GOP Upset in California Special Election Looking Unlikely
The NY-23 special election has gotten so much attention that a special election in California, for the seat of now-Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, has fallen off the the radar. There are Republicans who look at the race in CA-10 as a possible back-breaker for Democrats — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, for example, has focused his PAC’s attention there. But a new poll suggests that Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) is on track to easily win the seat over Republican candidate David Harmer.
Overall, Garamendi holds a 10-point lead in the district. That’s a fairly poor performance for a Democrat — voters here gave the Obama-Biden ticket a landslide 32-point victory over the John McCain and Sarah Palin — but it’s enough to elect Garamendi. Among voters who’ve already cast ballots — more than half of the electorate — Garamendi leads 51 percent to 41 percent. Among late-deciders, he leads 49-40. And SurveyUSA, which often produces strange numbers in its small samples of non-white voters, finds Garamendi only leading by six points with African-Americans. His real lead with those voters is doubtlessly much larger.
If Harmer grabs more than 40 percent of the vote here, Republicans will call it a moral victory. But the larger impact will be on the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary. Garamendi would resign his office to start serving in Congress, giving Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) the power to appoint a new lieutenant governor. If, as some expect, he appoints former GOP Congressman Tom Campbell, that would give the conservative a leg up in the June 2010 primary.