Thoughts on an Election

userpic=voteLast Tuesday was an election in the 45th California State Assembly district 45. Perhaps you didn’t notice. The final results were quite interesting:

Candidate Votes Percent
Matt Dababneh
(Party Preference: DEM)
Susan Shelley
(Party Preference: REP)

Now, what’s interesting here is that the election was so close… in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, and Dababneh outspent his opponents 10 to 1. If you listen to Shelley, she always believed the area would support a fiscal conservative with socially moderate views. I don’t believe that.

I believe the problem was complacency.

In terms of mailers I received and signs I saw, Dababneh blew his spending wad during the primary election, hoping to get over 50% and avoid a runoff. I was getting 2-3 mailers from him every day. Once we entered the general election… nothing. I saw no street signs, I recieved no mailers, I got nary a phone call. It was as if Dababneh felt he could coast on the large Democratic margin in the district, and didn’t need to campaign.

Shelley, on the other hand, was out there getting street signs everywhere. I received a couple of mailers from her. I’m sure she won over some of the voters who originally supported Dababneh’s opponents.

Further, look at the turnout numbers. Between 29,000 and 30,000 voted. This is in a district with over 250,000 voters (250,000 in LA county plus one Ventura pct). In short, perhaps 10% voted. With such a low turnout, people were driven by specific issues (e.g., Republicans fed up with Obamacare), and turn out the vote efforts. The complacent voters, who expected a particular candidate to win, didn’t bother to vote.

This election was close due to indifference and mobilization. Dababneh should be worried for next time (although he’ll have the incumbancy advantage), and those expecting easy victories should remember that every election should be fought as if it would be close… because it very well may be.