By Ann Nye and Fraser Perkins —
The Palos Verdes Democrats met in person and via Zoom on June 12, 2022. Featured speakers Tony Hale, President of Beach Cities Democrats, and Sergio Carrillo, Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, looked at the local, state and county primary election results. Both speakers are political consultants.
Note: the times refer to the time location in the video below.
First, Tony Hale spoke on the local Torrance election results.
01:00 Tony began his presentation saying, “Sad to say we lost Torrance.” He began with the Mayor’s race – Republican and incumbent George Chen and Democrat and former City Councilmember Cliff Numark. George Chen, the winner of the Torrance mayoral contest, enjoyed strong support in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
04:32 The reason why it takes so long to know the election results is because many of the mail-in ballots are turned in or mailed in on election day.
06:12 Tony thinks there is a big challenge for Democrats in Torrance.
12:00 Tony thought there may have been confusion by voters in the City Council District 5 race, where voters confused Republican Aurelio Mattucci with Democratic Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi – “the good guy.” This confusion hurt Democratic endorsed candidate Jean Adelsman.
17:33 Both the Democratic candidates, Dave Zygielbaum and Jimmy Gow (endorsed) lost in the District 1 race. Tony said, “the four candidates for one seat was a very tight race, but [Republican] Jon Kaji spent an enormous amount of money [raised over $80,000].” Jon Kaji, who was endorsed by George Takei, won the race. Tony felt the large number of Japanese voters in this district “tipped the scale to Kaji.”
20:13 The Torrance Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase, Measure SST, passed. Tony said, “there was a great deal of controversy over this half-cent sales tax, but unfortunately, Torrance is the fourth worst city in California for fiscal solvency.” Ironically, Haji, Mattucci and Chen were against the tax, but won their races.
21:35 The race for Torrance Treasurer wasn’t, according to Tony, “an important race, but in Torrance it was quite a dramatic contest.” The current treasurer, Dana Cortez, stopped coming to work for years and the city had to take emergency measures to function without her. Yet, she ran for re-election. Democratic endorsed candidate Tim Goodrich was able to win in the field of five candidates.
25:02 Did Torrance go for Biden?
It did go for Biden, “but this is a very different election.”
26:21 What is the election registration breakdown in Torrance?
“Democrats have an advantage, but not a strong advantage.”
Second, Sergio Carrillo spoke via Zoom on the statewide and Los Angeles County election results.
28:10 Before starting with his presentation, Sergio answered a question from Tony Hale’s talk. “Torrance voted 62.3% for Joe Biden…. which is huge.” He also wished everyone a Happy PRIDE month and said, “I’m a proud LGBT person and think I was made in God’s image and a strong Christian as well.”
29:51 “Election day is one of the greatest days of the year. It’s what I call Democracy day.” Sergio discussed how the Democratic Party makes endorsements and how the top two in a primary get selected. An interesting tidbit – if a candidate runs unopposed and a voter writes in a candidate, then the unopposed candidate from the primary has to face-off against the write-in candidate in the general election.
32:28 Voting in Local LA City and LA County Elections – a candidate must be elected by a majority vote. If a candidate gets a majority vote in the primary, then they don’t have to run again in the November general election. Local elections like Torrance, are a “run and done race.”
33:19 Overall State Primary election results – “I’m proud to announce 99% of Democratic endorsed candidates won [in the June 7 primary] up and down the state of California.”
39:53 County-level election results included two races for Board of Supervisors – District 1 Hilda Solis “was re-elected very easily,” since she won the majority; District 3 ended up with the top two finishers being two Democrats, Bob Hertzberg and Lindsey Horvath, to replace Sheila Kuehl’s vacant seat.
41:55 In the County Assessor race, Democratic endorsed candidate Jeffrey Prang fell short of winning a majority and will face a run-off in November.
42:06 “The big race is the race for LA County Sheriff.” Sergio believes Villaneuva won four years ago, “because he was Latino and endorsed by the Democratic Party.” In the Primary, incumbent sheriff, Alex Villaneuva didn’t win a majority and will face former Chief of Police of Long Beach, Robert Luna. Both are Democrats and are eligible to receive an endorsement by the Democrats.
44:35 LA Mayoral Race top two finishers “are both Democrats (officially)”, Rick Caruso and Congresswoman Karen Bass. Rick Caruso became a Democrat in January and spent a lot of money attacking Karen Bass. “Whatever you think, I think we’ll have a healthy debate on ideas.” Rick Caruso never sought the Democrat endorsement in the Primary and thus is unable to ask for it for the November election.
48:00 LA City Attorney Race candidate Kevin James (former conservative talk show host) did not do well even though he had the most endorsements. To date, the top vote getter is Faisal Gill, who Sergio thought was the most progressive on the list and the second vote getter is Marina Torres, who Sergio is predicting will keep her second-place position.
50:10 LA City Controller Race favorite for a long time was Paul Koretz, but Kenneth Mejia ran a grassroots campaign and did really well, coming in first. Both will face off in November.
51:20 LA City Council Races saw “all the endorsed Democratic incumbents winning their races comfortably” despite all the campaign drama. Locally, here in San Pedro, the Democratic endorsed candidate Tim McOsker came in first place.
52:38 County Judge Races saw Democratic endorsements in 8 of the 9 races and three of the endorsed candidates will advance to the November runoff and one, Carol Elswick, won her seat out-right. Elswick is a current judge and has been re-elected.
53:22 Long Beach, the second largest city in the county had a race for Mayor. The Democratic endorsed candidate, Rex Richardson, was the top vote getter, but his closest opponent, Suzie Price, is less than three points away. “That’s going to be a really tough race in November. It’s really a true moderate against a true progressive [Richardson].”
54:20 Sergio explains how he believes elections really work. He emphasized the importance of multiple contacts with each voter. Based on his experience, most voters need between 7 and 10 impressions (like a door knock, mail, email, telephone call or text) before they even remember a candidate‘s name. “The best impressions are the mail …. and the average voter looks at a piece of mail for seven seconds.” LA County updates the voting file every single day and Sergio says he knows when you have voted. The best campaigns update their list every day. If you voted they stop contacting you. Sergio’s personal opinion for why there was a dismal voter turnout in this election was because “there was nothing scary on the ballot and people vote when they are scared.”
58:30 Sergio feels there may be a ballot measure in the November election that puts into our state constitution a guarantee that a woman has a right to choose. “That will force voters to turn out to vote” and enshrine that right in our constitution. The only right that was taken away in CA was Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage. Editor’s Note: In 2008, Prop 8 was created by opponents of same-sex marriage in advance of the CA Supreme Court’s May 2008 ruling that found the previous ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 22, 2000) unconstitutional. Not until 2013, when the Supreme Court dismissed the Prop 8 proponents argument, sending the case back to the Ninth Circuit, which then dismissed the appeal, was Governor Jerry Brown able to resume same-sex marriages.
1:01:05 With lots of candidates running, there are a lot of folks trying to make those 7 to 10 impressions. Sergio is talking about the average voter not members of a Democratic Club.
1:04:00 Tony commented that in large part, the voters returning the vote-by-mail ballots were permanent vote-by-mail voters; namely, they had signed up for this before California mandated that everyone receive a vote-by-mail ballot.
1:05:08 Using his brother as an example, Sergio commented on how “we don’t target every voter. We look at what is the high propensity of voters.” And, he said, a small percentage of voters are early voters.