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Eighteen months ago, local think tank analyst Vince Vasquez made just one wrong pick in our Election Day contest. It scuttled his chance at a free lunch and the glory of seeing his name in digital print. So when he tried again this year, he armed himself with polls and historical data from the San Diego City Clerk’s Office.

“I was more determined than ever to win this time around,” Vasquez said.

And he did. Vasquez and U-T San Diego editorialist Chris Reed correctly predicted the results of eight city of San Diego, San Diego County, state and federal races, including two questions about the San Diego mayor’s race. They bested the 118 others who entered our contest, which included elected officials and some of the region’s top business and labor leaders.

Their prize? A free lunch with Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis and me. It’ll be on Lewis’ dime because I beat him in the rubber match of our Election Day bets. I now lead the series over Lewis 2-1.

While Vasquez’s approach was scientific — he used results from the 2004 City Council race in District 1 to predict Democratic incumbent Sherri Lightner’s total — Reed tried not to overthink things. He figured it would be a low-turnout primary that favored conservatives.

“Once I made the determination that the intensity was on the right, it was kind of easy,” Reed said.

Vasquez said his hardest pick was Republican Steve Danon’s total in the county supervisor race. His gut told him that Danon, who had been campaigning for almost three years, would win outright in the primary. But his mind told him that Danon was going up against two current officeholders, which would drag down his total. Danon received 33 percent of the vote, less than our 36 percent line.

Reed’s toughest choice was on Proposition A, the city’s ban on mandated union-friendly contracting deals. He believed the campaign against Prop. A was effective, but received an email from a political operative on Election Day who foretold great success. Reed switched his pick and Prop. A won an overwhelming victory at the polls.

It also turns out that this isn’t Reed’s first rodeo. He’s won three NCAA March Madness office pools and a Super Bowl trivia contest at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas nine years ago. He auctioned his prize, a football signed by Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka, on eBay.

This time, he’ll have to settle for some free dim sum.

One last note. We’re aware that the U.S. Congress primary between Unified Port of San Diego commissioner Scott Peters and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña remains razor thin. If Saldaña jumps ahead of Peters we’ll add another lunch.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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