David Ryu for Los Angeles City Council, 2015
“David Ryu …riding a tide of anti-development anger to a surprise win over Councilman Tom LaBonge’s hand-picked successor.” (LA Weekly, May 2015)
Challenge: After emerging from a 14-candidate primary, David Ryu was a decided underdog in the runoff for L.A. Council District 4. His opponent, Carolyn Ramsay, was the hand-picked successor of popular, outgoing Councilman Tom LaBonge (term limits) for whom Ramsay had served as Chief of Staff. Ramsay had the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti and both the L.A. County Federation of Labor AND the Chamber of Commerce. The downtown crowd was fully behind Ramsay.
Winning Insight: Because of LaBonge’s popularity, Ramsay was a difficult target. Also, most voters were optimistic about the direction of the city, generally. We identified specific issues where dissatisfaction with city government’s job performance was highest and the campaign focused its messaging on those – particularly development and streets. Also, polling made clear that the portion of the district in the San Fernando Valley (Sherman Oaks) would decide the election.
Sharon Quirk-Silva for California State Assembly, 2012
“(Quirk-Silva’s) upset victory over Chris Norby in 2012 shocked many who considered the district a safe Republican stronghold.” (Voice of OC, November 2014)
Challenge: In traditionally Republican Orange County, the incumbent Assemblyman Chris Norby seemed entrenched. In 2010, he was 61%-33% over his Democratic opponent. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he served as a County Supervisor for two terms and had been in local office since 1984. There was little interest in supporting Norby’s 2012 challenger, Sharon Quirk-Silva among Democratic Party insiders or interest groups until very late in the cycle and Quirk-Silva’s campaign was significantly outspent.
Winning Insight: Sharon Quirk-Silva was the Mayor of Fullerton and the expectation was that the campaign would use its limited resources to focus on her record in that role. However, our one poll indicated that education was the top issue with voters. This changed the expected messaging from local issues to education, based on Quirk-Silva’s career as a local classroom teacher. After “losing” the primary 41%-59% (in the CA system, the top two go forward from the primary, even if there are only two candidates in the field), Quirk-Silva prevailed in November, 52%-48% – a 22-point turnaround.
Marc Levine for California State Assembly, 2014 and 2012
This editorial from the Marin Independent-Journal tells the story of how our client Marc Levine overcame a massive funding gap and an even more imposing gap in Democratic support to win the first upset in a Democrat vs. Democrat general election. In 2014, some groups still unhappy with the 2012 outcome targeted Levine again. In fact, he was the only incumbent Democrat who did not have the endorsement of the state Democratic Party. Nonetheless, Levine easily outpaced well-financed Democratic opponents. None got within 30 points.