By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
NEARLY 50,000 DEMS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE FOR BETH KROM DIDN’T
If Beth Krom’s defeat of Representative John Campbell depended solely upon the enthusiasm of her congressional-campaign volunteers, the Irvine city councilwoman would surely win. But Orange County rarely has been kind to the wishful thinking of local Democrats. Indeed, the results of the June primary didn’t buttress Krom’s argument: that Barack Obama’s 2008 popularity in the district will translate into her upset November victory over Campbell.
Naturally, the Krom camp doesn’t like this fact. But I’m not necessarily blaming them for their campaign’s fate. During the 15 years that Christopher Cox occupied the seat, in a twist on the old “dead girl or a live boy” canard, a joke circulated that he could be caught on a roof screwing a dead, male animal, and he’d still win re-election.
Here’s the reality from the primary: Krom could have doubled her vote totals and still would have been 12,000 votes shy of merely tying Campbell, the three-term incumbent in one of California’s safest Republican seats. Campbell significantly outpolled Krom in Dana Point, East Tustin, Tustin, Laguna Niguel and Lake Forest. In the district’s two largest cities, Campbell annihilated Krom, the protégé of Irvine political boss Larry Agran. In Newport Beach, he tallied 13,635 votes to her 3,309 votes. In Irvine, where both reside, Campbell won 14,188 votes to just 8,104 for Krom.
There were two potential pieces of good news for Krom, however. She did nab 3,000 more overall primary votes than did the last non-presidential-election-year Democratic Party candidate, lawyer Steve Young.
And this: More than 49,130 Democrats eligible to vote for Krom in the primary voted in other races but didn’t bother to pull the lever for her. If energized in coming months, that reservoir of potential votes could at least make Krom’s efforts respectable in the end.
To be fair, Campbell’s campaign had a worse apathy issue. Only 72,000 of 174,000 Republican primary voters cast a vote for him. But given the domination of GOP candidates in general elections, plus the sharp decline in Obama’s popularity, it’s doubtful Campbell has anything to worry about.
This column appeared in print as "More Equal Than Others? LA Times lawyer says billionaire Henry T. Nicholas wants to operate ‘under the cover of darkness.’"