The Numbers Don’t Lie: It’s Still Early, But It Looks Like Newman Will Beat Chang

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Josh's blimp hovers over Anaheim's ...

Josh Newman looks like he’s flying high right now.  (Not that high; this is forced perspective.  But pretty high.)

I decided to do some more detailed analysis of the SD-29 race between Josh Newman and Ling-Ling Chang.  I came away with the solid impression that Newman will beat Chang.  Thought you might want to know.

Here’s what we want to look at:

SD-29 largely overlaps AD-55 and AD-65 -- and that can tell us a lot!

SD-29 largely overlaps AD-55 and AD-65 — and that can tell us a lot!

The pairs of rows that you see above are the Senate District 29 race (in pink), the Assembly District 55 race (in blue), and the Assembly District 65 race (in green).  From left to right, the numerical columns are the current voting totals in Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Los Angeles County, plus their total.  At the end you see the overall three-county percentages for each candidate.

Generally, if you add together the AD-55 and AD-65 races for the Republican and Democratic candidates, you get something very close to the SD-29 total.  (This is a good time to remind people that I ran for this district in 2012, so I do have a bit of experience analyzing it.)  So let’s give it shot.

OC did not like Ling-Ling.

OC did not like Ling-Ling Chang as much as one would predict based on party.

Chang has done about as well as Republican Assembly Philip Chen in San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties. running about 200 votes behind him in the former and 130 votes behind him in the latter.  Newman is running almost 800 votes ahead of Gregg Fritchle in San Berdoo and 700 ahead in LA.  That’s to be expected: Fritchle is a well-known (after four previous races) and solid candidate, but poorly funded.

Now take a look at the leftmost numerical column, which is OC.

Newman is running almost 4000 votes ahead of Fritchle + Sharon Quirk-Silva in OC.  Most of that 4000 (and more) is probably a lead over Fritchle, who is from LA; Quirk-Silva is a homegirl, a former incumbent, and a strong campaigner down here.  So it looks like about 4000 people just decided on the merits to support Newman over a Democrat.  And that would, we might expect, lead to 4000 fewer people voting for Chang.

But that’s not what we see.  She’s running 7,500 votes behind the combined vote total of Chen and Young Kim.  So if 4,000 people switched from Chang to homeboy Newman down here, another 3,500 just skipped the race altogether.  That’s bad — and you can probably chalk it up to negative “scandal sheet” campaigning.  (Yes, Newman went negative too — but it was about Chang’s easily disproven lies about herself, which people seem not to mind as much.)

Now, to be fair, Chang is not only ahead right now, but is ahead in OC, by almost 4,000 voted.  But she should be WAY ahead in OC.  Chen + Young Kim are 15,000 votes ahead here — and that’s with Quirk-Silva beating Kim!

Since the “Older VBMs” report came out at 8:05 p.m. on Election Day — these are the Vote-By-Mail ballots that were mailed in no less than about five days before the election — Chang has done relatively poorly in OC.  She was up by over 5,700 votes based on the “Older VBMs” (which skew conservative), 42,794 to 37,066.  In votes coming in since that time, Newman has picked up 41,392 — and Chang has only 39,409.  She had 53.6% of the OC vote in Older VBMs; she has 51.2% of it now.  In votes since the Older VBMs came in, she’s receiving about 49.0% — 4.6% below where she was in the first release of data.  That would be the best guess for how far she’s dropped in LA and SB as well.  Remember, probably about half of those Older VBMs came out in the first week of voting — before the worst of Chang’s mailers hit, and hit, and hit again.

With probably 30% of the OC vote in the district still outstanding — and it will likely look a lot more like the votes since the Older VBMs — Chang literally has an outside chance of losing OC to Newman outright.  That was something almost too good to hope for.  She’ll probably win our county by about 2,000 votes or so — but that will be swamped by Newman’s margin in LA.

Obviously, nothing is in the bag yet for Newman — but until last night this looked like it would be a nail-biter.  It now looks more likely that Newman will pass Chang with days to spare.  In my race against Bob Huff here for years ago, I recall that about 291,000 votes were cast — and that was in a race that was not expected to be competitive.  In this one, I’d have predicted more like 300,000 — minus the Chang voters and perhaps a few Sukhee Kang die-hard Democrats who might skip it.  If we conservatively estimate that only 50,000 more votes will come in to OC, then a 2% margin for Newman means that — not even presuming that he’ll do better, as Quirk-Silva does, in later counts — he’d pick up 1000 right there.  It’sll probably be more.  You’d rather be in his shoes right now than Ling-Ling’s.


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.)