Primary Results, Run 2 — Federal Races: ‘That’s REPRESENTATIVE Whitish Discharge to You!’ Plus: Is Issa Vulnerable?




Lou Correa face superimposed on white blood cell

We’ve already covered the big “good news” story from Tuesday: the victory of Josh Newman in the SD-29 primary.  Now let’s look at the rest of the news — which is not particularly good.  Let’s start with two “results” that is not actually “election result” at all.

Bad Ballot Handling?

Judging by Facebook comments from people about their own voting experiences yesterday, many, many provisional ballots, many of which should not have been required to be cast as such, remain outstanding — as will some Democratic crossover ballots that people say were wrongfully stuffed into “provisional ballot” envelopes.

This is abominable.  Several personal friends of mine, whom I believe would not be the type to make up stories, reported experiences that just should never have happened.  Some of them put up extended challenges to poll workers in order to get their (or their adult children’s) ballots counted; by far most other voters would not likely even try.  I am truly jarred by how many ballots may have been denied or otherwise mishandled this year.  I haven’t yet had time to go to the Registrar of Voters office, but I hope to do so by the end of this week or the beginning of next week — with printouts of people’s personal experiences.

The best source I’ve seen on what has happened in California is this piece from the often-controversial and sometimes incontrovertably dead-on Greg Palast.  On Facebook, I amended it slightly:

Some of you don’t like Greg Palast and I won’t defend every word he’s ever written. But his description of what was going down in California — actions that can be reasonably estimated to have kept enormous numbers of NPPs, including many new voters, from voting for Bernie Sanders — matches completely what I’ve seen and heard from both my real-life and Facebook friends.

There’s a twist I heard that wasn’t mentioned in Palast’s article: at least some NPPs who DID successfully argue their way into receiving a “Democratic Crossover Ballot” rather than a provisional ballot had their completed ballots — over their loud objections — placed into a “provisional ballot” envelope, where they will not be opened for as long as two weeks.

So far as I can tell, the blame for this does not lie at the County level, but in the statewide training materials.  (Hey, fellow Democrats: given that we’re in charge of all of this, how likely do you think that the young voters who were prevented from voting for Bernie this week will be to come out for Hillary in November — or will forgive the party in future years?  Was all that table-tilting to get a big result in an election for a supposedly all-sewn-up nomination really worth it?  Does this encourage people to “work within the system”?)


On the other hand, even without that massive stash of as-yet-uncounted ballots, turnout was big.  And, unusually — that word presumes that it has happened before in OC, which I don’t actually know to be true — it was slanted towards Democrats.

Overall turnout:  34.2%  (again, as will these all, this will surely go up)
Democratic:  49.5%
Libertarian: 30.7%
American Independent: 25.1%
Green: 21.5%
P&F: 17.4%
Republican: 36.9%

The difference between the major parties speaks for itself.  It’s presumably due to both the Republican race being sewn up and to dislike of the man who did the sewing.  Democrats can’t count on the former factor to lower Republican turnout in November, so some of the Democratic-leaning results that we’ve seen in this election might not be expected to be evident in November.


HILLARY CLINTON (DEM) 123,723 54.6%
BERNIE SANDERS (DEM) 100,836 44.5%

OC was more pro-Sanders than the state as a whole.  Betcha didn’t see that coming!  (Again, be wary of the outstanding provisionals as you interpret this.)  We were also slightly more pro-Trump and pro-Kasich, but less pro-Cruz, Carson, and Gilmore.  (Why did so few of you take my recommendation about voting for Gilmore?)

In other parties, OC supported the Green Party’s Jill Stein (76.3%, 402 votes), Libertarian Gary Johnson (64.5%, 1459 votes), American Independent Alan Spears (21.3%, 466 votes), and P&F’s Gloria Estela La Riva over Monica Moorehead, 74 votes to 73.

U.S. Senate

Here are your top 10 of 34 in OC:

LORETTA L. SANCHEZ (DEM) 112,397 25.9%
KAMALA D. HARRIS (DEM) 110,055 25.4%
DUF SUNDHEIM (REP) 55,837 12.9%
PHIL WYMAN (REP) 20,912 4.8%
GREG CONLON (REP) 15,850 3.7%
STEVE STOKES (DEM) 10,061 2.3%
TOM PALZER (REP) 9,251 2.1%
GEORGE C. YANG (REP) 8,750 2.0%
RON UNZ (REP) 6,630 1.5%

This is actually a huge upset — for Harris!  Given that the county delegation went so massively for her at the convention, I’d have expected a much larger margin than half a percent!  this shows how out of step the party delegates have been with the voting public overall.  Statewide, it was 40.3% for Kamala and 18.5% for Loretta, with Sundheim picking up 8.0% to win the bronze.  [Disclaimer: I am Harris’s county coordinator, meaning that I get to take credit for this result.  People who don’t get when I’m joking are welcome to write in to Liberal OC and be snotty.]

38th Congressional

* LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ (DEM) 1,221 51.7%
RYAN DOWNING (REP) 880 37.3%

Linda Sanchez won La Palma!  That bodes well for her in November.  So does the fact that she took 70% of the district overall.

39th Congressional

* ED ROYCE (REP) 41,393 62.9%
BRETT MURDOCK (DEM) 24,369 37.1%

This is a respectable result.  Murdock did little more to campaign than putting out a few signs, saving his resources for the fall.  Good call — now try tying Royce to Trump!  Tie, tie, tie!

