Sure, California elections for local offices are officially non-partisan, but the dirty little secret is that everyone knows who is with what party and they do funnel money to these races.
San Diego had to have a special election for mayor yesterday as a direct result of former Democrat mayor Filthy Bob Filner and his gross sexual harassment charges. And it had to go two rounds because in last years election, no one got 50% + one to avoid the runoff that was yesterday.
The Democrat-backed candidate was a city councilman, David Alvarez. Mr. Alvarez was heavily backed by the usual "progressive" suspects. That would be labor unions, race-huckster groups, community organizers, and the like.
The Republican-backed candidate was also a city councilman, Kevin Faulconer. Mr. Faulconer was backed by business interests, former mayor Jerry Saunders (a Republican and very popular still), the local newspaper, U-T San Diego (U-T is for the longhand name, Union-Tribune), and even a former Democrat city attorney, Mike Aguirre.
Mr. Alvarez ran the Team Obama type of campaign. With a boatload of union money, targeting specific pro-Democrat group voters and starting early to try to define Mr. Faulconer.
But Mr. Faulconer ran a campaign kinda sorta Warren G. Harding style and an underlying theme of a return to normalcy in city politics. Now I don't mean the corruption that San Diego politics can be known for. I mean that the mayor is going to do his best to run things efficiently and put some conservative ideas in place.
And while many figured that based on voter registration, which heavily favors Democrats, and an urge of some voters to elect the first Hispanic mayor in San Diego history, Kevin Faulconer, Republican, prevailed and in a pretty substantial manner winning the mayor's office by a 55% to 45% over Democrat David Alvarez.
So, a moderate Republican, Mr. Faulconer, pulled off a big win and a shot in the arm for the moribund California Republican party and how did he do it?
First, his strategy was to go to places Republicans normally avoid like the plague. His strategy was to expand the Republican base, which is about a voter registration of 27%. It means that he has to reach out to independent and yes, Democrat voters. And no doubt some Democrats were not thrilled about Filthy Filner and is dalliances. He needed to get at least another 25% of potential voters.
Mr. Faulconer did not, as some will report, downplay being a Republican as much as talking about issues that the voters cared about.
On the other hand, Mr. Alvarez tried to make it a base election, thus again based on voter registration should have given him a win. The Democrat voter registration in the city of San Diego is about 40% and independents are actually ahead of Republicans. So, Mr. Alvarez has his base and figures he could get enough independents and win pretty easily. Again, it was exactly from the Team Obama play book in 2012.
But given the climate as why there was an election in the first place and the general drift of San Diego government, the voters decided to get things back on track and went with Faulconer.
Is this a turning of fortune for Republicans in California?
The reality is that there is no major, serious candidate for governor of California on the GOP side. The two announced candidates are state assemblyman and Tea Party favorite Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari who's claim to fame is that he implemented and oversaw the infamous TARP program.
Mr. Donnelly can be characterized as a loose cannon while Mr. Kashkari will have a lot of baggage in dealing with the whole TARP program. No doubt in my mind that Mr. Kashkari will get the official state GOP backing in the non-partisan open primary this coming June. And current Gov. Jerry Brown, with about $15,000,000 in the bank has still not announced his plans regarding running for reelection or not. It is very possible that Gov. Brown will not run which would throw the race all around in turmoil. \
But I look at either candidate as probably losers in November due to lack of name recognition in the case of Mr. Kashkari and controversy surrounding Mr. Donnelly and his connection to the border-security Minutemen group.
That will hurt many down-ticket races for the seven other constitutional offices and possibly other races that could get enough Republicans elected in the state assembly and senate to end the Democrat super-majority. It can also affect congressional races.
That is the down side.
The upside is that a Republican can win when focusing on issues that matter. It is very important in California not to let the very leftywhore-dominated media define the Republicans, especially on social issues. I'm not saying Republicans should not speak on them, but do so intelligently.
Most important is that Republicans must be on offense to win any election. Each Republican candidate must define the Democrat opponent before it is done to them. Don't count on much of the leftywhore state media. But hammer enough to make them take notice.
And this is also important. Do not leave any area to the Dems. Seriously. There is no Karl Rove model in California. Yes, I would stay away from San Francisco and Oakland and the coastal Bay Area. But look to the suburbs for potential growth. Places like Contra Costa county. And while we can't currently win Los Angeles county, there are a lot of Republican strongholds. Take advantage of those areas and seek to expand to more areas. It is what the Democrats do.
Kevin Faulconer had a big win for Republicans in the San Diego mayor's race. Can that be translated to the state level?