by Hank Sims
That time again! Most of you have already voted, being who you are, so it's time to kick back with another round of the Town Dandy's Official Election Predictions. There have been pretty good years and pretty bad years, and I make no promises as to which this will be. As David Letterman used to say, this is not a substitute for actual voting.
If you want the nut graph, it's this: My overall prediction is that there's gonna be a whole lot of November this year. I'm guessing that every major race will end with everyone below 50 percent, except for the one race where only two guys are running.
Tune back into the Blogthing tonight! We'll have people at all the victory parties, and also at the defeat parties, so we're going to be able to get you anecdotes from the scene and amusing pix. Journal correspondent John Osborn is gonna plant himself at the Elections Office, so's we can get the most up-to-date of the up-to-datest information to you.
See you then! And now, the predictions:
Start with Jackson. At minimum, she has the hardcore Republican vote locked. Throw in a small handful of law & order Democrats and independents. If recent Humboldt County electoral history is anything to go by, that gets her into the high 30s.
Hagen has a solid base in Arcata and the county's Arcata-oriented professional class -- a minority of the electorate by any measure. The question is: How much of that minority will melt away at the polls, when everyone knows that Hagen has small chances of winning? My sense is that very little of it will; there are plenty of left-liberals who are pretty much over the Gallegos mystique.
But such is not the case with the general public. Take away the Jackson and the Hagen vote and you're left with the Gallegos faithful -- a plurality. Between now and November, Jackson will have to move mountains to interrupt the Hagen voters' natural gravitational pull back into the Gallegos fold.
FIFTH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR
Unlike the gleeful handrubbers at the Humboldt Herald, and unlike one particular Friday afternoon dirt merchant, I very much doubt that the last-minute revealing of Ryan Sundberg's recent DUI arrest will have any substantial effect on the outcome of the race. Sundberg, the home-town boy, has run strong in McKinleyville from the beginning. Driving at double the legal limit is pretty deplorable -- no argument here -- but will having been arrested for doing so change anyone's vote? Doubtful.
Patrick Cleary, who had the resume and the backing to walk away with this thing early on, has run a surprisingly lackluster campaign. His radio spots are good, as would be expected, but his people haven't been able to generate the buzz.
Unlike Higgins, who went from low expectations to much higher ones. He's a darling of the hard left and has most of that vote sewn up, though his contrary position on the Marine Life Protection Act has cost him a small measure support from that quarter. There's some excitement about his campaign; still, I'm guessing that Cleary finishes ahead of him.
Jeff Lytle is a smart guy, if somewhat excitable, and he came off well in the debates. But his disdain for politics as usual -- and what's not to disdain? -- will mean that politics as usual disdains him right back.
FOURTH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR
Obviously, Jeff Leonard is the X-factor. His campaign is 100 percent ground game, without the backing of any political faction, and he is quite plainly getting some traction on both sides of the aisle. But it is near-impossible to gauge with any degree of confidence. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with half the vote I've alloted him here, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up with double it. (OK, I would be surprised if he ended up with double it.)
Apart from that, you're stuck with the same old story of Eureka in the last six years: Divided cleanly down the middle. I'd guess -- maybe counterintuitively, given some of his positions -- that Leonard draws more from the Neely base than the Bass base. I'd be shocked if we all don't get to find out if that's true come November.
Downey: 55 percent
Hislop: 45 percent
Tough one -- each candidate's supporters come from all over the political map. But think of the Sheriff's Office of today: When's the last time you heard of anybody with a serious beef? What was the last major scandal? Contrast that with the Sheriff's Office of 10 years ago, when it was the focal point of activist hatred.
Hislop has been a good debater and he'll get a boost from Gallegos supporters, but I think Downey and the status quo will take this one.
Rodoni: 46 percent
Brooks : 29 percent
Wilson: 25 percent
Johanna Rodoni draws from the same solid core of support that Allison Jackson does -- the county's rump Republican Party -- but she has perhaps been a little bit more successful in gathering friends outside that circle over the years.
The left has taken up the flag for Brooks, and so you'd expect that to be the counterweight. But there's a potential problem: The man had little name recognition before now, and outside of the county's substantial political junkies no one much cares about this contest. Wilson has few friends, politically speaking, but when people step into the ballot box not knowing anything about the job of the assessor, or anything about the candidates, their natural tendency will be to check the box next to the line that says "assistant assessor."
I think the Brooks people have gotten his name out there enough to overcome that hump, but we'll see tonight.