CA15: Corbett still lags as uncounted ballots wane

A Saturday update in Alameda County’s ballot tally didn’t help state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett gain any ground in her bid to finish second in the 15th Congressional District race.

Ellen CorbettAs of now, Corbett, D-Hayward, trails Republican Hugh Bussell by 721 votes, or about 1 percent of all votes cast in the race; before Saturday’s update, she’d been trailing by 713 votes. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, finished with a more-than-comfortable 49.3 percent of the vote to Bussell’s 25.9 percent and Corbett’s 24.9 percent.

Alameda County, which contains most of the district, still has about 4,500 ballots (1,000 vote-by-mail and about 3,500 provisional) to process county-wide; a spokesman said the registar will next update the results on his website Tuesday afternoon. Contra Costa County has about 10,000 (6,000 provisional and 4,000 exceptions – damaged or otherwise questionable vote-by-mail ballots); registrar Joe Canciamilla said he’ll next update the results on his website Friday before 5 p.m.

But Bussell has basically maintained the same lead as the number of ballots still outstanding has dwindled tremendously since last Wednesday, and so it’s growing ever more unlikely that the relative few ballots remaining will suddenly turn the tide.

Corbett couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Ellen’s greatest strength is her name recognition. Her greatest weakness is name recognition

  • My allegiances in #CA15 hardly remain a secret. But — speaking as a strong supporter of Congressman Eric Swalwell — no problem giving time to the ballot counting process. Plenty of time between July 11 — when the Secretary of State makes the final certification — and November’s election for Congressman Swalwell to build on his strong showing last week and unite the Democratic Party in Alameda County behind his leadership.

  • Bill Spicer

    Corbett did nothing but motherhood issues, stayed away from Fracking, Bullet Train, etc. We already have a lot of politicians like that we do not need Corbett

  • Willis James

    I would be astounded if Ellen Corbett would actually want to finish second at this point. Why?

  • Guest

    This Bussell fellow spent little or no money in his run for Congress – he threw up a few yard signs the entire campaign – but he still defeated the Majority leader of California State Senate. That’s pretty amazing.

  • Marga

    What is surprising is that Bussell didn’t do better.

    As I mentioned, Republican candidates in CD15 got about 38% of the vote in the June 2010 elections; this time around Bussell only got 26% of the vote. It would seem that the remaining 12% voted for Swalwell instead of Corbett. Either that or they just didn’t bother voting in this election at all, which I can’t imagine we have any way of knowing.

  • Guest

    Thanks Marga, the numbers you just reported tell different story!

  • I’m not sure I understand your math, Marga, especially given that 2010 was neither a “top two” primary nor had the same district boundaries.

    In the 13th District represented by Pete Stark – wholly within Alameda County – Stark and another Democrat got 74.8 percent of the total votes cast in the separate Democratic and Republican primaries, while two Republicans’ 19,422 votes added up to 25.2 percent of total votes cast. That’s pretty close to 19,339 votes (25.8 percent) Bussell has now.

    If you were looking at the 15th District
    represented by Mike Honda – wholly within Santa Clara County – Honda got 63.2 percent of all votes cast in both parties’ primaries while three Republicans added up to 36.8 percent of all votes cast.

  • Marga

    Josh, what I did was to go and look at the voting results for the June 2010 primaries for the cities that are now part of CD15: Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Hayward, Union City, Fremont and Unincorporated Alameda County/Eden Area. For each city, I looked at how many votes all the Democratic candidates for Congress got, and how many votes the Republican candidates for Congress got. I added them together and determined that 62.8% of voters who voted for either a Republican or Democratic candidate for Congress in those cities in that primary, voted for a Democratic candidate. I have it broken down by city, if you want.

    Now, this is a “rough” approach. For one, I completely ignored votes that went to third parties. They weren’t many, but they would have added much more work to the calculation so I decided to ignore them.

    For two, the geographical limits of the district are not necessarily those of the cities. Approximately 1/3 of Fremont is in CD15, so I just divided the Fremont vote count by 1/3 and used that, but it might not be totally representative of how Fremont residents voted (OTOH, in 2012 they seemed to vote similarly in CD17 as in CD15).

    The limits of the unincorporated ACO areas are particularly rough and I may very well have included areas that didn’t belong in CD15 and vice-versa.