the area, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and now-Attorney General Xavier Becerra both endorsed Gomez, who was the only candidate running who could point to a substantive record of genuine accomplishment. Only 29,407 people voted (out of 304,905 registered voters), probably because many people felt it was a safely blue seat.

And it is safely blue-- at least technically. Obama beat McCain 79% to 18% and then beat Romney 83% to 14%. Hillary did even better, eviscerating the intensely hated Trump 83.6% to 10.7%. No one remembers when a serious Republican congressional candidate was fielded in the area. But what happens in districts like these-- and what happened this time-- is that big Republican money (developers, charter school predators, etc) finance conservative fake Democrats.

The actual Republican running, William Morrison came in a distant 8th with 1,089 votes (3.8%). But the candidate who came in second, ostensibly a Democrat, Robert Ahn, was a wealthy, opportunistic Republican switched parties a couple of years ago to better position himself for elective office. He raised a whopping $338,702 and loaned himself another $295,000. His campaign was strictly one of stoking ethnic solidarity in Koreatown. His message of working cooperatively with Trump isn't one that gained any traction whatsoever.

A dozen candidates-- half the field-- scored more than 2% of the votes:
Jimmy Gomez (D)- 10,704 (26.54%)
Robert Ahn ("ex"-R)- 7,543 (18.70%)
Maria Cabildo (L.A. Times)- 4,250 (10.54%)
Sara Hernandez (developers/charter schools)- 2,345 (5.81%)
Arturo Carmona (D)- 2,202 (5.46%)
Wendy Carillo (D)- 2,186 (5.42%)
Kenneth Mejia (Green)- 1,962 (4.87%)
William Morrison (R)- 1,349 (3.35%)
Yolie Flores (charter schools)- 1,362 (3.38%)
Alejandra Campoverdi (D)- 999 (2.48%)
Tracy Van Houten (D)- 1,037 (2.57%)
Vanessa Aramayo (D)- 840 (2.08%)
A couple of factoids worth noting: Bernie won CA-34. In fact it was the only congressional district in the city that he did win but the 3 candidates desperately fighting to identify themselves as Berniecrats-- Carmona, Carillo and Mejia-- scored a total combined vote of just 14.6%, even less than the big-spending ex-Republican! This can be explained by two factors-- front runner Jimmy Gomez already was known to the voters as a dedicated and successful progressive along Bernie lines and Carmona's campaign went off the rails in the last 4 or 5 days because of sexism charges that took off like wildfire.

Also worth noting that the 2 most-consultant driven campaigns, those of Sara Hernandez and Alejandra Campoverdi, were the two that raised large sums and then squandered virtually all of it on commissionable but utterly ineffective TV ads. Hermandez spent approximately $473,000 on TV (making her consultants a bundle but bringing her barely over 5% of the vote) and Campoverdi spent around $225,000 on pointless TV as well. Contrast that with the winning Gomez campaign which spent virtually all its resources on paid field and GOTV efforts, the effective grassroots campaign technique so hated by the commission-hungry crooks at the DCCC and EMILY's List.

In a heavily Democratic district like CA-34 Gomez will be heavily favored to win the runoff and go to Washington June 6. But, "ex"-Republican Ahn has already demonstrated an ability to raise large sums of money from both Korea and GOP-leaning sources and he has to be watched closely. The last thing anyone wants is a Republican-lite multimillionaire buying a seat for himself in one of the country's bluest and most progressive districts. You can contribute to Gomez's campaign here.

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