by Hank Sims
It's that time of year again -- time for predictions, the fun part of election season! We'll all be back tomorrow night to live-blog the holy hell out of the election night parties as the results pour in, but the blather begins now.
I've given up hectoring people, but I will issue a friendly reminder. If you have any inclination to vote in this election, tomorrow's your last day. If you're unsure of your polling place, contact the Humboldt County Office of Elections. Caveat emptor: Please, please do not take anything below as evidence that the election is already over -- my lifetime record as a prognosticator is a B- at best. (See here and here and here.)
I say it's going to pass, despite recent shlumpy poll numbers. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I want to believe that the Broadus Effect is real. Let's give it a 52-48 margin of victory statewide. Certainly Humboldt County is going to flop big for it, self-interest be damned. I'm saying it's a 57-43 vote in the county, with a lot of industry types joining the rump conservative establishment in a mostly futile attempt to keep government-sponsored price control efforts in place.
Moonbeam. A great Silicon Valley fortune squandered.
Bad news for Krazy Karly: Babs is back.
Ignoring the long odds, incumbent Bonnie Neely has only stepped up her campaign since the primary. No dice, however: There was just too much ground to make up. Look for Virginia Bass to win over the bulk of the Jeff Leonard vote, and also to benefit from a likely Measure N GOTV effort. Neely has undoubtedly fired up her own base and is an incomparable political fighter, but with only 30 percent of the vote at the primary it just doesn't look good. Bass, 58-42.
Hoo boy, tough one! Start with the numbers from the June election: Ryan Sundberg, 39 percent; Patrick Cleary, 31 percent; Pat Higgins, 26.6 percent. One would have naturally expected most of the Higgins voters to go to Cleary, coming as they do from the leftish side of the aisle. But Cleary needs around 60 percent of the Higgins vote to go his way if he expects to take this thing, and there is some doubt that he can actually pull that off. Sundberg, a McKinleyville native and a leader of the Trinidad Rancheria, seems to have won the ground battle; his signs are everywhere. Some prominent enviro types -- Patty Clary and Bill Kier -- are in Sundberg's camp. The candidate has more personal connections in the district, and the fact that he would be the first county supervisor of Native American descent could be a powerful pull in the county's most Native district.
Still, I think that Cleary is going to come out on top. He's been working the hustings, and people who meet him mostly seem to like what they hear. He'll get the Higgins 60 percent, and other assorted factors -- mostly the historically larger turnout in general elections -- will play in his favor. I'm gonna call it for Cleary, 52-48.
It was pretty close to neck-and-neck in the primary, with Paul Gallegos at 40 percent and Allison Jackson at 37. Then you have the third- and fourth-place finishers: Paul Hagen at 18 percent, Kathleen Bryson at 4. Let's give the Bryson vote to Jackson and call it even. Hagen voters are technocratic liberals, mostly Arcata-based. Where do they go?
It's still heresy to say it out loud, but the great secret of the Gallegos constituency is how many people in the camp are, truth be told, sick to death of the man. I have seen radical lefty Humboldt State professors roll their eyes and gag when his name comes up. I have talked to more than one person on his endorsement list who half-hates himself for allowing his name to be used. The question is: What will these people do in the privacy of the voting booth?
My guess is that they will vote Gallegos. The more self-aware of them will live with a certain level of self-loathing for the next four years, but they will do it nonetheless. At this point, Gallegos is not so much a politician or a prosecutor as the transubstantiated spirit of prog rule, the God that holds the good ol' boys at bay. He must be propitiated. This factor, combined with the fact that the immensely sketchy though always capable Richard Salzman is running his campaign, combined with the fact that the Jackson political team is nowhere near as bloodthirsty or ruthless or competent, means that Gallegos takes this sucker 52-48.
Side note: If this were Hagen v. Gallegos right now, you'd be looking at a very different equation. Many lefties would be giving themselves permission to sin, and law-and-order voters would still have a candidate who would take them seriously. Hagen would take this thing in a walk. Wise up, conservatives.
The question is whether the $100,000-plus dollars that SoHum political figure Johanna Rodoni has raised and spent to win this downticket office will overcome the fact that Mari Wilson has "assistant assessor" next to her name on the ballot. The latter is all that a huge number of people will know about this huge snoozer of an office, and that huge number will vote accordingly.
I say that her vast expenditures and name recognition win the day for Rodoni this time around. Rodoni, 53-47.
I haven't seen any polling numbers, but the people who have are either giddy with the smell of certain victory or else resigned to crushing defeat. It wasn't even fought. Ever ask yourself why? Let's be (ahem) conservative and say Measure N wins 60-40.
Peter LaVallee is an uplifting sort of soul who somehow comes off like a big-city mayor, and is fondly remembered by many for his fighting spirit during his last tenure in this office, when the Eureka culture war was at its highest pitch. However, the preternaturally cool and collected, somehow Zen-like Frank Jager is now accustomed to slicing through challengers like butter, and I don't expect this to be an exception. Jager, 58-42.
First Ward. Yes, all signs point to a conservative year in Eureka politics, but you'd have to be out of your gourd to imagine that Marian Brady has a shot against the local number two enemy of God, country and capitalism, Larry Glass (next only to Bonnie Neely, above). Marina Center and Measure N be damned: Glass has built bridges all over town, and has built a solid reputation for his devotion to public safety and civic engagement. As amply documented in these pages, Brady may be on the side of the voters regarding Marina Center, but it's an issue that not that many people care about deeply and truly. She hasn't offered much else. Glass, 56-44.
Third Ward. When Ron Kuhnel ran against incumbent Jeff Leonard four years ago, the vote was so close that it took weeks to declare a winner. That alone should have put him in a Glass-like position to take the race against a not-so-well-known man who moved into the neighborhood to satisfy the requirements for office, despite the conservative color of the season. Eureka voters don't pay attention to political machines nearly as much as those machines would like.
But Mike Newman has the X-Factor: Xandra Manns, a lefty third candidate who should siphon enough votes away from Kuhnel to put Newman over the top. Give Newman a few points as a side result of Measure N's probable GOTV effort, subtract a few for his lower profile (as compared with Leonard), and then take a whole chunk away from Kuhnel and give them to Manns. You're looking at something like: Newman, 47; Kuhnel, 45; Manns, 8.
Arcata City Council.
Dave Meserve is gonna retake his seat.
Fortuna City Council.
Damned if it doesn't seem like liberal Janelle Egger might have a shot, despite everything.