For the June Primary I asked campaigns to send in pictures of their candidate with a dog. Steven Hintz and Heather Lacayo won the contest and went on to win their elections. Is there a strong connection? Probably not.
For this election I am asking candidates to take pictures of their signs as they campaign across Ventura County. I will post every entry with the winners being announced the night before the election. The goal is to make it difficult, but not impossible, for readers to determine where the picture was taken. I want readers to look at the picture for clues and then post a comment with their guesses. The more specific the guess the better.
Like all of my blog entries you don't need to register to post a comment. But please keep it classy. The reader that accurately answers the most challenges will also be recognized.
There will be several awards campaigns can win. So, campaigns can send in multiple entries. I am thinking about categories like most memorable location, most obscure, funniest, best representation of a city, and a few others. Feel free to post suggestions with new categories. I will be asking The Star to cover this contest in the print edition and with online ads. They did support the cutest dog contest with a link on the front page and I expect they will do the same this time. So start taking pictures. To submit a picture send it to me at my email address posted on the right side of this page or upload it to my Facebook page for my blog.
For this first entry let's see who can most accurately determine where Treasurer / Tax Collector candidate Steven Hintz was when it was taken. Thanks to Steven Hintz for getting this contest started.
This contest was inspired by blogger Andrew Sullivan's View from your window blog posts that have now been made into a book.
I post unscientific polls for a variety of reasons including to gauge the intensity of support for a candidate. In the election for Clerk-Recorder my poll wasn't widely off from the official election results:
Here is my analysis of why Mark Lunn won:
1. Low Voter Turn Out Among Democratic Voters.
Republicans had two statewide primaries of consequence, the gubernatorial primary and the senate primary. Democrats didn't have tough choices to make nor could they go out to defeat major Republican candidates. Barack Obama won Ventura County but those same voters didn't have as many reasons to show up to support Jerry Brown when he was the only candidate running or to vote in races like Clerk / Recorder.
2. He ran a great campaign.
He was able to get early endorsements from people like former Ventura County Democratic Central Committee Chair Hank Lacayo and other impressive figures. He didn't identify Lacayo as a Democrat on all of his materials but his name does appeal to some people. Mark Lunn was able to attract support from a Democratic Chair and from Tea Party activists that think Barack Obama was born in another country. That is impressive for a candidate running for a nonpartisan seat. I wonder if they asked him if he will be checking birth certificates?
3. Name ID.
Mark Lunn had many more signs across Simi Valley than Jim Dantona did. Signs don't win many elections but in a contest with so little interest from average voters they can be very effective. I wouldn't advise candidates to rely upon them at the expense of other more important tools but they do help.
4. He had a better ballot designation.
Running for a position that many voters cannot properly identify the responsibilities forcs a candidate to either spend money and time explaining the position or as Mark Lunn did effectively work on building trust. His ballot designation lets voters know many people trust him.
5. A weak Ventura County Democratic Central Committee.
The VCDCC didn't draft a candidate early nor did they all rally around Jim Dantona as their candidate. For those committee members that did rally around him they didn't have the same financial resources or organization that the Ventura County Republican Party is able to use to help their candidates. The VCRCC might rely upon toxic interest groups like tobacco companies but they have money to support their candidates.
6. The backgrounds of the candidates.
What I like about Jim Dantona is he is willing to work hard when everything isn't given to him. Other candidates only run for safe positions but Jim Dantona ran against an incumbent supervisor and a powerfully connected Chief of Staff to a supervisor. That said he does have weaknesses that make it harder for him to get his message out. Although he has explained factors that contributed to his bankruptcies they obviously cost him more votes than he gains back from his explanations. And those explanations require resources from the campaign.
7. An early start.
Mark Lunn started his campaign earlier. That allowed him to build up a strong list of people endorsing him before Team Dantona could either ask the same people to endorse him or at least stay neutral. That's a tip for a novice candidate. If you can't get someone to endorse you then you can ask them to stay neutral. It flatters people to think they are so important they could tip an election and it is sometimes less risky than endorsing a candidate.
