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CD10: A look at the numbers

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 at 11:45 am in 2009 CD10 special election.

Garamendi

Garamendi

Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi pulled out an expected win Tuesday in the 10th congressional district, although his margin of victory was just slightly more than half of his party’s 18-point registration advantage.

Garamendi garnered 53 percent compared with Harmer’s 43 percent.

Does the narrower-than-expected win signal a GOP comeback in District 10?

Probably not.

It was an open seat in a low turnout special election. Such elections are rarely useful as predictors of the future. And while Harmer’s candidacy undeniably galvanized local Republicans, they lack the numbers required to overtake the Democrats anytime soon.

I looked over some of the details of the results this morning and noted a few interesting numbers:

Harmer won by nearly 1,000 votes in the Alameda County portion of the district, which is primarily Livermore.

Garamendi owes his win to Contra Costa County, where his 12,514-vote lead accounted for almost all of his victory margin of 12,870 votes.

Garamendi barely won among votes cast at the polls on Election Day in Contra Costa, beating Harmer by 399 votes. But Garamendi more than made up for it with votes cast through the mail, where he beat Harmer by 12,115 votes.(Contra Costa comprises two-thirds of the 10th District.)

Also in Contra Costa County, Harmer received 463 fewer votes than the total number of registered Republicans who voted by mail. Garamendi, on the other hand, received 4,265 more votes than the total number of Democrats who voted by mail. There’s no way to know for certain that the Reeps all voted for Harmer and the Dems all sided with Garamendi. But if most of them voted their respective parties, it indicates that the 8,790 decline-to-state registered voters broke for Garamendi.

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  • Allen Payton

    One reason for the absentee vote advantage by Garamendi could be related to the lack of a ballot statement by Harmer. I don’t know if Harmer made an effort to target and reach out to the permanent absentee voters, but I assume he did. Bottom line is Garamendi had 34 years of name recognition and outspent Harmer 2 to 1.

  • Tom Benigno

    Congratulations:
    John we wish you the best, that was a great campaign. I only wish I could have been in the race against you. We will be watching your job performance, say hello to Sis.

  • Tom K

    Allen:

    Well, no, actually. The bottom line is that John Garamendi is now the Congressman from the 10th CD.

    The only people who explain why they lost and why the other side had this advantage and that good fortune are, well, the losers. :)

  • Mike F.

    Geez Tom, why cap on Allen? I think its fine to ask questions of why Harmer lost; of course the number of demo vs. repubs. is the biggest factor to the answer. Perhaps Harmer could’ve done better if he did put in a voter statement; I thought it curious, perhaps the Harmer campaign was not as skilled and missed a deadline. Maybe there are other mistakes they made. I did see a TV ad, but it seemed way too late. Also, the mailer I got from Harmer all showed Garemendi’s picture more so than Harmer, so if a person didn’t read it closely it just reminded them that Garamendi was running, sointo the recycling pile goes the mailer.