California Votes: A Postmortem on the 2014 Election
Update: Conference video is now available -- see the Event Videos tab below.
This two-day conference brings together California’s political community – including practitioners, scholars, journalists, and students – to examine the largest and most important American campaigns after presidential contests.
This year, IGS will expand this traditional “California Votes” conference to address the entire election, including the gubernatorial campaign and other issues on the ballot. As in the past, we will bring together experts of all backgrounds and political beliefs to dissect the day-to-day campaigns, the broader issues of the election, and the long-term questions facing the California political process.
Friday, January 30th
1 pm — Welcoming Remarks
1:15 - 2:45 pm — The State of the Parties: Republicans and Democrats in California
Both parties face critical questions about the future. Are Republicans viable in statewide elections? Can they appeal to a changing electorate? Are there coming splits in the Democratic Party that could threaten its preeminence? Or are demographic changes likely to make Democrats even more dominant than they have been?
Ruben Barrales, President/CEO, GROWElect
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, University of Southern California
Douglas Rivers, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University, and Chief Scientist, YouGov Polimetrix
Shawnda Westly, Executive Director, California Democratic Party
Moderator: Amy Chance, Sacramento Bee
2:45 - 3 pm — Break and Refreshments
3:00 - 4:30 pm — Independent Expenditure Campaigns: Growth and Impact
Independent Expenditure campaigns play an increasingly important role in elections both in California and across the nation. What was the impact of IEs in California this year? Do they make a difference? What are the advantages and potential dangers for candidates? How is the role of IEs likely to change in coming cycles?
Laiza Garcia, PAC Director, California Association of Realtors, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council
Alma Hernandez, SEIU
Cassandra Walker Pye, 3.14 Communications
Marty Wilson, Vice President for Public Affairs, California Chamber of Commerce
Moderator: Karen Skelton, Founder and President, Skelton Strategies, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council
4:30- 6:00 pm — The Top-Two: So What?
How did California’s “top-two” electoral system play out in this election? Did it produce results in legislative or congressional races that were different than we would have seen under the old system?
Ruth Bernstein, Principal, EMC Research
Steve Glazer, former Assembly candidate
Eric McGhee, Public Policy Institute of California
Courtni Pugh, Hilltop Public Solutions
Christy Wilson, President and CEO, Wilson Public Affairs
Moderator: Shaudi Falamaki Fulp, Principal, Fidens Group, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council
Saturday, January 31st
9:30 – 10 am — Continental Breakfast
10:00 – 11:30 am — Coke and Oil: The Local Battles of 2014
Some of the most interesting and high-profile battles of the 2014 California election occurred at the local level, especially the proposals for local soda taxes and county bans on fracking. We dissect these campaigns and discover why voters made their decisions.
Ross G. Bates, Ross G. Bates Consulting
Maureen Erwin, Erwin and Muir
Roger Salazar, President, ALZA Strategies
Larry Tramutola, Founder, Tramutola Advisors
Christy Wilson, President andf CEO, Wilson Public Affairs
Moderator: Katie Merrill, Founder, Merrill Strategy Group, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council
11:30 – 11:45 am — Break – Refreshments
11:45 am – 1 pm — Keynote Lunch Address – A Look Ahead to 2016
We’ll take a break from dissecting the 2014 results and look ahead to the national possibilities for the 2016 election.
Amy Walter, National Editor, Cook Political Report
1:00 - 1:15 pm — Break and Refreshments
1:15 – 2:45 pm — Who Showed Up, Who Stayed Home, and Why: California Turnout in 2014
This election featured a record-low turnout. Why? What did the electorate look like? What should we expect for turnout in future California elections, both in presidential and gubernatorial years?
Cynthia Bryant, Executive Director, California Republican Party
Mark DiCamillo, Director, Field Poll
Paul Mitchell, Political Data
Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project, UC-Davis
Tracy Zeluff, Senior Partner, GroundWorks Campaigns
Moderator: Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times
2:45 – 3:00 pm — Break -- Refreshments
3:00 – 5:00 pm — The Battle to be Governor: Brown vs. Kashkari
Consultants, journalists, and others analyze the dynamics of the contest between Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari. Why did the winner prevail? Was it because of the campaign or because of inherent conditions such as the economy and voter registration? What does the outcome say about the future of California politics?
Lanhee Chen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Aaron McLear, Redwood Pacific Public Affairs
Ace Smith, SCN Strategies
Kevin Spillane, The Stonecreek Group
Dana Williamson, Cabinet Secretary, Office of the Governor
Moderator: Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle
5 – 6 pm - Reception
Brown and Kashkari teams let down guard on 2014 contest, Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2015
Train rides and Twitter: Five takeaways from the Brown/Kashkari campaign, Sacramento Bee, January 31, 2015
Democratic Party official: ‘Conspiracy’ talk around Kamala Harris sexist, Sacramento Bee, January 30, 2015
Changing The Way We Vote Isn't Getting More People To Vote, The Cook Political Report, February 4th, 2015
Ethnic battles brewing in 2016 California U.S. Senate race?, San Francisco Chronicle, February 3rd, 2015