Both candidates ran strong campaigns and I appreciate them putting their name on the line for us to have a choice. I don't like to vote for a candidate when there is only one choice. I almost always skip voting or write-in a different candidate. I am thankful Jim Dantona gave us a choice.
What are your explanations for the outcome of this election? Which of my observations do you agree with?
For months I have been questioning why Mark Lunn didn't include increasing voter registration and participation in his platform but I am glad to see this in a recent article:
Turnout in Tuesday's primary election was about 27 percent, something he wants to see improved. "I will continue to work to do my best to get people to come to the polls," he said.
Click on continue reading for Mark Lunn's thank you to his supporters.
There are 100 candidates now: on July 16, the top 10 move to the next round.
Tim Allison - is currently number 30.
I am glad to see local Democrats have realized more and more that they will need outside help to change Ventura County. Online activists, of both parties, frequently help out candidates across the country. Tim Allison isn't favored to win so far but it isn't because of his lack of effort. Beating an incumbent that isn't tarnished by a major scandal is a tough task.
After each election I post an entry asking readers to send me pictures of campaign signs that campaigns haven't removed yet. This sign is at the corner of Alamo and Texas in Simi Valley. The June 8th election was almost a month ago but Peter Foy's sign remains.
So far Peter Foy has the record for a sign up from the primary. Send me any pictures of other signs and included the location information. I won't post your name unless you ask me to include it. With only a few weeks before we start seeing signs for general election candidates let's get the old signs removed. Let's see which party's candidates leave their signs up the longest. So far Peter Foy for the Republicans is holding the record.
This blast from the past picture is of Tony Strickland many years ago when he was working on a campaign posing with some of the signs from the opposition. Click here to see what I wrote when I first posted this picture. Short version: I think it was after a campaign, Calitics.com thinks it was during a campaign. Either way, it was a long time ago.
After every election there are a few stray signs standing. Sometimes candidate forgot where they put them and sometimes their supporters that put them up didn't let the campaign know where they placed them. I don't mind seeing signs all over the place during an election season. Part of me sees it as evidence of a vibrant democracy but part of me is frustrated that candidates need to reach out to voters without much substance. That said we all know they are a part of modern democracy.
But now it is time for those signs to be cleaned up. Send me any pictures of stray signs across Ventura County that you see that remain posted. Let me know the location and if you want me to use your name. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and let's work together to clean up from the primary.
(The photos above were taken by Sojka supporters Don Norris and Kevin Underwood. Send in your photos from your events and I will keep posting them.)
Steve Sojka is running for Mayor of Simi Valley against Bob Huber, although with Rep. Elton Gallegly helping Huber out the joke is a council member is running against a Member of Congress. Time will tell if other candidates declare they are running or if local Democratic activists will support either of the candidates.
The election isn't until November but Steve Sojka's campaign has fully started campaigning with fundraisers, precinct walks and more.
I will post pictures from either of the candidates of their precinct walks, phonebanks, or other campaign activities.
It is going to be a long summer for these candidates.
Supervisor Linda Parks with two Firefighters that worked on her GOTV operation.
Like many of you I thought the contest between Audra Strickland and Linda Parks would be close. I don't have much to add to what Timm Herdt and Eric Ingemunson have already written. If the race was close then it would be easy to dismiss arguments like the voters have rejected negative campaigning. But with a stunning defeat many factors are likely true.
Mike Osbourn tried to blame the money unions spent on the race but that can't be the prime cause when the VCRCC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Audra Strickland. They can't blame turnout when Republican turnout was much higher than DTS and Democratic voters. Besides, blaming turnout admits that Audra Strickland didn't have cross party appeal.
Blaming incumbency doesn't work either because both of the candidates currently represent most of the same people. Incumbency is usually very powerful because of name ID and the ability to raise money. Audra Strickland's supporters can't claim those worked against her because she is a well-known elected official and she was very-well funded.
