Editorial from Strategist John Thomas:
These low information contests are interesting to watch as voters are starved for cues as to which way to break. Typically, the partisans can figure out which side to take in a General because there is only one member of party running. Given our top two primary system we have two democrats running against each other. This makes it even more complicated to break out of the pack. Eleni was first up on television and her numbers seem to be moving as a reaction to that spend. She just lent herself another million dollars as of today’s reports. Ed Hernandez took to the paid airwaves on Tuesday in an attempt to catch up and slow Eleni’s growth. Hernandez is running a single contrast piece - 50 percent negative and 50 percent positive. This is exactly the right strategy given Hernandez’s limited resources. He has to keep Eleni from growing by driving up her negatives and introduce himself to the electorate while building a positive profile to insulate himself from the inevitable negative ad Eleni will drive against Hernandez.
With a Democrat on Democrat fight the overall victor will likely be the one who spends the most to create the biggest name ID or as we like to say – whoever is the tallest Poppy in the field.
In the ad wars it appears that Eleni is not up in the LA broadcast market, likely choosing to dominate northern California markets where the population is both more liberal and more white. The battleground will likely be the Los Angeles DMA where Hernandez could run up the score both with Democrats and Latino heavy areas.
Pro-tip for Eleni’s campaign: run a hard negative spot in the LA DMA only to disqualify Hernandez in the one market he has an advantage in forcing him to spend all of his resources defending his territory in LA. If she can keep Hernandez from going up in other markets Eleni could have a free pass to build her positive brand and be the only known Democrat.