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I’ve received a steady stream of calls and e-mails about my story yesterday on how local Democrats have faired in recent elections. Among the responses were some that offered explanations for the party’s struggles and strategies that my story did not take into account.

Here are a couple:

  • The story included several politicos who criticized the party’s strategic decisions in recent years, especially regarding campaign spending via “member communications.” They questioned, for example, why the party spent $35,000 to support Stephen Whitburn in his District 3 San Diego City Council primary race against two other Democrats.

A good explanation, said a couple callers, is that often people will make donations to the party that are earmarked for a specific candidate, giving party leaders little leeway as to where the money is spent. They also pointed out that the local GOP spent heavily in support of Republican Jan Goldsmith and opposing fellow Republican Brian Maienschein in the city attorney race.

  • An e-mailer pointed out that things may have been a lot different for the Dems this decade had three Democratic councilmen (Michael Zucchet, Ralph Inzunza and Charles Lewis) not been indicted in 2003 on charges related to an alleged bribery scheme involving strip club owners. Before the scandal, the writer said, the Democrats had a 6-3 advantage on council and were poised to set the city’s agenda for years to come.

Lewis died before the case went to trial and was replaced by fellow Democrat Tony Young. But, when Zucchet and Inzunza were forced to resign, Democrats only picked up one of those two seats in the 2005 special election.

Good insights. Keep them coming.

DAVID WASHBURN

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