Some surprises, some not so much in election results

Joe Tarica.
Joe Tarica.

Another election has come and gone, and I was pleased to see that my Tim Donnelly eradication strategy worked like a charm.

Moderate Neel Kashkari was able to reverse an early polling deficit to defeat the Tea Party-preferred Donnelly by more than 4 percentage points, and he can thank me for helping his cause. No gift baskets necessary.

Kashkari got enough votes to save us from having to listen to his far-right opponent for another five months, but not nearly enough to mount any kind of threat to Jerry Brown in November.

In an election that garnered only slightly more interest than a trip to the dentist, Brown collected 53 percent of the vote, or some 650,000 more tallies than Kashkari and Donnelly combined.

So while Kashkari seems like a decent dude and exhibits the kind of reasonable social policies the California Republican Party is so desperately lacking, he’s going to have to walk on water if he hopes to unseat the incumbent governor.

For his part, Donnelly can now remove himself from the statewide voting scene and return to the dustbowl that is the 33rd District, where he’s free to resume whatever it is he does for fun in the greater Barstow area — maybe shooting his guns at Joshua trees? I don’t know.

On the county election scene, Dan Dow thumped Tim Covello by a margin many of us didn’t anticipate. One colleague was predicting a Covello win by 5 points. Gallup he is not. The final margin was actually Dow by more than 9 — 53.7 to 44.3.

That may not seem like a landslide, but one look at the returns by precinct shows overwhelming geographic dominance by the deputy district attorney.

In that analysis, Dow took 107 of San Luis Obispo County’s precincts to Covello’s measly 43. Add in the fact that 25 of Covello’s precincts came from the city of San Luis Obispo itself, and it leads me to wonder, did he leave town to campaign at all?

The more liberal Covello won only two out of 44 South County precincts and fared even worse in the North County, where he took two out of 50. He couldn’t even take granola-laden Los Osos, where he won four out of nine. If precincts were awarded in county races as state delegates are in presidential contests, this would have been an absolute beatdown, with Dow running above 70 percent.

In the county supervisor races, things proceeded pretty much as expected, with Bruce Gibson winning by a nearly two-to-one margin in the 2nd District, while the South County’s 4th District advanced Lynn Compton and Caren Ray to a showdown in November. No surprises there.

The only other real countywide intrigue came from the clerk-recorder’s race, where a dynamic similar to the DA’s contest pitted the No. 2 in the office against one of its deputies. Here, however, the race was much tighter, with Assistant Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong topping Amanda King by fewer than 1,000 votes — and neither got the necessary 50 percent plus one to win outright, forcing a runoff in the fall.

How did an employee in the nonpartisan, noncontroversial Clerk-Recorder’s Office nearly keep pace with her more experienced supervisor? I’m betting it was the billboard factor.

For many weeks, King’s smiling face greeted commuters coming down the Grade on Highway 101. It was easily the highest-profile sign of any candidate in the county.

So if King is looking for that extra little bump she needs for victory in November, here’s some free advice: Just buy another billboard.