Orange County may be the big surprise of the 2010 election. The New York Times recently noted that No Longer Nixon Country, echoing a Calitics diary from February.
Today let's look at one campaign there, home of the national and California DFA Grass Roots All Stars.
Melissa Fox is running in AD-70, an assembly district that Obama carried by almost 9,000 votes. The district includes the progressive bastion of Irvine as its largest city and UC Irvine as its largest employer. UCI is also a huge pool of voters, with 26,000 undergraduates and 15,000 graduate students, staff, and faculty.
On the Republican side, the candidate has become an invisible man. After winning a hotly contested primary against three more moderate Republicans, Don Wagner disappeared. He hasn't updated his website since May, when he announced his endorsement by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his Facebook page is collecting "work at home" spam, and he failed to file a candidate statement for the pamphlet that goes to all voters. Wagner has been seen at only a few events - Tea Party rallies outside his district.
|Let's add a few more factors in. Beth Krom is running a hell of a campaign in the 48th Congressional District, with a very strong field operation, and a tremendous base in the district, where she has won five elections in ten years in Irvine, including two terms as Mayor. The 70th Assembly District is completely nested inside the 48th CD. Beth won the DFA National Grass Roots All Star contest against 99 other candidates, and has polling that shows her opponent, Birther John Campbell, with only a 30% re-elect number.
There's a suite of text-message based electronic slate that is being deployed now, with a grassroots-funded coordinated campaign office just across the pedestrian bridge from UCI.
And there is Melissa, an incredibly hard-working candidate, running a frugal yet very effective campaign. She won her primary with 75.1% of the vote against a better-known candidate, primarily because of strong direct mail. Melissa won the California Grass Roots All Star contest, finishing ahead of Debra Bowen and Kamala Harris.
Melissa is an uncompromising progressive on equality, choice, and single payer.
Melissa has been ignored by Sacramento, Speaker Perez, and the usual consultants who can't see beyond registration numbers or early fund-raising.
But Melissa can win this race, if she has progressive support in the next few weeks. And this is a campaign where your money won't be wasted on Sacramento consultants doing ineffective TV spots or marking their mail up 100%. It's a lean mean project run by local consultants who know how to win in Orange County.