A story today referred to Mike McGuire’s “unexpectedly” lopsided win over Debora Fudge in the race for the 4th District supervisorial seat.
But was it really that surprising?
A good argument can be made that McGuire won this election on Jan. 14, the day incumbent Paul Kelley, a conservative voice on the board, announced that he would not be running for re-election – and no one from the right joined the race.
Once it was clear that McGuire had locked up the endorsements of the more conservative groups such as the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and Sonoma County Alliance, it was not looking good for Fudge.
McGuire had already raised more than $100,000 at that point and had been cutting into the support Fudge had in 2006 from more liberal, environmental groups. He also picked up the support of the North Bay Labor Council, the Sonoma County Young Democrats and a number of housing and labor groups. With McGuire outflanking Fudge on the left and the right, it didn’t leave her much room to maneuver, particularly in an election that offered more interesting top-of-the-ballot races for Republicans than Democrats.
My guess is that almost all of those who voted for Kelley four years ago went with McGuire while about a third of Fudge’s supporters from 2006 switched to McGuire.
There are a number of absentee ballots still to be counted, but right now McGuire has 11,664 votes to Fudge’s 7,136. Four years ago, Kelley beat Fudge 12,583 to 12,341.
So this race never really penciled out in Fudge’s favor from the beginning. But let’s give McGuire his due. His relentless fund-raising, online campaigning and hard work up to the moment polls closed Tuesday probably turned this from a win to a lopsided victory – if not a surprising one.
– Paul Gullixson