Thursday, March 3, 2016

Election Winners & Losers

By every measure possible last night's biggest loser was Forma Group. A close second was the people of House District 75 that re-elected Mary Gonzalez. More on her later, but for now let's talk about Forma Group.

For a very long time Forma Group has been the Donald Trump of political consultants. Didn't matter what they said or did, the people with deep pockets were still going to dump a bunch of money into them. 

But the reality is that in the world of politics you are defined by you win-loss record and Forma was annihilated last night. All of their three major candidates not only loss, but they got their asses handed to them. 

Despite a TON of money going to Forma Group, an entity that profited more from this election than anyone else in town, they only had one candidate even break 40%. When Chente Quintanilla is your highest performer you know you got issues. 

Adolfo Lopez, who could ultimately live to fight another day in another office, was blown out by Lina Ortega. Representative-Elect Ortega actually did something pretty interesting, which leads to another person on the list - State Rep Marisa Marquez. 

Marquez lost a lot last night. She publicly denied having anything to do with the only race in which her firm struggled to break 40%. She took heat from her colleagues for being a political consultant while still in office and her debut as a consultant was a total train wreck. The race that she went "all-in" for was the race to replace her in the legislature. If Marquez was going to be effective anywhere, it would be in her own district. She's walked it and won in that district multiple times, including when Norma Chavez won her seat for her in the first place. 

In 2012 Marquez cruised to victory over Aaron Barraza by winning with 62% of the vote. She defeated Lyda Ness in 2014 with 66% of the vote. Both impressive performances and one would assume that Marquez would be able to guide her young Padawan to victory.

But it was a explosive defeat. Ortega ended up with almost 70% of the vote. That is more than Marquez herself ever got in a contested election in that district. That has to sting a little. 

Georgina Perez basically won her race with one campaign manager and the help of some key endorsements. The Mighty Forma came through with $15k in in-kind services for Joe Fierro and he not only got trounced, but I don't even know where the $15k in in-kind services even went. He had a website, a few push cards and a Facebook page. Perez won with 56% of the votes in a race that featured a total of three candidates and spanned an area of almost 40 counties.

That made a total of two of their candidates that didn't even win a single precinct in El Paso County. 

Not one.

Now it will be interesting to see if Forma continues to get candidates to sign with them. Their fees are steep to begin with, but its hard to show the value when you don't have the win record to close the deal. This election performance may hurt them more than when they broke a contract with Peter Svarzbein to sign with his opponent. 

Sure they got paid like a #1 draft pick in this election cycle, but after a terrible performance in a string of races now, they are more like RG3 now. 

Other election night losers?

Obviously the District Attorney. No matter how you look at it, the DA has a problem on his hands. I have been looking in records all over the county and here is a very sobering thought for the 20+ year incumbent - incumbents that end up in run-off elections lose.

A lot of people saw this one coming because of the pattern. What happens to long-serving elected officials in El Paso? Eventually they find themselves in a campaign with a younger candidate, in this case, candidates plural, and they end up losing (Paul Moreno, Norma Chavez, Silvestre Reyes, Chente Quintanilla, etc). And for whatever reason a lot of people downplayed that under some completely unfounded notion that the DA is different. 

Clearly not. 

Lets have some honest talk about just how bad this is for the DA. First, its quite the indictment of him, no pun intended, when his race is the only major race in the county and he ended up not getting the majority of votes. No matter how you look at that, its bad. 

He never really got hit by Rosales. Sure she attacked his record in debates, but there was no clearly negative message against him. No one was really selling a negative message against the DA effectively and he was still under 50%. 

Rosales has no money, no name ID, and basically no workforce behind her. And the DA was still under 50%. Rosales relied on a ground game and knocked on doors. From what I hear, it was basically just her and her law partner doing all the work. 

Imagine what would've happened if she had money and volunteers helping her.

But relax Esparza fans, there is a development.

The big development of note is that word around the courthouse is Esparza is bringing in some big campaign guns from out of town. Esparza is apparently going to be tapping some campaign guys that have won races around the state. I couldn't get a name yet, but based on what I was told by a friend, it sounds like either Roger Garza or Jose Borjon. 

Garza has won a lot of races around the state of Texas. That is sort of what he does in the "off-season" from the legislature. Borjon used to work for Esparza's mentor Silvestre Reyes and just ran a white guy over a Latino candidate in a part of Texas that is mostly raza and won. That is the kind of talent Esparza needs to pull this off. So clearly Esparza has learned from some of his predecessors that found themselves in similar positions. 

Siria Rocha in the hell do you a) not win without a run-off when you have absolutely every advantage possible and b) end up getting the lesser amount of votes of the two in a run-off?

Remember I said that if she didn't win without a run-off it would be the biggest campaign failure in El Paso County? 

It is.

Terrible, just terrible performance. 

Now she is in a run-off and the odds are now against her.


Jaime Barceleau. His best hope to win the precinct chair race was to win it outright without a run-off. Now he's in a run-off and screwed. He's the most high-profile person to run for a precinct chair race and he has future political ambitions.

And he didn't even make it to the run-off with the most votes. If he can't even win a precinct chair race he has no hope of winning an election for a real race. And now I hear that CastoƱon-Williams is going to get some campaign support to seal the deal for the win in the run off. 

El Paso County Elections Administrator Lisa Wise

Her first big election in El Paso County and it was a flop. First, lets be honest and say that part of the long lines and delays weren't her fault. They were the voters' fault. Some asshats let the entire early voting period go by without voting. They have two freaking weeks to get it done. But no, these idiots wait until after 5pm the day of election day and decide to go vote - then have the audacity to be upset that there are long lines because every other dumbass in their precinct had the same idea. 

But there were a lot of avoidable issues. Staffing is an avoidable issue. The bottle neck of not enough machines for the Democratic Party and too many for the Republican Party left a lot of voters really frustrated at standing in a line while there were empty voting machines. In one example, there were an equal number of voting machines in Socorro. Four fucking voting machines for Republicans in Socorro?

There aren't four Republicans living in Socorro! 

That kind of mistake can affect an election if people stand in line to use a small amount of machines while other machines go unused. Sometimes they get pissed and go home instead of voting. 



This one is pretty easy.

The biggest winner of the night was Michael Apodaca. Yes, Apodaca isn't a candidate, but he did what I didn't think could be done. He took a candidate no one knows, in a race no one cares about, who had two challengers, one who is younger and has the same last name, to a run-off. I have been writing for a long time now how that was basically impossible. Privately I teased him about how his opponent's campaign team would almost have to TRY to screw up that race. 

So because of Mike Apodaca, Ruben Gonzalez is in the run off and went into the run off with the most votes. Gonzalez isn't an incumbent, he was appointed to the position. He's a very unassuming guy, so much so that I didn't event recognize him at a polling place in the Cielo Vista area on election day until he came and spoke to me. 

The race is now Gonzalez's to lose. Rocha does have one big weapon though, she has deep pockets. She lent herself $40,000 during the last month of the campaign. She can probably go back to the well.

Honorable mention here is District Clerk Norma Favela. She has campaigned almost as hard for Ruben Gonzalez as she has for Best Elected Official for Whats Up Magazine. She even stood at a polling location for him. 

The other reason Apodaca is a big winner is personal. Rosemary Martinez was one of several of the extremists in the El Paso County Democratic Party that tried to oust Michael Apodaca from the Party because they got their little feelings hurt because Apodaca showed something they apparently balk at...integrity. They tried to manufacture some issue about an expenditure that was really just a front for the real reason they attacked him, which was the fact that County Commissioner Vince Perez's opponent couldn't be on the ballot because he wasn't eligible for office. 

Rosemary Martinez is a precinct chair and was running for re-election against former precinct chair Ruth Williams for Indian Ridge. Williams was behind in early voting. Apodaca jumped in to help Williams and she ultimately won. 

Is it a big win that matters in the grand scheme of things? No, absolutely not. 

But is it one of those wins that makes you smile more than the big ones?

Hell yes. Cuz paybacks are a bitch. 

Matt Leahy and Chris Hernandez.

Their candidates did well on election night and that is because of the work that those two vatos did. Ugarte cleaned up a la madre! (Although his signs are fugly. Actually both of them have fugly signs.)

American Federation of Teachers 

My old friend Lily Ruiz came off the bench after being out of the game for a while. Welcome back Lily and job well done. 

Susie Byrd and Veronica Escobar

They played a key role in Ortega winning by such a large margin. Escobar hosted a fundraiser for her and Byrd did her usual campaign thing. That translated into the largest win in HD77 in years and all the other candidates the two supported won. 

Honorable Mention - Ashley Rodriguez. She is a local Bernie Sanders organizer. Sanders didn't do so well in El Paso, but Ashley beat Yoli Clay for the precinct chair for her area. Thats a big deal because Clay is part of the Moreno clan, high profile leader in the Democratic Party, and a big time Hillary person. 


Anonymous said...

Some of us waited to 5pm on Tuesday to vote because we work. We don't sit around a computer talking shit.

The Lion Star said...

And yet here you are, on a work day, sitting around talking shit behind a computer. And you had two weeks of early voting.

Anonymous said...

Its my day off,lol

The Lion Star said...

Well played. lol.

Anonymous said...

You could have voted on Saturday during early voting.... or Pope day.

Anonymous said...

Is it true Matt is a rude douche?

Thomas said...

Can understand why Esparza is calling in the big hired guns because we got a horse race on our hands. Esparza received 49.97% of the votes.Rosales got 28.85%, Morale got 21.39%. You and I know Esparza can't count on the same turn out for him in the run off. If Rosales can get her voters to turn out and pull in some of Morales voters to her side Esparza can't claim he is a shoe in for D.A even with the help of his big hired guns.
Jaime if Esparza and his big guns get over zealous in going after Rosales this very well could work against Esparza. Rosales needs to get hard in going for Esparza's throat and not play nice. You can bet if Esparza and his big hired guns feels he might lose he sure will not use kid gloves against Rosales.Girl needs to get tough,do her homework and go after Esparza's weaknesses. Rosales will not win by just by an air drop (mailers and ads) and has to get boots on the ground to win this game.
Remember Esparza has a record in office to defend and right now people are looking hard at is failure to act again out of control corruption in El Paso as he stood tacitly by and did nothing.
This could very well could work in Rosales's favor.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted Rosemary Martinez to lose. Es una vendida malinche.