Source: Indi Squared
Photo: Indi Squared Canvass Kickoff, Escondido CA 9/2/18
November 16, 2018 (Escondido) -- Just as Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke is being credited with the “Beto Effect” – a massive voter turnout that lifted down-ballot Democrats to victory in Congress and the Texas legislature – a similar, if smaller, dynamic may be taking place in CA50.
Extraordinary voter outreach on behalf of congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar exceeded any effort on behalf of a Democratic campaign in CA50 history. While ballots are still being counted at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, with 92,873 votes, Campa-Najjar has more than doubled the vote for Duncan Hunter’s last midterm challenger, James Kimber, who received 45,302 votes in 2014, according to Ballotpedia.
In addition to long, hard work by the Escondido mayoral campaign of Democrat Paul “Mac” McNamara to fight for change in his city, an historic, a multi-track Get Out The Vote (GOTV) drive may be contributing to the potential upset of Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, who is currently trailing by 425 votes.
- The $3.2 million Campa Campaign phone-banked, canvassed and advertised to thousands of voters in Escondido.
- The campaigns of Democratic city council candidates Consuelo Martinez in District 1, and Vanessa Valenzuela in District 2, mobilized many voters likely to vote for Democrats.
- Newly active members of Escondido Indivisible and other progressive groups volunteered with the Campa-Najjar campaign and Democratic Party, and the Escondido Democratic Club’s GO Team took action on behalf of Campa-Najjar and all Democratic candidates.
- An unprecedented investment by progressive PACs, in partnership with local activists, targeted Escondido voters to turn out votes for Campa-Najjar. The San Diego independent expenditure group Independent Indivisible, (known as INDI2 or Indi Squared), partnered with progressive PACs Indivisible Action, Flip the 14 and Code Blue to increase voter turnout.
o With Indivisible Action’s voter database and tools, and Flip the 14’s paid field organizer, Indi Squared volunteers sent more than 15,000 texts, made more than 12,200 phone calls and knocked on 1,900 doors in Escondido alone, leaving behind literature on Hunter and Campa-Najjar. Indivisible GOTV targeted new voters, Democrats, midterm skippers and No Party Preference (NPP) voters considered open to voting for a Democrat.
o In addition, Flip the 14 and Code Blue also invested heavily in voter contact, particularly Latino voters, for the general election. They sent 11,400 texts, made 2,600 phone calls (including robocalls with civil rights icon Dolores Huerta), and mailed 9,500 postcards to Escondido voters.
- Mayor Abed’s controversial policies likely generated in a stronger-than-expected vote for his opponent. The mayor’s privatization of the public library, his longstanding anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions, and Abed’s May 2018 meeting with President Trump to criticize California offended many constituencies and helped inspire voter outrage and weekly protests outside city hall in the closing weeks of the campaign.
“Paul McNamara deserves a victory in the race for mayor and the people of Escondido deserve a government that serves all its people,” said Independent Indivisible organizer Carolyn McGraw of Valley Center. “We await the final vote total, hopeful that Escondido will finally have a mayor who will support small businesses, strengthen schools and unite rather than divide its residents.”
“Many factors impact an upset like the one we may be seeing in the Escondido mayor’s race,” said Independent Indivisible organizer Maureen Gupta of Bonsall. “But the value of Democratic coattails in a deeply red district is an important lesson that will motivate activists to lift even more down-ballot candidates in the next election. If we replicate the ‘Ammar Effect’ in 2020, the McNamara/Abed race should put complacent Republicans across San Diego County on notice that their seats can no longer be taken for granted.”
Districtwide, outreach by Indi Squared and its PAC partners in CA50 included:
- 77,000 texts
- 66,000 postcards
- 45,000 phone calls
- 5,800 homes canvassed
- 2,000 voters registered
Flip the 14 and the Courage Campaign also made 30,000 phone calls to CA50 from call centers, many in Spanish, and sent two rounds of Spanish-language postcards to CA50 voters.
Independent Indivisible (INDIor “Indi Squared”) is a coalition of grassroots, volunteer leaders in the San Diego region that affiliates with the Indivisible Project and works independently from candidates and parties to elect people it deems “for the common good.”