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Thursday, April 13, 2006

CA-50: Republicans Fracturing?

Posted by DavidNYC

Here's a bit of good news:

Even before Brian Bilbray appeared to clinch a narrow victory Tuesday over 13 other Republican rivals to run against Democrat Francine Busby in eight short weeks to replace disgraced former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, supporters called on the field to "unite" behind Bilbray's candidacy.

But a day later, it appeared that unity could be slow in coming.

Eric Roach, Bilbray's nearest Republican rival, said Wednesday through campaign managers that he might ask for a recount of votes cast in the sprawling 50th District ---- a move that would delay Republican solidarity in the weeks of campaigning left before June 6.

If the final tally is especially close - as I'm sure it will be - Roach might even challenge Bilbray in the Republican primary in June. Wait, did I just say "Republican primary?" I must be crazy, right? Actually, no - it's not me who's crazy. It's the California electoral system.

Turns out there are actually two ballots in the June 6th run-off. One is the special "general" election ballot - Busby vs. (as of right now) Bilbray. Whoever wins that becomes a member of Congress immediately. However, it's a brief tenure - there's another general election in November. The candidates on that ballot will be determined by the second of the two June 6th ballots, which constitutes a primary election for the November general election. Confusing, I know.

But the bottom line is this: Bilbray, say, could conceivably beat Busby in June but lose to Roach on the same day. Or vice-versa, if Roach emerges victorious after a recount of Tuesday's vote. Even if something that absurd doesn't come to pass, the very possibility of the GOP duking it out once again warms the cockles of my heart - and it would undoubtedly make Francine Busby's life much easier.

P.S. Stuart O'Neill has a hugely important post up at Political Dogfight about the enormous importance of absentee ballots. In states with generous absentee ballot provisions, this is now where battles are lost and won. A huge percentage of the voter "turnout" on Tuesday actually came in the form of absentee ballots. Please read Stuart's post, because it has wide application - far beyond just Busby's race.

Posted at 05:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, California | Technorati

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Regarding absentee ballots being crucial, how sure are we that this is true? I have my doubts, not that they are a significant segment of the vote, but that they are a CHANGABLE segment. Logically (and I'm generalizing here), absentee ballot voters are more likely to have decided their vote well in advance and more likely to vote consistantly in every election; in other words, they're neither likely to be 'swing' voters nor 'infrequent' or 'GOTV target' voters. These are the folks that were going to vote for you anyway, come hell or high water, right?
And wouldn't it make sense that in special elections and primaries, where a large segment of the electorate is made up of these very same 'base' voters, that a large number of votes would be cast absentee? Why is this surprising?

Posted by: MovinOn in NYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 13, 2006 09:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It's not surprising.

We, the Democrats, are just not working the GAME!

I won't try to re-write or re-record that which took hours to research and record...but the fact is that the Republicans have kicked our party ass at this crucial stat.

And why is that important? Precisely because an absentee voter has probably made up their mind when they signed up for the Absentee Ballot.

What if we have MORE of them? Then we have MORE nearly guaranteed votes.

It takes a 13 hour election day and turns it into a 4 week election day in California. Imagine the power that brings. The Republicans know this and have been working at building the base of Absentee Ballot Voters for decades.

Read the article. Listen to the broadcast. It's all there. And it wins and loses elections. Up until now it's been Democrats losing. I want to change that.

Posted by: Stuart O'Neill [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 13, 2006 09:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Careful about blaming the California electoral system for pairing the special election runoff with the regular party primaries on June 6. California law didn't require that. That was Schwarzenegger's smart idea.

And by the way, Roach (or Bilbray, depending on the outcome) cannot request a recount yet because the vote-counting is not finished. There are 10,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted, and they just started that today. The San Diego County Registrar's office said in a local news article today that the counting would probably not be finished until next Tuesday or Wednesday.

On the point of absentee ballots, I cannot agree more with you and O'Neill. I am glad to see this getting attention at long last. Military and overseas voters often have to vote absentee and until recently have rarely been courted by Democrats. And so by default, many such voters feel abandoned by the Democrats.

Posted by: phonatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 14, 2006 01:59 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment