2012 - An Election Unlike Any We Have Ever Experienced A Presentation Prepared for the California Contract Cities Association Saturday, October 15, 2011 By Senator Jim Brulte (Ret.)
Redistricting This will be the first time since 1992 that legislators and members of Congress will be running in districts NOT drawn by politicians Populations shifts will result in consolidation of districts in the Bay Area and creation of districts in the Central Valley and Inland Empire Many members will be running in significantly redrawn districts (In 1992, then Assemblyman Jim Brulte’s district was divided into 5 different Assembly districts and he ran in a new district almost 80% of which he had not represented before)
Redistricting Criteria (Priority Order) Comply with the state and federal Voting Rights Act prohibiting discrimination in voting procedures and practices Be geographically contiguous Respect boundaries of cities, counties, neighborhoods and other communities of interest Be geographically compact Be “nested”– i.e., two Assembly districts nested within each Senate district; 10 Senate districts nested in each Board of Equalization district Not consider any advantage or disadvantage to incumbents, candidates or parties
Turnout A Presidential Primary has a huge impact on voter turnout In 2008, the February stand-alone Presidential Primary had a voter turnout of 57.71% In the June 2008 Congressional/Legislative Primary, turnout was only 28.22% The Governor and Legislature have consolidated the Presidential and Congressional/Legislative primaries to June 5, 2012
Safe Seats Based upon the historical standard of “safe” verses “competitive” districts, there will likely be a few more competitive legislative and congressional districts That said, given that the top two vote-getters regardless of political party run off in the November General Election, the historical notion of “safe” districts now no longer applies If 5 GOP candidates and 2 Dem candidates run in a primary in a so called “safe” GOP seat, it is possible that the top two vote-getters would be Democrats Given that the top two vote-getters regardless of party run off in the November General Election, many GOP and Dem incumbents can no longer consider their seats “safe”
1998 Open Primary In open primaries, voters of all political parties tend to migrate to where the “battle” is: for example, in the 1998 open primary, GOP candidates in the 5th AD garnered over 67% of the vote even though the GOP registration was only 38.5% If the “Top Two” had been in place in 1998, 5th Assembly District GOP Nominee Dave Cox would have run against another Republican in November Current Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg ran for the Assembly in 1998. Instead of being the DEM nominee, he too would have run off against a member of his own political party Under the new Prop 14 rules, candidates do not need to identify their party affiliation…in fact GOP candidates can even state a preference for the Democratic Party or vice versa
Local GOP Fundraising More Important With Passage of Prop 25 (Majority Vote for State Budgets) there is some evidence the Sacramento political/special interests are providing fewer contributions to GOP legislators If two GOP incumbents are running for the same legislative seat, this will have a chilling effect on “Third House” contributions Local fundraising is less important to Democrats because they control the state Legislature and with control comes significant special interest money Because failing to run a campaign in the primary could be a career-ender, many candidates will need to raise much more money each election cycle
Independent Redistricting Creates an Opportunity for both the GOP and DEMS While many GOP legislators, donors and activists, believe a “fair” redistricting presents a GREAT opportunity, there is also a HUGE potential downside risk for the GOP as well If the Democratic Party’s consistently overwhelming financial advantage is not countered at the legislative level, it is possible that Democrats obtain a two- thirds majority in one or both houses of the state Legislature in 2012 Because the national GOP controls the US House of Representatives, they should have at least financial parity if not an outright financial advantage
Labor Could Play a Very Influential Role in the GOP “Primary” Process With Prop 14 (Open Primary) as established law, California labor unions are now talking seriously about significantly participating in GOP primaries If labor does engage is a serious way, this will have very far reaching ramifications for elections and for legislative decision-making When the business community (e.g., JobsPAC) gets involved in a Democratic Party primary election, unions, trial lawyers and environmentalists mount a counter effort As of today, there is no identifiable GOP funding operation to counter labor involvement in “GOP” primaries
Minority Growth Currently Endangering Republicans Everywhere Latinos and Asian Americans now constitute an absolute majority of Californians Latinos grew by 28% between 2000 and 2010, Asians by 31% Latinos alone now constitute an absolute majority of Californians under 18 16 counties gained between 30.1-40% in Latino population, and another seven between 20.1-30% By 2040, Latinos will comprise an absolute majority-52% of Californians
The Changing California Electorate: Whites Decline, Latinos Rise In 1994, when then Governor Pete Wilson won re-election, white voters constituted 82% of the electorate; Latino voters were only 8% By 2006, whites made up 75%, and Latinos 12% In 2010, whites were 62%, Latinos 22%. This is why Meg Whitman could carry the white vote and still lose the state by 13 points.
Average Republican % of the Vote Presidential and Governor’s Races 1994-2010 Latinos: 25.3% Asian Americans: 37.7% It is a numerical certainty that Republicans cannot continue to receive these percentages of the vote among the fastest growing voter groups, and ever expect to win statewide elections in the future.
For More Information Jim Brulte, Principal California Strategies 4254 Foxborough Drive Fontana, CA 92336 (909) 646-7525 (O) (909) 646-7522 (F) (916) 919-3097 (C) (909) 922-5039 (H) SenatorJim31@aol.com