Political Notebook

May 29, 2014

Donnelly doesn't buy theory his presence on Nov. ballot could help Dems

Political Notebook

Breaking news, insight on the Valley's political movers and shakers

Could Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tim Donnelly hurt some fellow GOP hopefuls — especially those in high Hispanic districts — if he is the party’s nominee in the November general election?

It’s something that Republican political analysts have said for months and that has been noted lately by some in the party’s political mainstream. The possibility was even noted by a national publication.

The scenario goes something like this: Donnelly, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration who has also made some controversial comments on race issues, could drive up Hispanic turnout in November just by being on the ballot — and send those voters toward the Democratic Party candidate.

Back in January, Tony Quinn, a longtime political analyst and former Republican legislative aide, told the Bee that such a scenario could play out in Hanford Republican Andy Vidak’s state Senate district, for instance. The seat is considered competitive, and Vidak is in a reelection battle against Democratic challenger Luis Chavez.

Stop right there, Donnelly said.

First off, he said he’s never heard the theory before. Secondly, he says it’s ridiculous.

“That is an incredible theory and if it were only backed by a real scenario,” he said in an interview.

People don’t turn out to vote against a candidate, Donnelly said. They only come out when they are motivated to vote for someone.

President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection proved that, he said. Obama motivated people, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney did not. And, Donnelly said, controversial actions and statements by Obama during his first term didn't result in any groundswell of anti-Obama voters.

“I just don’t buy it,” he said.

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Breaking news and insight from Bee reporters on the central San Joaquin Valley's lawmakers, movers and shakers. 'Round election time, this place really heats up.

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