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Julio Perez is convinced that the mountains of provisional ballots — which will overwhelmingly be from Democrats rather than from Republicans — will put him ahead of Joe Moreno and into second place behind Tom Daly. If that happens, he’ll probably win in November, and the celebrations of the Daly camp will have been premature. (Please do read that OC Register article by the way. Tefere Gebre, if you want your uncensored remarks published, please contact the Orange Juice Blog!)
If he does make it into the runoff, Julio will have a lot of people to thank — but the biggest thanks of all may have to go to JOBSPAC, the very people who were trying to beat him.
Only one person I know of really knew how to beat Julio Perez — and that was the incumbent he’s trying to replace, the cunning and self-serving Jose Solorio. (Solorio not only hates brave consumer advocates like Perez to pieces, but he may be worried that Perez would be a competitor against him in the race to replace State Senator Lou Correa in 2014. Jose has apparently not yet figured out that he’s not winning that one no matter what.)
Solorio was Julio’s top real behind-the-scenes adversary this campaign season, who as I understand it tried to induce both Santa Ana City Council members Sal Tinajero and Vince Sarmiento into the race to split the Latino vote, before finally succeeding with Michele Martinez. (I don’t know what support Solorio promised her, but he didn’t deliver on most of it, being at heart a Daly man.)
Jose Solorio understood that the way to beat Julio Perez involved two things: (1) massive amounts of Late Independent Expenditures (“LIEs”) and (2) splitting the Latino vote against Tom Daly, the Edgar Winter of Orange County politics. All that mattered was getting someone else into second place; whether it was Martinez or Moreno didn’t matter. Either would do; either would lose in November.
And I have enough respect for Jose Solorio’s brain, if not his heart, to believe that his spirits sank when he saw the mailer that I published here earlier this week, telling Republicans not to “waste their vote” on Joe Moreno.
“NO!,” I imagine Solorio screaming when he saw it. “WASTE YOUR VOTE! WASTE YOUR VOTE!”
You see, this was not a race where Daly had to get the most votes. This was a race where Daly had to make sure that the only credible opponent, Julio Perez, did not get the second-most votes. Daly had literally almost a million dollars behind him — he could easily have spared a few votes to make sure that Moreno would outpoll Perez, who was being sliced up by vicious negative LIEs.
Solorio, a smarter guy, continued to plump for the hapless Michele Martinez to give her a shot at beating Julio — no problem for Solorio there, as Daly would finish first regardless and Martinez wasn’t really competing with votes for Moreno. By pushing Michele, Solorio was creating a second possible route to an anti-Perez victory — he could fire two bullets instead of one.
Daly’s rich corporate funders, though, were treating this as a general election, as if Daly would win outright if he got to 50%. (Hint: that’s not how it works now, plutocrats!) JOBSPAC and its ilk tried to tear down Moreno. In other words, they were hammering Solorio’s better bullet flat.
That “Republicans, Don’t Waste Your Vote!” flyer probably did its job of suppressing Moreno’s vote by at least a percentage point, probably more. Daly could have easily burned 5 to 10% of his vote without suffering at all. All through this campaign, I was afraid that they were going to figure it out and have the guts to try the riskier and counter-intuitive strategy: LIEs for Michele and for Moreno. Happily they didn’t.
I never imagined myself saying this a few months ago, but — thank you, Chevron Inc. and Philip Morris. Thank you for encouraging Republicans to cast wasted votes for Daly rather than critical votes for Joe Moreno. You were stupid exavtly when Julio Perez needed you to be stupid. And, by this time next week or so, when the provisional ballots may have been counted, you may well have made the difference in allowing Julio to get to the runoff despite the massive campaigns against him, by lowering the number of Moreno votes he had to exceed.
For you to have shot yourselves in the foot with all your money would be the sweetest justice of all. Thanks again!