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San Diego residents casts their vote on Election Day 2018. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

We’ve all gotten used to it but still not very used to it: Election Day comes. The polls close. We see the results that night and then, day by day, five or six races remain too close to call and their margins shift gradually. It’s so gradual. It happens over so long of a period that it’s sometimes hard to take note of just how much it changed.

Well, political consultant Mason Herron decided to crunch the numbers and see just how much each major race changed from Election Night to the final tally. We talked to him about the report he made public this week.

First, he confirmed the obvious: Democrats gain ground after Election Night, as absentees and provisional votes are all counted. Even though most people mail in their ballots early now, that’s still something a lot of Republicans do. Democrats do very well on Election Day voting. The Registrar of Voters finishes Election Day with hundreds of thousands of votes left to count. In California, if you mail your absentee ballot in the day before the election, it counts even if it comes in after Election Day.

But the numbers are pretty interesting.

Herron said that, after election night, Republicans can generally expect to lose 4.7 percentage points, and Dems can expect to gain that. It can vary widely.

Check out the top 10 races that shifted the most after Election Day:

Data courtesy of Mason Herron

Herron said he was particularly interested in those North County city council races. The overlapping and fierce contests for Congress may have made the shifts even more dramatic in Vista (where Mike Levin’s congressional campaign was very active turning out late voters) and Escondido (where Ammar Campa-Najar had a similar operation).

The change was most dramatic for races on the state level where partisanship has long defined the contests. For local, municipal races, though, where partisanship hasn’t always been a defining factor, the shift was less dramatic. “Democratic candidates gained, in aggregate, 2.18% of the vote share between Election Night and the certified results, while Republicans lost 2.36%,” Herron wrote.

Herron said he was just personally curious. So he wrote an incredibly detailed, interesting report. As one does.

County District 2 Race Could Be Amazing

SANDAG board and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano

This week we learned that Poway Mayor Steve Vaus has thrown his cowboy hat into the ring for the county supervisor race in 2020 to succeed Dianne Jacob, who will be termed out. Jacob endorsed him in his launch video — all the Republican supervisors did, in fact. So did Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

I have a soft spot: Vaus was one of the few SANDAG board members who read and thoughtfully considered our reporting on SANDAG. They raised concerns that our reporting had established the agency would not be able to make good on its promises for transportation improvements made to voters to get approval for a 2004 tax extension. Even though we were derided and discounted, we were right. Says, SANDAG. This was remarkable news to get Friday. Finally, the most important revelation Andrew Keatts dug up was verified.

Anyway, back to the race: Vaus is a conservative who just easily won re-election in Poway.

Joel Anderson, the former state senator, had laid claim to the seat from the Republican side but has been off the radar since he lost the race for Board of Equalization to the kooky former San Diego City Councilman slumlord Mike Schaefer. Anderson still has some money set aside for the race.

And then there’s this: Tom Lemmon, the loose cannon head of the coalition of labor unions known as the Building Trades Council, has let it be known that he is considering running for the seat. He owns a home in East County.

Tom Lemmon is the business manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This, of course, would be bananas. The district is pretty conservative but Lemmon would make a ton of noise, and labor could then put in play two potential pickups as it tries to flip the Board of Supervisors.

Asked if he was considering running, Lemmon said, “I’m putting the pieces together.”

Could Lemmon Win?

John Cox beat Gavin Newsom in the governor’s race in the areas that make up the district 54 percent to 46 and Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton 49 percent to 44 percent in the district (Thanks to Lucas O’Connor for running those numbers quickly for me). Again, the district is pretty conservative. But Lemmon could be kind of a phenomenon and Campa-Najjar showed how close an Democrat can get when they run a strong-well funded campaign.

Though he did face a very troubled rival. And he still lost.


Interesting event alert: I will be moderating a panel for the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, developer Ginger Hitzke and lawyer (and mayoral candidate) Cory Briggs will discuss affordable housing, NIMBYs vs. YIMBYs and the prospects of building housing around transit.

It’s March 6 at 7 p.m. at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center.

If we are truly entering a time of total Democratic dominance in local politics, this will be one of the major rifts. Plenty of Dems have no interest in accommodating more housing near them and plenty of them are pushing exactly that.

Related, check out this point, counterpoint: Briggs put out a kind of manifesto on Facebook slamming the movement dubbed YIMBY, which is advocating for more housing near transit and the easing of restrictions on building it. He wants to halt all their proposals being considered by the City Council until they have been studied more.

That brought this thoughtful response from writer Doug Porter. “Cory deserves to be heard, and we need somebody with a good eye for detail watching over what’s is about to happen in our city. The defensiveness oozing between the words in this tract diminishes the strength of his arguments,” Porter wrote.

A Tweet That Got Our Attention: This one comes from Chris Reed, the U-T editorial writer: “In a spectacularly blunt interview with U-T editorial board, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, assails police and teacher unions for bad faith. Says 91% graduation claim in 2017 by San Diego Unified is ludicrous & wonders if those who believe it also believe in unicorns.”

I got a statement from the Unicorns Association of America: “We don’t respond to unnecessary smears. Assemblywoman Weber should be busy solving the problems of California’s youth not crushing their dreams.”

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Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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