I was amused that Audra Strickland's team played so many games including demanding that a fundrasier of hers or a past candidate against Linda Parks moderate a debate. She might have technically been correct that Linda Parks didn't demand a neutral moderator but did her team really think the news stories on the issue would look good to voters?
I don't know exactly what motivated voters to reject Audra Strickland's arguments or I would put it in a binder and sell it to other politicians. What do you think influenced voters the most?
It is approximately the % by which Linda Parks defeated Audra Strickland and it is also the approximate number of negative mailers Audra Strickland sent out during the campaign.
Over the next few weeks I will review some of the other campaigns. Next up: The Clerk / Recorder race.
Fellow Ventura County Star Blogger Eric Eric Ingemunson posted that Jeff Gorell swept Kern County by claiming the only vote in the Republican Primary. That was so funny I went to the elections page and found out that Democrat Ferial Masry also earned the only vote in the Democratic Primary.
Being that these two candidates have tied in Kern County I suggest that Eric and I travel with the candidates to hold a debate for these voters. Sure it wouldn't normally be a wise use of campaign time but I am confident it will attract media attention.
This photo was posted on Facebook from inside Geoff Dean's victory party. Thanks to Albert Chen for permission to post it. Here is what Albert Chen wrote about the party:
A great ending to an amazing campaign. Sheriff Elect Geoff Dean celebrated his Ventura County Sheriff's election party in Thousand Oaks, CA with a short speech thanking his family, all of his supporters, volunteers, and campaign manager Nancy Frawley. As testimony to his support base, Dean noted that campaign volunteers walked over 25,000 homes in Ventura County. Keeping to his promise, Dean ran a positive campaign from start to finish. Some notable attendees included Supervisor Kathy Long, Oxnard Police Chief John Cronbach, Tim Allison and many others. KCAL 9 ran television coverage and Scott Hadley reported on behalf of the Ventura County Star.
Here is the link for Ventura County elections:
Here is the link for statewide elections:
I am really enjoying their map function that enables you to see the base of support for candidates. I have been very impressed with the job Debra Bowen has been doing.
This is an open thread.
What's on your mind? What do you think of the way my blog covered the local campaigns? What are some of your initial reactions to the results?
Post the reactions at any election night parties you are at or post the locations for your supporters.
Send me any pictures from the night you want me to post.
I have been running a contest to find the top political animal in Ventura County. I was inspired by Mark Lunn who posted a picture of himself with his pug and a campaign sign on Facebook. To take a break from all of the seriousness and negativity that has recently been dominating politics I made it into a contest.
As I said I was going to do I asked a couple of little children to pick the winner. Here are some of their comments:
That dog is too big.
Look at the orange dog ( the dog on the sign)
That's a wolf!
Neither of the children are in kindergarten yet so I believe their ability to detect a cute dog is very high.
A consensus emerged and Steven Hintz's little white dog was the winner.
I also had a poll for my readers to choose their favorite political animal. A few of the candidates used Facebook and asked their friends to vote for their dog. I can usually tell when one person tries to vote multiple times and I feel confident this poll is as accurate as online polls get.
Some candidates entered recently and didn't have time during the last few days of the election season to get their supporters to vote in an online cute dog poll.
I really appreciate candidates sending in photos of their dogs. I think it helps to remind each other that although we are often political opponents what unites us is stronger than what divides us. I am glad I didn't have to judge the contest as I had several pictures I really liked.
How do you think the local elections are going to turn out? Post a comment with your predictions. I have as a prize a ticket to see State Senator Tony Strickland's basketball team play for the person that gets the closest in predicting the margin of difference in the campaigns for Sheriff, Clerk Recorder, and Treasurer Tax Collector.
I will not taunt any losing candidate nor will I celebrate too much the victory of any candidate. I remember that the night Barack Obama won he said:
"This victory alone is not the change we seek; it is only the chance for us to make that change."
Many of the candidates running have been slandered, seen friendships torn apart, and have been mocked for the ways they ran their campaigns. These candidates have put their reputation on the line and their name on the ballot to be voted for or against by people they may never meet.
