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Monday, November 28, 2005

CA-50: Special Election Dates

Posted by DavidNYC

Sections 10700 and 10703(a) of the CA Elections Code cover special elections in the event of a congressional vacancy. Here's what they say:

10700. The Governor shall call all statewide special elections by issuing a proclamation pursuant to Section 12000. Except as provided by Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 10730), in the case of a vacancy in a congressional or legislative office the Governor shall issue a proclamation, within 14 calendar days of the occurrence of the vacancy, calling a special election in accordance with Section 10703. A copy of the proclamation shall be sent to the board of supervisors of each affected county.

10703(a). A special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Representative in Congress, State Senator, or Member of Assembly shall be conducted on a Tuesday at least 112 days, but not more than 119 days, following the issuance of an election proclamation by the Governor pursuant to Section 1773 of the Government Code, except that any special election may be conducted within 180 days following the proclamation in order that the election or the primary election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled statewide election or local election occurring wholly or partially within the same territory in which the vacancy exists, provided that the voters eligible to vote in the local election comprise at least 50 percent of all the voters eligible to vote on the vacancy. (Emphasis added.)

Breaking it down:

• The governor must issue a "proclamation" within 14 days of today. That's Monday, Dec. 12th.

• Then, the governor must set a date that is from 112 to 119 days after the proclamation. So the potential range is anywhere from 112 to 133 days from now - in other words, March 20th to April 10th.

• Ah! But there's a wrinkle! The final bolded bit of the statute says that the governor can consolidate a special election with a regular election if it could take place within 180 days of a statewide election. Guess what? There's a statewide primary election on June 6th.

• So if Schwarzenegger waits 10 or more days to issue the proclamation, then things fall into that 180-day window. Which means that the special election would be combined with the primary on 6/6/06. Whoa - that's a hell of a day, huh?

Two tugging forces will likely decide how Schwarzenegger acts: On the one hand, Arnold was widely criticized for wasting state money by calling a special election for this fall. If he waits just 10 days, he can save money by consolidating the special election. On the flipside, some in the GOP might be calculating that a low-turnout special election is better for their chances, especially since CA Dems appear to be energized. That one cuts both ways, though - a special election helped bring lots of attention to Paul Hackett, but it also seems to have hurt Steve Young running in CA-48, whose race hasn't been getting a lot of coverage.

My guess is that Arnie looks out for his own interests here and waits a week and a half so he can consolidate. His own political fortunes are too shaky to allow him to stick his neck out for the national GOP.

P.S. Chris Bowers breaks down the district's demographics and voting patterns here.

Posted at 04:39 PM in California, Special Elections | Technorati

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Francine Busby has been completely on top of this and campaigning with energy, gusto, fervor and effectiveness in anticipation of Cunningham resigning. Her campaign is completely geared up and going. Combine her significant headstart and general bad GOP juju right at the moment with the fact that Schwarzenegger would get lynched if he opts for another costly special election and I'll bet he waits til June on this one.

Posted by: DownWithTyranny [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 06:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Will there be primaries for this special election, will the primary be open, and if so, how does that fit in with making the final election coincide with the general election on 6/6/05?

Posted by: hekebolos [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 08:38 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DWT - I sure hope you are right. As of 9pm eastern time, I still see no updates on Busby's website. Today and tomorrow could have been big fundraising days for her, as that 24-hour window was for Ginny Schrader last year when Greenwood announced his retirement.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 08:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

One more thing:

Elections Code sections 10704-10706 require a "special primary election" 8 Tuesdays before the special general election (ie, the date Schwarzenegger picks). If someone gets 50% or more on that date, there is no general election. Otherwise, as with the special election in CA-48, the top vote-getter of each party in the primary advances to the general.

Posted by: PeteyP [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 10:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks, Petey. I wasn't sure how that wacky "open primary" stuff worked exactly. So if Arnie picks June 6th, then the primary is April 11th, yes?

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 28, 2005 11:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Wouldn't Busby benefit due to a June primary, since more voters would be inspired to show up to vote for the top-ballot state races on the Dem side? Considering that every state office will have a primary race on the Dem side, that's good for Busby.

I see a two-pronged effort

#1 - Get as many votes in the first round as possible

#2 - If you don't get 50%, hope for an "Oil/Water" scenario where a really nutty Republican gets second place.

I'd think that Busby is going to be in a good position for the special election

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 29, 2005 01:06 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The merging with the primary could lead to some weird scenarios. Primaries for the CA-50 seat for the November election would be held at the same time as the special election race.

Lets say that in the special election part of the ballot Busby and Republican A are the top vote getters of their party and no one gets 50%. They then both advance to the runoff.

But through some fluke (moderate Dems and independents can't vote in the primary for November part of the ballot and the closeness of the Republican contenders), Republican candidate B wins the primary race for the November ballot and Busby wins the Democratic one. Republican B would face Busby in November.

So here we have a weird situation where even if Rep. candidate A wins the special election runoff he's already been defeated for re-election in the Republican primary. Weird, huh?

Posted by: Lavoisier1794 [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 29, 2005 08:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just made some phone calls for Steve Young. I am in Michigan, calling to California was quite the rush for a political junkie like me. Most of the calls are friendly, so it is not very tough. I recommend everyone to do it!

Posted by: DFLer22 [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 29, 2005 09:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Is Busby as pitiful a candidate as she seems from where I'm sitting (that is, as a lifelong CA-50 resident, monitoring things 'virtually' from afar)? From what I read on the web site, it seems that she might play well in Leucadia and Cardiff, but out in Ramona, Poway and parts East that constitute the bulk of the district, she's a non-starter. I'm sure she's a nice person and all, but after nearly 2 years in Afghanistan, I'm sort of getting frustrated by nice democrats that don't have a chance again the GOP chicken hawk machine. Don't the Dems have anybody else, maybe somebody from Pendleton, that they can run against whatever corporate-fed chicken hawk the Republicans are sure to put up to replace the Duke?

Just my 2cents.

Posted by: Kabul Dave [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 30, 2005 09:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment