by Hilary Hodge
Elizabeth Betancourt will move to the General Special Election on November 5th.
The exciting news: it was a first-place finish for the Democrat, Elizabeth Betancourt!!
Election results as of 4:51 p.m. Wednesday (100% of precincts reporting)
- Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt (28,223 votes or 39%)
- Republican Megan Dahle (26,136 votes or 36.1%)
- Republican Patrick Jones (12,659 votes or 17.5%)
- Republican Joseph Turner (4,031 votes or 5.6%)
- Republican Lane Rickard (1,324 votes or 1.8%)
Because California has a top-two primary system, Elizabeth Betancourt will face Megan Dahle in November.
Why is this significant?
While voter registration in Nevada County sees a Democratic majority over Republicans with 24,677 registered Democrats over 22,252 Republicans as of Feb 10th, 2019, the overall Assembly District is quite “red” with 112,932 Republicans, or 40.44% of registered voters, and 78,066 Democrats, or 27.95% of registered voters. Elizabeth’s first-place win was huge for this district.
But if you’ve looked at the math and thought about the fact that the other people in the race were Republicans, you probably wonder if those votes will most likely go to Megan Dahle in the General Election on November 5th. If so, Elizabeth Betancourt has quite the uphill battle to win in November.
Let’s get a look at the big picture.
While the election hasn’t been certified by the Secretary of State’s office yet, based on the reports from precincts reporting, only 72,373 people voted in the Assembly District 1 special election primary, just 26% of registered voters. There are reportedly 279,278 total registered voters in Assembly district 1.
Of the 28,223 votes that Elizabeth Betancourt received in the Primary Special Election, 10,239 of those votes, or 54.1%, came from Nevada County. Remember, there are 24,677 registered Democrats in Nevada County.
In the General Special Election held on June 4th 2019, for the vacated State Senate seat for Senate District 1, 156,672 of registered voters showed up on Election Day. Senate District 1 has 594,108 registered voters and covers nearly twice the geography of Assembly District 1. The General Special Election for State Senate saw only 26% of voters turn out, a decline from the 33% who turned out in the Special Primary Election.
Again, there are 279,278 registered voters in Assembly District 1. Let’s follow the math.
72,373 people voted in the special election for Assembly District 1. The Republicans got 61% of the vote (44,150) and the Democrat got 39% of the vote (28,223) with 26% of registered voters turning out.
If voter turnout in the General Special Election for Assembly District 1 stays at 26%, (like it did in June for the State Senate special election), and the Republican vs Democrat turnout remains the same at 61% vs 39%, then approximate voter turn out would be 72,373 voters. If nothing else changed, we would see a turn out of 44,150 Republicans and 28,223 Democrats, a difference of 15,927.
If there were no other variables, we would need to turn out more than 57% of all registered Democrats in the District for a win in November’s Special Election. If historical voter turn out is any indication, we need approximately 44,151 people to vote for Elizabeth Betancourt on November 5th.
21% of Assembly District 1 is No Party Preference. So there are other variables. And, while we know that No Party Preference Voters lean Democratic and/or Progressive, this is still an uphill battle.
In the 2018 General Election with a Gubernatorial Race on the ballot in California, Assembly District 1 turned out 71% of the vote and 73,449 people voted for the Democrat in the Assembly District 1 Race. We know how hard we worked in 2018.
So the question is, how hard are we willing to work now?
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