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THE NOONER for April 2, 2016
Happy Final Four Saturday! Thank you for your patience yesterday. We have to take at least one day a year to satire California politics and policy, beyond just the usual snark.
With all of the attention on the caucuses and primaries leading up to June 7, when six states including California weigh in. After that, only the District of Columbia will be left, which votes on June 14.
The Republican Party's process in California is pretty straight-forward, unlike the Democrats'. There are 172 delegates total, and are allocated as such:
This system is interesting, as Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district (the most Democratic in the state) receives the same number of delegates as Kevin McCarthy's district (the most Republican in the state). It makes projecting outcomes very difficult.
If there is still a battle between the Republican candidates leading up to June 7, a key campaign strategy will be whether to simply play the air war in California and spend ground time in the other remaining states (Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota), or to spend time working the congressional districts in California (both for voter contact and earned media). And, staffing 53 congressional districts for a winner-take all scenario is very expensive, particularly in a district like Barbara Lee's Oakand district, where only 7.1% of the voters are Republican. However, they get the same 3 delegates as Kevin McCarthy's Bakersfield district.
Meanwhile, California has some of the most expensive media markets in the country. Certainly, June is cheaper than November, but that's partially because viewership is down (rerun and vacation season). Oh, and the youth (and lots of others) aren't watching TV the traditional way. I watch the late shows in the morning on my laptop while still in bed. I watch the opening monologues and only continue watching if there is a guest I want to see. And, to my reporter friends, I'm sorry, but I can't remember the last time I've watched a local newscast. Their role is for local disasters.
Further, 69.4% of 2014 statewide primary voters voted by mail. This stretches the campaign out a couple of weeks before June 7, all that TV money is wasted on only 30.6% of the voters! That's a hard thing to keep track of with so many other moving parts in a presidential campaign. Fortunately for candidates, late May is pretty quiet on the primary calendar, with only Washington state voting for the Republicans between May 17 and June 7.
For all of these reasons, the Republican candidates need to hope that something gets settled before California. It will be very expensive to win, but is also the most delegate-rich state.
With 546 delegates, the Democratic primary in California dwarfs all the other states voting (or caucusing) on June 7 and June 14.
Here's how the Democrats in California allocate their delegates:
Unlike the Republican process, the allocation of delegates to each congressional district vary based on Democratic voter registration. The minimum is 4 and the highest is 9, not suprisingly Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district.
Both registered Democrats and registered No Party Preference voters can vote in the primary. This raises an interesting issue. The latest registration report shows 24% of voters are registered as No Party Preference, and I believe they tilt younger (Paul Mitchell?). Hillary Clinton is in a clear 11% lead (47-36%), although polling is very difficult, because of both the delegate allocation (same is true with Republicans), and predicting the turnout, particularly of new and No Party Preference voters is a challenge.
With voters eligible to register until 14 days before the election and doing so online, the electorate is highly unpredictable. This was the case with Proposition 30 (temporary tax extensions) that I worked on in my previous life with community colleges, as a surge of young voters registered at the last minute and voted for it and made all the polls wrong.
Clinton can not rest on her laurels and polls in California, particularly with the energy behind Sanders among young people.
If either party's nomination is not wrapped up by June 7, it's going to be a wild ride.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to political consultant Jerry Seedborg!
FAREWELL: Yoda, the second most famous dog in Sacramento (2001-2016)
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