To the hardworking candidates of different backgrounds and ideologies I am posting this Theodore Roosevelt quote for you:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Thanks for giving Ventura County voters choices in this season and showing us what a robust democracy looks like locally. In many contests I know we have some decent choices. Because of that I don't feel like telling my readers how to vote in each of those contests.
My blog isn't going away just because this season has ended. There are many candidates and issues to cover over the summer as we approach November.
I appreciate my readers and the people that post comments. You don't have to register to post but please keep it classy. Thanks for the massive surge in readership over the last few months.
Ventura County Tea Party Leader Carla Bonney recently addressed the Simi Valley Republican Women Federated Group. The group posted the video of their event including the entire speech which I think is a great public service.
Still, Bonney wouldn't rule out the idea that Obama isn't a natural-born U.S. citizen. The state of Hawaii has vouched for his birth there, and his campaign released a copy of his birth certificate in 2008. "I have no idea whether or not he's a citizen," Bonney said. She doesn't budge on this. When told that Hawaiian newspapers carried birth announcements for Obama, she counters that Kenyans believe he was born there. "I don't really know," she said. "That's pure speculation, I don't get involved in that."
At the local Tea Party website you can find videos and blog posts supporting the debunked conspiracy that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. There is even a blog post supporting Orly Taitz, a fringe candidate running for California Secretary of State. Taitz has filed numerous junk lawsuits claiming Barack Obama is not eligible to be president and has even been fined for it.
I didn't attend but one of the attendees said that Republican candidates Mike Judge, Lela Henke Dobroth, Steven Hintz, Ryan Wright, Peter Foy, Jeff Gorell, Mark Lunn, and Elton Gallegly came to listen to Carla Bonney speak and to meet with club members.
It is interesting that Mark Lunn attended because he has been trying to distance himself from the Tea Party and has denied even going to their website. I don't see a problem with any candidate going to a variety of websites to learn more about the people they want to represent but his strong denial is strange being that he Rsvped for the event and attended it when the guest speaker was Carla Bonney.
Mark Lunn has denied being a member of the Tea Party ( which is obviously true being that nobody is officially a member of it) even though he has a profile on their local website, the local group supports him, and he attended an event where the main speaker is the leader of the local Tea Party group.
Why not just admit you like their Tea? Other candidates including Steven Hintz is proud to have support from members of this group and post on their website.
I watched the video and here are some short observations:
She called President Barack Obama a dictator multiple times.
I would like someone to ask the candidates that were there, on the record, if they think Barack Obama is a dictator.
She strongly supports Rep. Elton Gallegly.
That isn't a big surprise but reinforces my argument that the local Tea Party group is basically a faction or caucus in The Republican Party. They are the new California Republican Assembly, a group that shares their values.
She has read multiple versions of the Healthcare Insurance Reform Bill.
If she has really read literally thousands of pages of different versions of the Healthcare Insurance Reform Bill I really respect her for that dedication. I doubt members of congress that voted for or against it really read the whole bill.
She strongly suggests Republican activists use Facebook and send friend requests to many people listed on Republican websites.
She didn't mention Farmville but if she could rally support against it we will have more in common. I do agree with her that Facebook is an amazing tool for campaigns.
She had a blast at Rep. Lois Capps' Town Hall Meeting.
She didn't mention that Rep. Gallegly didn't hold any town hall forums on Healthcare Insurance Reform even though all other area Representatives, of both parties did.
She likes Fox News and Glenn Beck.
No surprise there.
Thinks American is moving towards communism.
She said Barack Obama came back from Indonesia with an attitude.
I looked it up and I think young Barack Obama was 11 when he came back from Indonesia. I wonder what 11 year old Barack Obama was thinking about the relationship between capitalism and democracy.
She supports new laws to make voters prove their identity to vote and she mentioned Mark Lunn could be in charge of local elections.
I am curious how much voter fraud ( not voter registration fraud) happens. When candidates for high office have histories of not voting I am not convinced there are conspiracies to commit felonies to alter the outcomes of local elections.