By Betsy Mahan, Chair, Sacramento County Republican Party

We Can Learn From the 2022 Election To Prepare for 2024

In Sacramento County, 211,639 ballots have been counted, and we await the tabulation of at least 192,079 more. Mailed returns have up to one week to arrive, so we will know on Tuesday, November 15th, how many people voted in this election. With this many ballots remaining to be counted, results can change. That said, if current trajectories continue, we will have some important wins in Congressional District 3 (Kiley), State Senate District 6 (Niello), State Assembly District 9 (Flora), Board of Supervisors District 5 (Hume), and Folsom City Council District 1 (Kozlowski). Galt City Councilman Shawn Farmer and Rancho Cordova City Councilwoman Linda Budge are expected to win as well. More good news is that 29 Republicans have already been elected at the local level because they ran unopposed!

Close races include Assembly District 7 where Josh Hoover is within 1,041 votes of his opponent. In Citrus Heights City Council District 2, Marijane Lopez-Taff is running within 113 votes of her closest opponent, but he’s also a Republican, so either way, we win. Dr. Jayna Karpinski-Costa in District 4 is 349 votes ahead of her closest opponent, again, another Republican, so we’re good. In District 5, Natalee Price is gaining on the incumbent Democrat, just 37 votes behind! In Elk Grove, Michelle Kile is just 1,200 votes behind the top vote getter in a three-way race. The other two are Democrats, so she still could pull this off. The real nail biter is in Folsom District 5 where Anna Rohrbough is within 8 votes of the incumbent Democrat! 

This year, we invested more in school board races and are pleased so far with the results. Nancy Sherrets Anderson and Howard Ballin are leading the pack in Center Joint USD. In Folsom Cordova USD, Jennifer Tarbox is within 303 votes of her opponent and Jen Laret continues to lead the incumbent by 445 votes. Tanya Kravchuk continues to hold the lead over the incumbent by 241 votes in San Juan USD District 5, and Steve Miller has a comfortable lead in District 7. The “J” Team in Dry Creek SD that is mostly in Placer County, but includes parts of Antelope, is leading over the incumbent. 

In close special district races, Manuel Zamorano (San Juan Water Div. 5) is leading his opponent by 217 votes, and Daniel Langan (Cordova Rec & Park District 5) is leading his opponent by 526 votes. Jay Boatwright (Sac Suburban Water Div. 2) has a substantial lead with 72% of the vote.

It really is true that every vote matters, as you can see from these close races. 

While we have some encouraging wins in Sacramento County, statewide and across the nation Republicans did not fare as well as expected. Now we need to step back and analyze what went right, and what went wrong. Were Republicans too immersed in our echo chambers, only listening to conservative media? Did the negative view of the integrity of our election system cause many to stay home and give up? Were we listening to voters or the media? All of these questions must be answered and addressed if we have any hope of success in 2024.

As of November 8th, 49.1% of Republicans and 44.4% of Democrats in Sacramento County had turned in their ballots. Those registered No Party Preference (NPP) turned out 30.7% of their voters. These numbers will increase as ballots are verified, but I can’t help but to point out that had our Republicans turned out in larger numbers, we could have won every race in this County.

Elections should not be about loyalty or opposition to one person, whether that is a former President, a Governor, or the leader of the House or Senate. Elections are about the voters, and what inspires them to turnout and vote for our candidates. We need to better understand why such a huge percentage of Republican voters in Sacramento County and beyond, decided not to cast their ballot. 

Getting Out The Vote in Sacramento County
During the November election, SacCountyGOP’s all-volunteer team called over 50,000 Republicans, knocked on thousands of doors in joint walks with the candidates, texted close to 50,000 voters, emailed 20,000 voters, and we collected over 400 ballots at our headquarters. Over 40,000 Republicans received our mailed Voter Guide, and our website had over 27,000 pageviews, mostly on our Voter Guide. To make sure our ballots were being handled properly, 130 election observers watched Vote Centers, ballot counting, the delivery of ballot bags to the Elections Office, and the closing of Drop Boxes on Election Night. We handled hundreds of calls and visitors to our headquarters, answering questions about the candidates and ballot measures. We posted on social media sites, placed an ad in a business magazine, hosted booths at fairs and community events, and we spoke at events sponsored by conservatives and community organizations. During all of this outreach to voters, the message we kept hearing was that California was a lost cause, and people were concerned about the integrity of our elections. 

As we transition to the 2024 election, we must do a better job of listening and responding to voters that tuned out this election. We need to know why they lost hope and didn’t bother to cast their ballots. We need to understand what they need to hear from us. Rather than having most communications pointing out what voters already know is wrong, and then asking for money, our communications need to convince voters that they can put their trust in Republicans to bring solutions to our many problems.

We also need to unite after the Primary and work together toward victory. We have some people in our Party who are trying to build a following as they make excuses for their Primary defeats and hurl insults at the GOP from the sidelines. This self-serving behavior needs to be rejected if we want to win General Elections. Voters cannot expect the candidates to be a perfect reflection of themselves. Republicans differ in their economic status, life experiences, and their religious views. The right candidate for each district is respectful of those differences and shares the core values we have of returning freedoms lost, equal enforcement of laws, and opportunities for all to succeed in life.

United we win – divided we fall…because there just aren’t enough of us!

SacCountyGOP will be conducting a survey of voters to ask them why they did or didn’t vote for Republicans. We need to hear the good and bad reviews and we need to start acting on them in 2023. We need to understand what we can and can’t control in the election process, and always continue to press elections officials to clean the voter rolls. And we must encourage candidates with excellent communications skills, large networks of supporters, and the ability to raise money, to run for office in 2024. Having a passion for good government is not enough to win elections. Neither is wanting to see your name on the ballot. The search for candidates that fit the districts, and have the skills needed to win, starts now.

Please stay tuned as we develop our post-election survey and plan to participate. We’re not giving up on Sacramento, California or the USA. Please work with us and be a part of our victory in 2024.

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