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Jennifer Tierney had two jobs this election: Get Sherri Lightner elected in the 1st District of the City Council, and do the same for Todd Gloria in the 3rd District.

Jobs well done.

While Republicans complain about the blue tsunami that wrecked their sandcastles, it’s important to note a couple of facts: The moment the registrar of voters released the results of many absentee votes sent in days and weeks before the election, Lightner had a strong lead over her rival, Republican Phil Thalheimer.

This means simply that no wave of new Obama voters was needed at all to put Lightner over the line. She won with the voters who vote every election and who used to be reliably Republican in the 1st District.

Republicans should internalize this and learn from it rather than writing off their loss as the unfortunate consequence of a nationwide Democratic stomping.

Tierney worked to make this happen. She is not your average San Diego political consultant. She actually lives in Virginia and — even in a polarized political environment — she still works for both Democrats and Republicans, having orchestrated the wishes of liberals like Lightner and Gloria and Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

She had no easy task in the District 3 race. The local Democratic Party and the Labor Council were bizarrely at odds over the race, which pitted two pretty liberal candidates against each other. The party ended up spending thousands on the race. Again, this was somewhat bizarre, considering how close the race in District 7 turned out to be — money spent there shoring up the victory would not have been wasted.

Tierney’s job in this confusion was to help Gloria make it clear he was a Democrat but also that he was perhaps slightly more moderate than his opponent, Stephen Whitburn. This would allow him to stay on top of Democratic enthusiasm but also garner the votes of some of the few Republican or center-right voters in the 3rd District.

It worked. And it worked even though Whitburn spent a bundle of his own money in the race and his passionate supporters, including City Councilwoman Donna Frye, worked extremely hard for him.

District 3 was going to go to a Democrat no matter what. Maybe someday, a new Republican will appeal to the district, but for now, it’s hard to imagine. Given that, the district was lucky to have two eloquent and passionate men racing against each other — testing and challenging each other — for the post.

Gloria, it turns out, was lucky to have Tierney.

SCOTT LEWIS

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