45th Congressional

* MIMI WALTERS (REP) 47,136 41.3%
RON VARASTEH (DEM) 31,042 27.2%
GREG RATHS (REP) 21,721 19.0%
MAX GOURON (DEM) 14,279 12.5%

I’m happy for Ron Varasteh that he made the runoff — and that Democrats that he and Henry Vandermeir’s candidate Max Gouron almost equalled the vote for Mimi Walters.  But I’m also sort of sorry that Greg Raths didn’t get his shot at squaring off against her.  (Actually, I’d have liked a Varasteh vs. Raths runoff; that would have been a fun campaign.)  It would be great if Democrats would just let Raths take on Mimi one on one in 2018 (if she is re-elected, of course) just to see what might happen.  But, of course, if some Democrat even without Varasteh’s credentials came along and entered the race at the last minute, that still wouldn’t happen.  (See discussion of AD-68, below.)

46th Congressional

LOU CORREA (DEM) 24,184 41.6%
BOB PETERSON (REP) 8,446 14.5%
BAO NGUYEN (DEM) 7,954 13.7%
JOE DUNN (DEM) 7,414 12.8%
LYNN SCHOTT (REP) 5,014 8.6%

This result shocked some people, but the second-place finish of Republican Bob Peterson, who will now face off against Lou Correa, was widely suspected by insiders.  I don’t know why Bob Peterson did so much better than Lynn Schott to win Republican votes — but a

Bao’s deficit had shrunk by Wednesday evening from 492 to 456, and he has not yet conceded.  (Dunn has.)  It’s possible that as provisonal ballots come in they could push Bao into second place — he’s perfectly situated to receive them from young voters — and, as he’s noted, he won the Garden Grove Mayoral election in similar circumstances.  But he’s burned a lot of bridges with the race he ran — which varies in others’ tellings from merely aggressive to downright unscrupulous — and that might make it hard for him to compete in November.

For me and Vern and others, the disappointment here was in Dunn’s performance.  Everyone has their explanation for why Dunn lost.  Vern thinks that Dunn’s mailers were lousy in that they focused on Correa (and with a not unflattering cover picture) more than Dunn; you can count me among those who say that, even if empirical studies show that ballot statements bring in no votes, you STILL have to put one in if you have the money because otherwise voters think that you’re a hopeless cause or an idiot.  But let’s get real: while those might have closed the gap between Dunn and Bao, and maybe even Peterson, those aren’t the reason that Dunn lost.

It was the money.  And by “the money,” I don’t mean simply the amount that each campaign raised for its own purposes — Dunn did OK there — but the money spend on independent expenditures, both media and printed mailers.  And by “independent expenditures,” I don’t mean just any independent expenditures — but ones paid for by persons and groups that are traditionally antagonistic to Democratic issues and values.  Groups like JOBS PAC — through which Chevron, Inc. helped Tom Daly in his legislative primary four years ago.  These PACs exists specifically to keep the most progressive Democrat from winning primaries.  I don’t have a complete stack of all the direct mail that went out from Lou and on his behalf from IEs, but my sense is that there were a whole lot of attacks from them on Dunn and hardly any against Bao.  Bao may argue that Dunn, rather than he, was the spoiler here, but if the onslaught of attacks was aimed primarily against Dunn then there’s no fair comparison.  Correa and his business/Republican supporters feared Dunn — and unless they were attacking Bao as viciously I don’t think that they feared Bao the same way.  Unless I see evidence to the contrary, Bao was the actual spoiler between the two of them — even if he did get more votes.

I’ll happily support Bao if he wins, but I don’t think that that’s the way to bet.  Correa has to love this result, because the only way that he could feel safe in office is to run against a Republican like Peterson, against whom he could call on the loyalties of easily gulled Democrats, rather than against a progressive/liberal reformer like Bao or Dunn.  My personal rule is going to be that when a candidate wins a primary largely through the support of those sorts of expenditures, and when they didn’t take aggressive steps to disavow and attack such “help,” they don’t warrant my support in November and they don’t deserve the presumption of the right to stay in office that someone elected on the basis of Democratic support warrants.

47th Congressional

Al Lowenthal had just under 66% of the vote; his 2014 opponent, Andy Whallon, had just over 22%.  Lowenthal did 9% worse and Whallon 8% better within OC.

48th Congressional

* DANA ROHRABACHER (REP) 69,120 56.6%
SUZANNE SAVARY (DEM) 35,250 28.9%

Dana almost doubles up Savary here, who in turn doubles up Banuelos.  So, a rematch of 2014 — but with a more Democratic electorate.  Given his district, Dana is not likely in too much trouble even if he supports Trump — but who knows, I guess it’s worth a shot!

49th Congressional

* DARRELL ISSA (REP) 16,931 57.6%
DOUG APPLEGATE (DEM) 11,351 38.6%

Doug Applegate is not all that far behind Darrell Issa in the OC balloting!   But look at the other part — the big majority — of this district!

Candidate Votes Percent
Doug Applegate
(Party Preference: DEM)
* Darrell Issa
(Party Preference: REP)
Ryan Glenn Wingo
(Party Preference: NPP)
Candidate Votes Percent
Doug Applegate
(Party Preference: DEM)
* Darrell Issa
(Party Preference: REP)
Ryan Glenn Wingo
(Party Preference: NPP)
Candidate Votes Percent
Doug Applegate
(Party Preference: DEM)
* Darrell Issa
(Party Preference: REP)
Ryan Glenn Wingo
(Party Preference: NPP)

The fact that Issa could, if necessary, build every voter in the district a swimming pool suggests that Issa is probably going to win this thing — but all of the mailers and ads in the world can’t change their minds if they’re sick of the incumbent and his bullshit.  This one bears some real scrutiny.  AD-73 Democrats — you don’t have much of anything else going on, so maybe this should be your obsession for the next five months!  That really would be headline news!

Next up in Run 3

— State Legislative Races and, time permitting, everything else as well!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)