Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cal. 50th CD Special Election

I'm getting closer to you
My fiftieth gate
But still I had to wait
At the fiftieth gate
~ At the Fiftieth Gate, Attrition
In the special election to complete Duke Cunningham's term, Francine Busby won with 44% of the vote (56,147). Brian Bilbray was the top Republican with 15% (19,336). No real surprises except the turnout was atrocious.

By percentage, Busby did about as well as expected. If I were her, I would be very disappointed. There were almost 40 thousand people who voted for Busby in 2004 who didn't vote in this election. That is a Get Out The Vote failure. Busby's campaign manager is a young gunslinger out of Colorado, Brandon Hall. I don't know how much effort he put into GOTV, perhaps he simply couldn't overcome massive apathy.

What to do now? If I'm Busby, I'd want to know where my voters went. She needs to do a quick critique of the election and find out why her message didn't click with the people who have a history of voting for her. The Republican, Brian Bilbray, is as fresh as year-old tofu. His resume - surfer turned politican turned lobbyist - is as inspiring as a rousing chorus of '99 Bottles of Beer.' I'd label him "Revolving Door Brian" and pound the theme that Bilbray is posterboy for what is wrong with modern politics.

The run-off has an interesting dynamic, it coincides with the primary election for the next term. Bilbray will likely have a contested primary election while he's engaged in the run-off. While it is interesting, I wouldn't try to get too cute with it. The important thing is beating Bilbray and winning the seat now. It is important to stay focused on that goal alone.

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