As of the time I am writing this post, the election results are stunning. But, if you think it through, not really.
In 2012 – the story was the wealthy GOP Financier Charles Munger and his limitless resources catapulting Moderate Republicans Frank Bigelow and Rocky Chavez in to safe, Conservative GOP seats. The same was also true of Congressman Paul Cook in CA-08, a very conservative desert seat.
A closer look at those races shows that the more conservative opponents in all three seats were terribly flawed candidates, and when juxtaposed with results in 2014 – those flawed candidates likely had more to do with the success of the more moderate winners.
Fast forward to 2014. In AD-73, Bill Brough was outspent 7-1 by Anna Bryson who benefited from $500k in outside money. Brough finished first, Bryson 5th in that Primary. Brough is trouncing his dem opponent in the general.
In AD-44, Conservative Pastor Rob McCoy defeated a more moderate and very well funded opponent. But, similar to the above three Conservatives in 2012, McCoy appeared to have similar baggage and is trailing by 3%. I seriously doubt that his 26 year old primary opponent would have done better against the Democrat.
In AD-74 – we have an R vs R runoff that pitted underfunded CRA-Endorsed Conservative Matthew Harper against Keith Curry. Curry had the full support of GOP leadership and hundreds of thousands of dollars in his warchest. He also was the beneficiary of massive Independent expenditures. Harper is leading by 18% with the count nearly complete.
In SD-28 and CA-25, both R vs R runoffs – Flawed Conservative Jeff Stone is leading Bonnie Garcia despite being put through a meat grinder. Stone narrowly missed a CRA endorsement while Bonnie received no support from CRA due to her lifetime 61% CRA Score. Garcia may still win – but based on other races I have observed, it does not look likely.
CA-25 – pitted Tony Strickland, endorsed by Kevin McCarthy and the establishment against CRA-Endorsed Steve Knight. As of the writing of this blog, Knight leads 8.6% with 63.7% in.
The shocker that no one paid much attention to is in AD-26. This is the seat of former permanent minority leader Connie Conway. The Mark Abernathy establishment had lined up Rudy Mendoza to be the heir apparent. Not so fast – a longshot conservative military veteran slipped in to the runoff. With 97% of the vote in, Devon Mathis is scoring an astounding 10.6% victory.
The lesson here about Prop 14 is that effective Conservative Candidates are nearly unbeatable regardless of the money spent against them. Some may point to the reduced turnout, but the pattern is irrefutable. The stated goal of Prop 14 was to moderate politics. It has only succeeded in making races even more expensive and driving voter turnout down – giving the more partisan high-propensity voters an even bigger say.
Look at the horrific vote totals in D vs D races.
Last, but not least is the R vs R runoff in CA-04. The field was cleared enabling challenger Art Moore to challenge Tom McClintock. The papers all endorsed Moore. The storyline was about how extreme McClintock was.
That only succeeded in enabling McClintock to paint his opponent in to a corner, this time, it was the moderate that was underfunded and McClintock crushed Art Moore, leading by 20.4% with 83.9% of the vote in.
The problem is that McClintock is the kind of representative a suburban / rural district wants in Washington… someone who takes a hard line. What ever happened to the famous “fit the district” argument that gets used constantly to justify establishment support of moderates?
When you compare the turnout in CA-04 to neighboring CA-07, one of the top targeted Congressional Seats in America… Art Moore has gotten more votes than Doug Ose who is headed to a likely victory in CA-07 over the democrat (the fraud doctor Ami Bera). Ose is up 3184 votes with 50,000 late absentees left to count.
I believe that the labor unions will take a run at qualifying a ballot measure to repeal prop 14. Prop 14 has proven to be a disaster for the Democrats as the intended result of moderation has hit them in spades.
Example – in SD-06, the more moderate Richard Pan is beating Labor Union Darling Roger Dickinson. This is a really bad beat for the Unions.
There are a ton of other D vs D races – a ton of them where union people have been forced to spend a bank vault to protect their interests. They can’t be happy about this.
I leave you with AD-16, where Moderate Republican Catherine Baker is running in a Bay Area Assembly District with an 8 point dem advantage. She is leading by 5+ points and the lead is creeping up as the updates come in (we are at 72.4% now) – the hypothesis is working in reverse. The unions dumped a ton of money in to the primary to get their guy Tim Sbranti nominated. Sbranti is a deeply flawed candidate known for a hair-trigger temper and an acerbic personality.
Similar to the above mentioned flawed conservatives losing, we have a flawed communist losing what should be a democrat seat.
It is a brave new Prop 14 world and all the Independent Expenditures in the world can’t fix it.