A Groundhog's Day Election in Sacramento

It looks like the voters of Sacramento saw their shadow on Tuesday, meaning five more months of the mayoral campaign. As of this writing, (former ...
by | June 5, 2008

It looks like the voters of Sacramento saw their shadow on Tuesday, meaning five more months of the mayoral campaign.

As of this writing, (former NBA star) Kevin Johnson leads the incumbent mayor, Heather Fargo, 47%-40%. Mail-in ballots still need to be counted, but unless they differ significantly from the precinct votes, Fargo and Johnson will face off in a runoff election in November.

Am I the only one who thinks that's completely absurd?

I understand the logic of having a runoff in a scenario such as the one that played out in Fresno on Tuesday. The first and second place candidates received 28% and 27%, respectively. A candidate who more than 70% of the voters might despise doesn't deserve to win an election. Hence the benefit of a runoff.

But in Sacramento Johnson and Fargo were the only significant candidates the first time around. The third place finisher only managed 6%. So voters in California's capital are guaranteed a case of déjà vu.

What's ridiculous to me is the gap between the elections. In states that have primary runoffs, usually the second election is a few weeks after the first one. Since California schedules their non-partisan mayoral elections to coincide with their regular primary and general elections, the gap in Sacramento is more than 150 days.

One upside: We may get to see more of Fargo's unconventional campaign ads.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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