It’s fitting that March Madness is upon us (I have Syracuse going all the way in my bracket) and in AD-69, Republican candidate Robert Hammond has dropped out. According to OCPolitical.com, Hammond has decided to run for a different seat leaving four Democrats to fight it out to replace Jose Solorio in November. Hammond will run instead for a seat on the OC Board of Education.
Presumably, the candidate most likely to benefit from Hammond’s withdrawl is OC Clerk Recorder Tom Daly, who has a strong track record of working with both parties while he was mayor of Anaheim and in his current position as OC Clerk Recorder. That leaves Labor activist Julio Perez, Santa Ana Council member Michele Martinez and community activist Francesco Barragan to split the Latino vote. It is also entirely possible Republicans will blank this race leaving two Latino candidates in the top two.
Fromo the OC Political post:
The question of who wins the AD-69 election is: as the least liberal Democrat in the race, can Daly consolidate the Republican vote behind him? If the Martinez-Perez-Barragan voters consolidate behind one candidate, they would presumably be the majority of the votes cast by Democrats. However, if Daly can capture the Republicans, then he will win by combining the Republican vote with the portion of the Democrats’ votes he had in June. In AD-69, Democrats make up 49.7% of registered voters, Republicans make up 27.5% of registered voters, and No Party Preference voters make up 19.1%. By winning all the Republicans, half the NPP, and just 30% of Democrats, Daly can form a winning coalition in November. However, if any of the others can make a play for the Republican vote, they could destabilize the Daly coalition and win themselves. In a most unusual election, the Democrats in AD-69 may well try to position themselves as the conservative candidate in the Primary, in hopes of holding the Republican vote in November. (We’ve already received e-mail messages this weekend at OC Political from some of the Dem AD-69 candidates touting their “non-partisan” or “bi-partisan” viewpoints.)
Bottom line for Republicans: the AD-69 race will eat up valuable human and financial resources for the Democrats in November, freeing up Republican resources to spent on other races. Furthermore, the least liberal Democrat will likely be elected to represent the seat.
Since it’s now a Democrat vs Democrat vs Democrat vs Democrat race, it’s clear the best interests of the party and the voters of AD-69 would be for all candidates to rally around the winner of the June primary rather than spend considerable time and money and heartache beating each other up. That accelerates campaign organization, fundraising and feet on the street. I sure hope each candidate can articulate their plans moving forward after the June primary, especially if a clear victor emerges.
This is going to be a fun race to watch.