08 June 2010

Primary Election Preliminary Results (Including Next Day Addendum)

Well, it's still early, but after today's primary election, it appears that incumbent Republican congressional representative Gary Miller, who has served in the House since 1998 and hardly had any resistance in his several re-election campaigns is going to win the primary (and, therefore, the November election) in the Italy-shaped 42nd District, which stretches from La Habra to Chino and from Diamond Bar through eastern Orange County down to Mission Viejo, and which includes Carbon Canyon.

In the last few days, main challenger Phil Liberatore accelerated his Canyon beautification plan by seeking to place a sign on every available power pole, fence, and other permanent fixture.  Robo calls and mailers  from the Liberatore campaign were also increasing in intensity as the campaign wound down.

The other two candidates: Lee McGroarty and David Su, never really had much of a chance, though McGroarty did get some media attention concerning Miller earmarks and took out some ads in local papers.

According to the New York Times, with 26% of precincts reporting, Miller had 11,644 votes (54%) to Liberatore's 6,873 (32%).  McGroarty had 10% and Su 3% of the votes.  Obviously, with a full three-quarters of the votes to be tallied, there could be some substantive change, but likely not enough to change the outcome. 

Still, the extent to which Liberatore and, to a lesser degree, McGroarty, channeled some of the general Tea Party discontent by attacking Miller for votes on TARP and other measures that have been fodder and fuel for the opposition has been notable.

As was the amount of money Liberatore spent: $725,000, much of which came from his personal resources.  Miller, who undoubttedly has far more money in his coffers, but has chosen to spend frugally, paid out some $330,000 in primary campaigning.  McGroarty had a modest lower five-figure expenditure, while Su spent virtually nothing.

Meantime, inundated as the Canyon is with the ubiquitous campaign signs, it will be interesting to see how many of (and how soon) these landfill-destined placards will actually be taken down in upcoming days.

Addendum, 9 June 2010:

As suspected, given that many more precincts were submitting tallies, The New York Times results as of today show that the margin of victory for Rep. Gary Miller over challenger Phil Liberatore in yesterday's primary election is 11%.  Here are the totals, as reported by that paper:

Miller:  23,593 votes (48%)
Liberatore:  17,914 (37%)
McGroarty:  5,171 (10%)
Su:  1,531 (3%)

Clearly, this is a notable development within Republican Party politics and conservativism in general, with Tea Party support obviously providing a hearty boost for Liberatore (whose third stenciled sign along the side of Carbon Canyon Road on the Brea side of the Canyon contained the now-standard "Take Back America" motto.) 

Naturally, if McGroarty and Su weren't in the race, this could have been a "to the wire" primary.  Whether or not, Miller's representation of the 42nd changes as a result of this significant challenge remains to be seen.  With House terms only two years long and the 2012 campaign likely to be as (if not more) contested and contentious as this one, it will be very interesting to see how matters play out.

Meantime, unchallenged Democratic contender Michael Williamson faces Rep. Miller in the November election, but the outcome will almost certainly be far different than the internal battle that took place in this campaign.

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