The electoral landscape has changed rather radically in the past month. We came into 2013 with no elections on the horizon, and now it appears we could have as many as three. The State Senate election to replace Sen. Michael Rubio will be held on May 21, the special election to reverse the mayor’s privatization of residential solid waste service in the City of Fresno will be held on June 4 and a runoff for the Senate race, if necessary, will be held on July 23.
The Fresno County Democratic Party’s focus this year was to be on voter education and party-building activities, and we will now dovetail those efforts into these newly scheduled elections to reach even more prospective voters than we had originally planned.
A number of names have surfaced for the Senate race, and the leadership in Sacramento will no doubt weigh in with a preference. A party endorsement will likely take place at the Democratic Convention in Sacramento in mid-April, if not earlier.
The vote to repeal the mayor’s privatization of residential trash service is a milestone. Following the collection of nearly 40,000 signatures by opponents of privatization and the convincing defeat of Measure O (which would have made it easier for Fresno County to privatize public-sector services) within the city of Fresno, it is clear that the public does not want “solutions” that fail to address the real problems of city and county government.
The challenge with each of these elections is turnout. Yes, turnout is always a problem, but the problem is exacerbated in special elections, off-year elections and the unprecedented occurrence of two elections within two weeks, with tens of thousands of voters participating in both.
In preparation for these elections, I would encourage you to participate in our Democratic Activist Training. The training starts on March 19 and continues for six weeks on Tuesday evenings. You will come away from this training better prepared to address local issues and contribute to electoral campaigns—for candidates or issues.
There will be ample opportunity to volunteer and engage with voters over the next three months. I hope that you will join us in these efforts. Call today at 559-495-0606 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to help make our community a better place.
–Michael D. Evans, Chair, Fresno County Democratic Party