AD65: Assemblywoman Young Kim Builds Big Fundraising Lead Over Quirk-Silva

Assembly District 65 is a re-match between Republican Young Kim and Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva. No other candidates are on the ballot, so they will go one-on-one in both the June and November elections.

This will be Quirk-Silva’s third straight appearance on the AD65 ballot. She upset GOP Assemblyman Chris Norby in 2012 by 52% to 48%. She was in turn defeated for re-election by Young Kim, an energetic, appealing aide to Rep. Young Ed Royce, by a margin of 54.6% to 45.4.

Kim Outdistancing Quirk-Silva On Fundraising Front
Assemblywoman Young Kim reported raised $611,857 in 2015 and another $316,453 as of May 9, bringing her fundraising total to date to $928,310. Her 2015-through-April 2016 expenditures are $242,539 – leaving her with $679,807.50 cash-on-hand as of April 23.

Challenger Quirk-Silva – who is using the ballot title “School Teacher” – hasn’t matched incumbent Kim’s fundraising prowess (although her fund-raising has picked up in recent weeks): in 2015 she raised $213,070, and has raised an additional $147,150 as of May 9. She has spent $138,762 and reported $264,602 cash-on-hand as of April 23.

Of course, candidate fundraising is only part of the story. Independent expenditure committee – which have no contribution limitations — will play a huge role in this campaign. AD65 is one of the few competitive legislative seats in the state. Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and the Democrats’ constituent special interests who control the levers of power in state government; they will almost certainly pour huge sums into this race in a drive to regain a super-majority in the state Assembly.

The firm of Gilliard Blanning & Associates is serving as general consultant to Kim’s campaign. GBA served the same role in 2014. Early that year, I asked Dave Gilliard for his prediction on the election outcome: “Young Kim will win by 10 points,” he replied – an uncannily accurate prediction, as it turned out.

It’s unclear from Quirk-Silva’s 2015 campaign filing who is running her campaign.

Partisan Parity
There 178,501 registered voters in AD65. The partisan split has been at parity for the last several years, and currently stands at 37.8% Democrat, 35.3% Republican and 22.9% No Party Preference.

Obviously, they key factor here will be turnout: who many voters turn out, and which voters. Since this is a presidential year, turn out will be higher.  Quirk-Silva knocked off Norby in a presidential election year. She finished well behind Norby — 41.2% to 58.8% — in the June 2012 primary election, in which 50,853 people voted. Turnout almost tripled in November (132,564 voters cast ballots) and Quirk-Silva won by a modest margin.

While this is a presidential election year, it is also the craziest one in memory and it’s perilous to advance predictions as to what the make-up of the November electorate will be. The biggest early marker to track will be how Donald Trump’s candidacy impacts June voter turn-out.

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