Early results in CoCo show Garamendi leading

Vote-by-mail results just posted in Contra Costa County show Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi leading with 57 percent compared with 38 percent for Republican David Harmer.

The results offer a stronger than usual window into the outcome because elections officials expect 75 percent of all ballots cast in this special election will come via the mail. Contra Costa election guru estimates that the vote-by-mail numbers reported so far represent about two-thirds of all the votes that will be cast.

Harmer has been campaigning strong in the final two weeks and the national Republican Party has dumped four mailers into the district. But it may not be enough to overcome the sheer numerical 18-percentage-point registration advantage of the Democrats.


CoCo registrar’s Election Day notes



Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters Steve Weir sent over an update this morning on today’s election.

Among the party registration of those who have voted by mail, a higher percentage of Republicans have voted than Democrats. But Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans — 7,000 more Democrats have returned ballots than Republicans. That bodes well for Democratic candidate and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, as long as those Democrats voted for him rather than Republican David Harmer.

Voter turn-out has surpassed that of the Sept. 1 election, Weir said. That makes sense. There are more issues on the ballot than in September, including high-profile elections in Walnut Creek and its two school districts.

And on the lighter side, Weir says some folks are calling him and demanding to know why they can’t vote. Uh, they don’t live in a city or political district where there is an election. Only about half of the county’s voter reside in a region with an election today. But kudos to people who want to vote!

Here is what Weir had to say in more detail:

Lost an inspector yesterday do to wife’s illness.  Lost an inspector this morning due to flu (we were able to cover.)

Lost power at a church and we’re operating off of extension cords (to the school next door.)  Will probably move the polls before 5 pm as power cords only help with the AutoMark.

Just left a tour from a delegation from Uganda and Tanzania, they toured Walnut Creek, then my office and now they are going to a poll site in Pleasant Hill.  They have toured Harris County Texas, and will tour in Oregon tomorrow.

One of our most requested items today is for ballots for Congress for people who do not live in the 10th CD.

I listened to a man at the counter this morning who just could not believe that there was not anything for him to vote on. Maybe I ought to bring out the favorite flavor of ice cream test ballots?

Walnut Creek’s return rate is 62.7 percent as of last night.  San Ramon is at 35.6 percent. (9 of the 11 San Ramon precincts are out of the 10th CD.)

Dems are returning at 51.8 percent of issued in the 10th and Reps are at 61.3 percent return rate of those issued.  (Dems are ahead of actual ballots returned by about 7,000.)

Of the 112 polling sites (representing 132,000 non-vote-by-mail (VBM) voters, we have just under 6,000 votes cast.  So, we’re at just under 5 percent turn-out of the non-VBM voters at the polls as of 10 am.  (This is a better turn out at 10 am than we had on Sept. 1.)


CD10: National press weighs in on race

The national press is writing about today’s 10th Congressional District special election. Most conclude that Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi will beat Republican David Harmer, although it may not be the partisan stomping that Democrats have enjoyed in past elections in this district.

Here are the links:

Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125720634100324047.html?mod=article-outset-box

Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/03/republicans-face-long-odds-northern-california-house-race/

FiveThirtyEight.com: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/11/2009-elections-preview-ca-10.html

Washington Monthly: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2009_11/020778.php

New York Times: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/races-to-watch-across-the-nation/

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11


HotAir.com: http://hotair.com/archives/2009/11/03/big-sweep-today/

MSNBC: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/11/03/2117404.aspx

The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/491381/tale_of_two_special_elections_one_shifts_right_the_other_left


CD10: CBS poll shows Garamendi leads by 10 points





A new CBS Channel 5 poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi ahead of his GOP opponent David Harmer by 10 points.

Garamendi received 50 percent support, while Harmer took 40 percent followed by 6 percent for one of the three minor party candidates. Only 4 percent were undecided.

Folks may recall that SurveyUSA is the same outfit KPIX hired to do several pre-primary polls in this race. They turned out to be remarkably accurate.

The results of the only independent poll in this race reflect a wider gap than what Harmer’s campaign people said their internal poll of several weeks ago, a trend that should have gone the other direction if Harmer was gaining traction.

But given Democrats’ 18-point registration lead in the 10th District, it seems as though Garamendi ought to have a bigger lead.

The answer may be found in the results for decline-to-state voter, where Harmer leads 42 to 35 percent; it’s a group Harmer has targeted.

SurveyUSA conducted the automated robo-style survey of 581 registered voters on Oct. 26-28. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percent.

In its other findings:

1) Half of the respondents have already voted by mail

2) Garamendi leads among women, whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Democrats, moderates, liberals, college graduates, pro-choice voters and Obama supporters.

3) Harmer leads among Republicans, independents, conservatives, regular church-goers, pro-life voters, gun-owners and McCain supporters.

Click here to download the poll from KPIX’s Web site.


CD10: National GOP drops mailers for Harmer

The National Republican Congressional Committee has dropped two mailers (shown below) in the 10th District on behalf of GOP candidate David Harmer, providing a late but clear investment in a heavily Democratic district most political experts view as unwinnable for a Republican.

The election is Nov. 3 but many voters have already cast their ballots in the mail. Election officials expect the percentage of those who vote by mail in this low turnout special election will exceed 75 percent.

The mailers do not actually mention Harmer’s name. Both mailers urge voters to vote “no” on his opponent, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi.

One shows Garamendi pictured with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and says the two Democrats’ policies are sending Americans into the poor house. The other targets Garamendi’s support for tax increases.


CD10: NRCC support for Harmer remains modest

David Harmer

David Harmer

Despite election countdown fervor from pro-GOP David Harmer forces, the National Republican Congressional Committee does not yet view him as a “contender” in his bid against Democratic Lt. Gov. John Garamendi in the 10th congressional district special election on Tuesday.

A Roll Call story today reports that the committee elevated nine candidates in its Young Guns program — its targeted candidate initiative — from “On the Radar” to “Contender.”Harmer was not among the nine selected for the second tier. No candidate has yet achieved the highest ranking of “Young Gun.”

NRCC spokeswoman Joanna Burgos insists Harmer’s status does not reflect a lack of support. The Young Guns program requires candidates to meet benchmarks for fundraising, campaign organization and develoment of a media plan. The higher the candidate climbs, in theory, the more resources the national party will throw in his or her direction.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., compared it in Roll Call to the Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

It’s unclear what Harmer lost when he failed to make the “contender” list other than bragging rights. The NRCC declined to say what kind of dollars are on the table.

But the NRCC is helping Harmer with get-out-the-vote activities and helped pay for a poll in early October, although I suspect the Harmer campaign was hoping for more tangible signs of the party’s enthusiasm … like a big fat independent expenditure.

Other than labor-sponsored mailers in the Sept. 1 primary for Garamendi, there have been no independent expenditures in this campaign. It yet another indication that special interests view this race as either unwinnable or in the bag, and have put their resources into more competitive seat.

Even most Republican political consultants view this seat as out of reach for a GOP candidate with its 18-point Democratic registration advantage coupled with Garamendi’s money and name identification.

Harmer hopes disgruntled voters and a strong volunteer ground campaign will lead to an upset but there is scant evidence at this point to reject conventional wisdom.

Politico.com on Monday tallied up the party registration of folks that have already voted by mail in the district’s four counties and found Democrats leading Republicans by 5,000 ballots.

It’s entirely possible that some of those Democrats voted for Harmer. But party registration is the single-most reliable indicator of an election’s outcome. Had a disportionate number of Republicans already voted, Garamendi might have something to worry about, California Target Book co-author Allan Hoffenblum told me last week.