How One Candidate Beat the Odds in the One Party State of California

Anyone who thinks it is impossible for Republicans in California to regain relevance has not studied the campaign, and improbable victory, of Josh Hoover. The odds were against Hoover, who ran against a seasoned incumbent Democrat, five term Assemblyman Ken Cooley. The redrawn 7th District, with 38 percent registered Democrats versus 32 percent Republicans, favored Cooley. To make matters much more challenging, Cooley’s campaign spent $4.8 million compared to Hoover’s $1.7 million.

Hoover won by 1,383 votes, less than one percent, and how he did it is a case study in how California’s Republican candidates can win despite having far less money and a registration disadvantage. Reached by phone earlier this week, Hoover said that while there were a lot of factors in the race that came into play, the most obvious explanation for his victory was that he simply outworked his opponent in making direct contact with individual voters. The Hoover campaign mustered far more people to send texts, make phone calls, and walk door to door.

Cooley, by contrast, during the final month was spending over $250,000 per week on television and radio ads. Throughout the campaign Cooley was mass mailing expensive campaign flyers. Cooley’s campaign relied on mudslinging, like so many do, but it may have backfired on him. When a household has received over dozen flyers attacking Josh Hoover as a Trumpian misogynistic book burning extremist, they’re taken aback when they meet the candidate and realize he’s not a monster at all, […] Read More