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James Ryan On Andrew Vidak’s District Demographics—And Why He May Keep His Seat
The reader who wrote to Allan Wall about the demographics of Republican cherry farmer Andy Vidak’s district (Is Andy Vidak´s District Really Majority Hispanic?)was incorrect. Due to the staggered nature of California State Senate elections, even-numbered state senate districts based on the 2000 census are still in effect.
Under these district lines, the district is 22.3% white and 63.2% Hispanic. The map displayed on Vidak's website confirms this, matching the 2000 lines:
Starting in 2014, the district will be 52.04% white and 35.72% Hispanic, meaning he has a fair chance of keeping his seat.
That said, I think it is important to point out that Vidak himself estimates he only got 1/4 of the Hispanic vote, compared to the 1/8 received by previous candidates.
"Mr. Vidak said he got his message right and estimated that he had to win perhaps one of four Hispanic votes to carry the district. Previous GOP candidates for the seat took an estimated one of eight Hispanic votes — and routinely lost the four-county district."[ Hispanic win: ‘California can be Republican again’, By Ralph Z. Hallow,The Washington Times, July 29, 2013]
The most likely reason for Vidak's win is low turnout from Hispanics in a special election in the middle of summer. Hispanic voters typically lag behind in turnout, and an election at an odd time with no other candidate on the ballot would probably result in a very low turnout. Vidak actually got fewer votes than the 2010 GOP nominee, but only a drop of about 10%; whereas the Democrat vote dropped by 45% compared to 2010.