Rep. Elton Gallegly talking with GOP California State Senate candidate, Tony Strickand and California Assemblywoman Audra Strickland, R- Moorpark, June 3, 2008. Photo by Flap
The total numbers were just about exactly what anyone should have expected. Strickland got 52 percent of all the votes cast districtwide. Given that Republicans have a 2 percentage-point advantage in voter registration and that a higher proportion of GOP voters typically turn out in primaries, a 4 percent margin sounds just about right. No anomalies in that margin to suggest that voters of either party are at this point unhappy with their nominee.
A quick look inside the numbers shows the obvious challenge for both candidates: Strickland won the heaviliy GOP Ventura County portion of the district by 10,000 votes. Jackson won the Democratic-leaning Santa Barbara County portion of the district by 7,000 votes. But — and here’s something to keep in mind come November — the district also includes a small slice of Los Angeles County — a Republican stronghold in Santa Clarita in which Strickland got twice as many votes as Jackson. That L.A. County sliver could be decisive in the fall.
Each candidate is going to have to work hardest in the other’s territory. And the general election will be decided by two factors: which candidate most of those decline-to-state voters who stayed home for the primary decide to support in November, and which party does the best job of jumping up its voter participation rates in the general election.
The election is Tony Strickland’s to lose (he represented the majority of the 19th district in the California Assembly) and if fundraising is any measure of handicapping then Strickland definitely has the advantage. Strickland as of the last reporting period in May had already amassed a $200 K differential to Jackson.
But, Democrat legislative leaders WILL transfer their massive war chests to Jackson since this race may be the ONLY competitive one in California this fall.
- Will the Democrats attempt to campaign and turn out their demographic voters in Ventura County?
- How will the popularity of Barack Obama and his motivated volunteers and donors affect the down ticket races?
- Will John McCain’s popularity with independent voters drive more DTS (Declined to State) voters to the polls?
- Or will a “DOWN” Republican year propel Jackson to victory?
All are questions that will be answered soon.