With all the votes counted and Joyce Dudley beating Josh Lynn by a handy nine percent margin to become Santa Barbara County's next District Attorney, is there anyone out there who still believes that negative campaigns work?
Actually, Susan Jordan might still believe they work. The huge amount of money her opponent in the 35th District Assembly race, Das Williams, raised evidently allowed him the luxury of keeping a Photoshop specialist on the campaign payroll. Then again, when both sides accuse the other of negative campaigning, someone is bound to lose.
The negative campaign that Lynn ran against Dudley sure seemed to turn a lot of people off though. Dudley kept her own message positive and never stooped to Lynn's level, although she was prepared to.
A highly-placed source in the Dudley campaign told me that Dudley had in fact prepared a negative ad attacking Lynn and had it ready to run. In the end, Dudley and her advisers decided that they didn't need the ad and it never saw the light of day.
Of course it wasn't just negative ads that made the difference. Dudley had a huge head start in campaigning against Lynn. She announced she was running for DA back on September 1st of last year. And yes, that was only one week before the late Christie Stanley announced that she wouldn't be seeking reelection and that Lynn would enter the race. But in fact, Dudley had been running long before that. Maybe as long as 20 years of getting out into the community, networking and creating relationships that would benefit her when it was time to run.
I'll bet one guy who wishes he got an earlier start on campaigning was Dan Secord. Janet Wolf's margin of victory (slightly less than six percent of the vote) to win her second term as Second District County Supervisor was the smallest of all the contested county offices on the ballot. As recently as the Democratic party's Labor Day Weekend picnic Wolf told the crowd that, she didn't know of anyone who was running against her. Secord didn't get into the race until March. That's really only a 60 day campaign he ran. Anyone out there think he could have closed the gap if he had another 30 days? My guess is there's one guy who does, Secord.
And back to the DA race. The defeated Lynn didn't sound like a guy who was sticking around. At least not from the quote he gave to Josh Molina in the Daily Sound where he said: “If I close the gap then fantastic. If I don’t, I wish my office only the best with respect to its law enforcement mission.”
Don't look for Dudley to be pleading with Lynn to stay. She'd probably rent a U-Haul for him to move his stuff out of the office.
So is Lynn heading for Barry Cappello's firm as I reported the other day? On Wednesday all Cappello would say is that, "If Josh Lynn is interested in coming here, I would take a good hard look at him. I'm always interested in talking with people who have the kind of trial experience he does."
Given the huge caseloads the attorneys in the DA's office are carrying, let's hope Dudley is too.
© 2010 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com