Breaking Down the 47th Congressional District Primary, One Vote and Dollar at a Time

Peter Mathews is a Cypress College political science professor, so who better to break down the 47th U.S. Congressional District primary?

His interest extended beyond academics. The Democrat was among eight candidates on the ballot for the redrawn district that includes Cypress, Rossmoor, Stanton, Westminster, Garden Grove, Los Alamitos and parts of Anaheim, La Palma, Buena Park and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's old district.

Alas, it will be another Democrat, termed-out state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), squaring off against Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong, a Republican, in the November general election for the seat that also takes in Long Beach, Signal Hill and parts of Lakewood in Los Angeles County.

One lesson Mathews took away from the race is "Money = Votes" (a.k.a. "Duh" among anyone who closely follows American politics).

Lowenthal, the top vote-getter, received $420,584 in contributions, spent $183,622 and received 21,460 votes, or 34.3 percent.

DeLong, who raised and spent even more ($630,770 / $312,140), got 18,174 votes, or 29 percent.

The third candidate to raise more than $100k in the race, former Republican Rep. Steven Kuykendall, received 6,824 votes (10.9 percent) for his $140,986 raised and $138,657 spent.

At least Mathews could boast of falling just behind that (6,023 votes or 9.6 percent) while only raising $3,939 and spending $3,322.

Even candidates farther down in the final results raised and spent more money than that. Democrat Usha Shah raised $22,792 and deficit spent $121,998 for a second-to-last finish with 1,783 votes (2.8 percent).

Just above Shah with 1,971 votes (3.2 percent) was Republican Sanford W. Kahn, who raised $11,378 and spent $10,713.

Using the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) data Mathews blasted out in an email, you can figure out the cost per vote, based on each dollar spent and vote received:

Lowenthal: $8.55

DeLong: $17.17

Kuykendall: $20.31

Mathews: 55 cents

Usha Shah: $68.42

Kahn: $5.43

Rounding out the race, with no money raised or spent, at least according to what was reported to the FEC, were Republican Steve Foley (4,579 votes or 4.3 percent) and Democrat Jay Shah (1,755 votes or 2.8 percent). 

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