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The Los Angeles Times (West Coast Regional News)

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Surveymonkey released a host of West Coast polling this morning. They include primary matchup polling, hypothetical general matchup polling, and voter issues polling.

The polls show Ambassador Florez with a substantial lead in the primary. Among likely Democratic Primary voters, Florez leads Attorney General Lee 61%-28%. This is probably more reflective of Lee's weakness than Florez's strength, because while 91% of likely Democratic voters have heard of Florez, only 38% have heard of Lee. His lack of campaigning has also been an issue. So, it is possible that Lee could make huge gains between now and the primary, which is quickly approaching, if he succeeds in introducing himself well to voters.

In a hypothetical matchup between Florez and Minority Leader Murphy-Kennedy, Florez currently leads by small margin: 41%-39%, with 20% of voters undecided. That's a pretty close starting point for a race in the West Coast, but with the general feeling of Governor Williams being ineffective and Murphy-Kennedy pitching himself (so far) as the moderate alternative to that, he seems to be gaining more traction than your average Republican in the region early on.

The hypothetical matchup between Lee and Murphy-Kennedy is even worse for Democrats: Murphy-Kennedy leads the matchup 42%-31%, with 27% undecided. This is, again, skewed by Lee's low name recognition and lack of campaigning, but still does not bode well this late into the primary with a short election ahead.

Voter priorities were a bit different this cycle than they were last time. Among all likely voters, healthcare topped the list of priorities (likely fueled by the recent threat of Obamacare being struck down). a full 33% of responded listed healthcare as the number one political concern. Immigration came in at number 2 with 24% citing at as their top priority. Climate change/the wildfires took the third spot, taking 20% of the vote, education was fourth with 11%, 10% cited income inequality, and infrastructure and police reform took the remaining 2%.

Among likely Republican voters, immigration narrowly tops the list with 34%. Healthcare is still a high priority, though, with 31% of the vote going to that issue. Climate change/the wildfires and education both took 15%, while infrastructure took the last 5%.

Among likely Democratic voters, healthcare won by a large margin: 40% of Democratic voters want the Gubernatorial candidate to address healthcare. Climate change/the wildfires are still a higher priority for Democratic voters, coming in at 25%, and immigration came in at third with 16%. Income inequality came in at a narrow fourth with 15%, and education and police brutality took the 4% that was left.

These numbers are likely to change with the campaigns, so we will keep following the special election polling closely.

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It was easy to see early in the night that Ambassador Tulip Florez was easily going to beat out Attorney General Evan Lee to become the Democratic Nominee for Governor in the special election. Florez will now go on to compete with Republican Minority Leader Murphy-Kennedy in the special election just three weeks from today.

State-by-state results:

Total %   Total Votes
Lee 31.44%   Lee 8,670,690
Florez 68.56%   Florez 18,906,049
Other 0.00%   Other 0
% By State  
State Lee Florez Other  
Alaska 30.25% 69.75% 0.00%  
Arizona 33.49% 66.51% 0.00%  
California 30.83% 69.17% 0.00%  
Colorado 30.23% 69.77% 0.00%  
Hawaii 30.42% 69.58% 0.00%  
Idaho 30.37% 69.63% 0.00%  
Nevada 33.75% 66.25% 0.00%  
Oregon 33.63% 66.37% 0.00%  
Utah 30.58% 69.42% 0.00%  
Washington 32.24% 67.76% 0.00%  
Votes By State  
State Lee Florez Other  
Alaska 101,227 233,423 0  
Arizona 808,908 1,606,746 0  
California 4,219,404 9,465,521 0  
Colorado 816,193 1,883,409 0  
Hawaii 138,951 317,753 0  
Idaho 208,145 477,151 0  
Nevada 360,270 707,094 0  
Oregon 632,171 1,247,680 0  
Utah 326,861 742,087 0  
Washington 1,058,559 2,225,186 0  
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Democrat and former Ambassador Tulip Florez easily beat out Republican challenger James Murphy-Kennedy 56%-43% in the Special Election to fill West Coast Governor seat vacated by recently deceased Governor Christopher Williams. Many thought this might have been an opportunity for Republicans to finally pick up a Governor seat on the West Coast, due to good early polling by the Republican and general unhappiness with Governor Williams' tenure. Murphy-Kennedy's lack of campaigning combined with Ambassador Florez's shockingly fast-paced campaign spelled another defeat for the Republicans in the region.

