Are Election Surprises Possible? • Long Beach Post

Almost one year ago, Dee Andrews stunned the Long Beach “establishment” by claiming a sleeper victory in the 6th Council District Special Election.  Could a surprise of the same magnitude happen in today’s election?


In a year that saw a sleepy electorate allow three City Council seats to go uncontested, the answer is not likely. 


Yet, if it were to happen, the three following scenarios are the most plausible, and are the most likely to stun.


Surprise Scenario #1: Paul Crost or Karen Thomas Hillburn garner more votes than School Board Incumbent Jon Meyer.

How it could happen:
Karen Thomas Hillburn is the real spoiler candidate in this race, siphoning votes from both the anti-union incumbent Jon Meyer, and the union candidate Paul Crost.  With less money, but with veteran consultant Tracy Kittinger, Hillburn needs to have hit the streets hard and developed an air tight Get Out The Vote operation.


Paul Crost, with the dual blessing and curse of TALB, also have the blessing of being the only Democrat in the race—in a district almost split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats.  Crost has been able to gain an advantage in mailers, but been hammered by the negative press and connotations of TALB’s internal strife and Union board member Michael Ellis’s drunk driving bouts, which may hurt Crost.


What will happen: Jon Meyer has the best assets of all—a winning personality and a successful school district.  Due to the strengths of Hillburn, and the usual votes that will always go to union backed candidates, either one of them will likely push Meyer into a June run-off, but he will still remain on top.


Surprise Scenario #2: Rosa Diaz beats Felton Williams.


How it could happen: One of the things that Rosa Diaz, the TALB backed candidate, is probably hoping for is if constituents feel a disconnect with Williams’ low key professorial style, and her own background as a teacher in the school district. The thing that could really make this happen though, is if the low turnout usually associated with the 4th School Board district is even lower in this quiet election season.  This would allow the organizational benefits of the teacher’s union to take hold.


What will happen:  Felton Williams will beat Rosa Diaz, but by a “too close for comfort” margin of victory.


Surprise Scenario #3: Ahmed Saafir beats Dee Andrews.


How it could happen: The same people who stumped for Ahmed Saafir last year, largely business interests, turned around on him when it was clear that Dee Andrews was his own man, and would stand up to the unions himself.  With last year’s union backed candidate Al Austin out of the race, this leaves an anti-Dee Andrews constituency for the picking.  Ahmed Saafir needed to round up all of those prior constituencies, and then work a better campaign without any mistakes.


What will happen: Ahmed Saafir was a weak candidate, even when he did have the moneyed interests of the city behind him.  Without that backing, he is even weaker.  Dee Andrews will win with a large margin.

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