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2020 Primary Analysis: 8th Congressional District

A majority of the 8th Congressional District is from San Bernardino County; however, it also includes parts of Inyo and Mono County. Paul Cook (R) was the incumbent in this seat and he chose not to seek re-election. With an open seat for this cycle, we saw a large number of candidates vying to make it to the November election by finishing in the top two.

This district shows the following party registration for the three largest political groups (the source is http://www.l2political.com):

Republican- 36.0%
Democrat- 32.7%
NPP- 23.1%

In 2018, Republicans were given a gift by having two Republicans advance to the November election (Paul Cook and Tim Donnelly). Here is a look at the primary election results from 2018:

Ronald J. O’Donnell (D)- 4.6%
Rita Ramirez (D)- 10.1%
Marjorie Doyle (D)- 21.7%
Paul Cook (R)- 40.8%
Tim Donnelly (R)- 22.8%

If you calculate the totals from this election, you will see that 109,129 ballots were cast. We also saw 63.6% of voters cast a ballot for a Republican and 36.4% of voters cast a vote for a Democrat.

Fast forward to 2020 and we see another strong showing for Republicans; however, a Democrat did advance to the November election this time. Here are the results from the March 3 2020 election:

Christine Bubser (D)- 28.7%
Bob Conaway (D)- 6.2%
James Ellars (D)- 2.6%
Tim Donnelly (R)- 20.8%
Jerry Laws (R)- 1.4%
Jay Obernolte (R)- 35.1%
Jeremy Staat (R)- 1.6%
Justin David Whitehead (R)- 0.9%
Jeff Esmus (NPP)- 2.7%

For this election we saw 141,794 voters turnout and cast a ballot In this race. The large increase of voters in 2020 as compared to 2018 could be attributed to the fact that this was a Presidential Primary and we also were voting on Super Tuesday in California. Additionally, 59.8% of the vote went to a Republican, 37.5% of the vote went to a Democrat, and 2.7% of the vote went to an NPP candidate.

Per the jungle primary rule in California, we will now see a November faceoff between Christine Bubser (D) and Jay Obernolte (R). Bubser is a political outsider from Mammoth Lakes according to her website. Obernolte is currently a State Assemblyman.

Based on the negligible drop in votes for a Republican candidates in 2020 compared to 2018 (in spite of the over 30% increase in ballots) and the fact that Obernolte has high name ID in almost 2/3 of the district, I see a clear front-runner hear. I predict that Jay Obernolte is the clear front-runner in November.

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