Jackson-Strickland: Not head-to-head, but...

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In anticipation of the most competitive partisan political campaign Ventura County has seen in more than 20 years, partisans on both sides were watching Tuesday's results to see which of two unopposed candidates got the most votes.

It is a meaningless number, since at least two and a half times as many voters will participate in November's election as voted yesterday, but still... It's something to talk about.

So here's what happened:

Republican state Senate candidate Tony Strickland pulled in 50,756 votes.
Democratic state Senate candidate Hannah-Beth Jackson got 47,825.

Advantage Strickland?

Republican Central Committee Chairman Mike Osborn thinks so. "Last night sends a message," Osborn told me this afternoon. "Tony's showing yesterday is going to cut off some of the money Hannah-Beth was expecting."

What it shows is that turnout ran about according to registration, but -- as is typically the case in low-turnout elections, Republicans voted a little more reliably than Democrats. Republicans hold a 2 percentage-point edge in the district, and Strickland got about 3 percent more of the combined Republican and Democratic votes.

In November, there will be a lot more Republicans and Democrats casting ballots -- and a whole lot more independents.

"You saw her strong support, you saw our strong support," Osborn said. "I think my guy will win over more independents."

For comparison, consider that in 2004 -- a higher turnout primary -- 169,765 votes were cast in the district in June. That November -- likely a lower turnout general election that this year's will be -- 384,450 ballots were cast.

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com