By the numbers:

Total %   Total Votes
Republican 43.40%   Republican 10,796,264
Democrat 56.60%   Democrat 14,080,873
Independent 0.00%   Independent 0
% By State  
State Republican Democrat Independent  
Alaska 57.12% 42.88% 0.00%  
Arizona 49.06% 50.94% 0.00%  
California 39.20% 60.80% 0.00%  
Hawaii 42.85% 57.15% 0.00%  
Idaho 57.80% 42.20% 0.00%  
Nevada 49.30% 50.70% 0.00%  
Oregon 45.46% 54.54% 0.00%  
Utah 63.53% 36.47% 0.00%  
Washington 42.75% 57.25% 0.00%  
Votes By State  
State Republican Democrat Independent  
Alaska 191,147 143,503 0  
Arizona 1,185,200 1,230,454 0  
California 5,364,267 8,320,658 0  
Hawaii 195,681 261,023 0  
Idaho 396,121 289,175 0  
Nevada 526,232 541,132 0  
Oregon 854,593 1,025,258 0  
Utah 679,148 389,800 0  
Washington 1,403,875 1,879,870 0  
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Congressman John Allen (R-CA) has handily defeated the Republican leader in the regional legislature James Murphy-Kennedy (R-CA) in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

Total %
Allen 70.00%
Murphy-Kennedy 27.02%
Other (NPC) 2.99%

Total Votes
Allen 10,070,655
Murphy-Kennedy 3,887,264
Other (NPC) 429,532


@Anthony @Ryan

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Approval Ratings


Governor Tulip Florez (D): 56 / 29 / 15 -- Conservatives are not too happy after you signed the Justification of Use of Force in Law Enforcement Act, and that has still stuck with a lot of them. However you eased a lot of their minds by actually endorsing the republican senate candidate in the region, that carried weight. Progressives are generally happy with you, although your endorsement of a republican did feel like a backstabbing to a good number of them, weakening your entrenched support. Moderates are really on board, viewing you as a moderate Governor that gets things done. Overall, the people of your region are generally happy with what you have done, and those who do disapprove of your policies have a favorable view on you.

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What's Next Out West?
Potential budget shortfalls, pension problems, and rifts between Washington and the West await the next legislative session in 2021

Governor Tulip Florez (D) took over the Governor's mansion over a year into the term of former Governor Williams following a special election after his death. Now, with a year under her belt, what will the next legislative session have in store for the Governor and her region?

Despite a hotly contested regional senate battle between businessman Brian Much (D) and Congressman John Allen (R), at the local level regional legislature elections look optimistic for Governor Florez and her party. Most experts believe the majorities for the Democrats will be around the same as current levels, although some believe the Governor's popularity and wide spread likeability will swing some swing moderate districts into democratic gains. Regardless, the next legislative session begins in January, and they and the Governor will have their hands full with a whole new slew of pressing issues that need to be dealt with.

To begin with, a brand new 2-year legislative session will allow Governor Florez the opportunity to set her agenda with a fresh session. More specifically, it gives her the option of appointing new members to the unelected cabinet member level positions within the regional government. Governor Williams previously left many positions unfilled, and the few that were filled or had holdovers from the previous administration were very in line with progressive policies. Thus far Governor Florez seems to try and come off as more moderate than her predecessor, so her appointments will shed some light on a real big opportunity to set out how she will govern over the next two years. It is anticipated that the republican legislative leader will be given the option to challenge some of her appointments during the confirmation process, but it is unclear how strong any opposition will be. The previous two years in the legislature only strengthened the democrat's ability to unite and get things done without an effective republican opposition leader, allowing them to pump their legislative agenda through with very little vocal opposition from any republican leaders.

Legislatively and on the policy front, there are several major issues that will need to be addressed once the next session convenes. First, Governor Williams never passed a budget before his death, and regional democrats failed to properly fund the regional government beyond the beginning stages of 2021. This has created the potential for a regional government shutdown months into 2021 due to the government not being funded. The passage of a budget will be imperative and the most important thing Governor Florez and regional democrats will have to get done. More specifically, because a budget was never passed, it has created huge shortfalls in various government departments - specifically and most pressingly regional pensions. Unfunded pension liabilities, mandatory regional spending, and the region's financial health is the single biggest issue for the region heading into 2021. Williams' inability to pass a budget and properly fund things such as pensions before Florez took over has created massive financial problems for the region, something that will have to be addressed at the start of the new year.

In addition, Governor Williams in his early days issued an executive order to "suspend every state’s National Guard members from their duties, effective immediately," which has yet to be altered or rescinded. This has created tension between various different sectors and the regional government. Ever since the executive order, the region's entire national guard contingent has been suspended. According to Professor John Abraham at the University of Southern California, "This has created an unprecedented situation. Even the most basic protections and functions that the national guard provide for within the region have been non-existent for so long that is has created an insurmountable backlog and created distrust between those sectors and the regional government. This has also impacted the region's ability to fight off any natural disasters should any arise, and some expect this to be potentially another disastrous wildfire season next summer, especially in California." Governor Florez will have to deal with this mostly behind closed doors, being able to fix the national guard and reestablish trust and effectiveness they have lost within the region.

Furthermore, with a new administration to hit Washington next year, the relationship between Governor Florez and the next President will be highly watched. If issues like the national guard and budget shortfalls continue to spiral, the Governor may need to buck her progressive base in the region to reach out for help in establishing things, which may upset them if it is indeed a President Vang in the White House.

Other regional issues expected to be in the forefront for the upcoming legislative session include education, health care, and housing.

"The next two year legislative session will be a big one for the Florez administration and her constituents," says Andrea Gullip, a professor of economics and political science at the University of California Los Angeles. "A number of hot button issues await her for the next year, and how she responds to them will have a huge impact on regional politics for years to come. Her leadership will be tested, and one false step on any of the major issues could potentially create worse problems than there currently are."

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