Poll Shows Quirk With Big Lead; Tight Race For Second

ELECTION ’12//ASSEMBLY 20
May 14, 2012 | Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk appears on the way to easily winning the June primary in the 20th Assembly District, while the race for second shows all four opponents still in the race, according to polling results released this weekend.

The poll of 554 registered voters conducted by Godbe Reseach shows Quirk with 25 percent of those surveyed, followed by Independent Mark Green at 14 percent; Jennifer Ong, 13 percent; Republican Luis Reynoso, 13 percent and Sarabjit Cheema, 9 percent.

Respondents were given each candidate’s party designation and an excerpt of their candidate’s statement.

The tightly bunched battle for second in the June “top two” primary also presents interesting possibilities for each of Quirk’s opponents where a single percentage point will likely make the difference between heading to the November general election and going home.

With Green and Reynoso, there are two factors involved: Green’s independent candidacy rooted in being a former Democrat and his recent rhetoric designed to play to the right of Quirk and possibly siphoning votes from the lone Republican in the race, Hayward school trustee Luis Reynoso. Between the trio of Green, Ong and Reynoso, the poll appears to be the most dispiriting to Reynoso.

With the first use of the top two primary system, there is quite a bit of uncertainty over how it affects Republicans in the East Bay. Reynoso probably needs more than 13 percent to reach second. How do you turn out Republicans in the deep blue of the East Bay? The conclusion of a contested Republican presidential primary before it reached California may turn out to be the worst thing that happens to Reynoso’s campaign. It also doesn’t help Reynoso to have a highly qualified candidate like Green angling for the same disaffected conservatives and moderates.

According to the numbers and the dynamics of the race, the person to watch is Ong. The 20th Assembly District has some of the highest concentrations of Asian American voters in the state. Despite a run of less than energetic debate performances, the buzz surrounding Ong has always been generally positive. She has also been willing to spend money. Her campaign had the fourth highest expenditures of any race in the state during the first quarter of the year and others are now opening their purse strings for the last three weeks of the campaign.

According to the state secretary of state, Californians Allied for Patient Protection laid out $19,627 in independent expenditures for Ong last Friday.

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