The Karen England Factor

by CalWatchdog Staff | November 15, 2010 3:37 pm

Katy Grimes: Who knew that a write-in candidate could influence the outcome of some tight political races in California?

Karen England, Executive Director of the ┬áCapitol Resource Institute[1], ran as a write-in candidate against Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado. Using “Bag a RINO” as a campaign mantra, England said she decided to run because, “The choice between San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and moderate Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado was no choice at all for Republican voters.”

Recently an associate involved in Sacramento County politics made a reference to “The Karen England Factor,” as possibly influencing the final outcomes of several political races which are still being counted.

The “factor” is that ballots with write-in candidates are always manually counted, and in many counties, pulled aside and saved for counting until the end, along with provisional ballots.

Alice Jarboe with the Sacramento County Voter Registrar [2]explained that her office in the past has separated write-in ballots along with provisional ballots, and held them for counting until the very end of the election. But  this year, Jarboe said all ballots were processed through the counting machine first, and then the write-in ballots were separated for manual counting, verification and qualification of the write-in candidates.

Republicans are saying that “The Karen England Factor” influence comes into play because voters who took the time to write-in England are mostly conservative, usually Republican, politically knowledgeable and researched, whose votes may impact certain races.

But, we will not know if this is the case, until all ballots are counted.

In Sacramento County, England voters may impact the race between Scott Jones and Jim Cooper for Sheriff. And England said, “Voters may actually help Steve Cooley in his bid for Attorney General.” And, there could be other tight races in the state which “The Karen England Factor” may have an impact.

England received major endorsements from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, and former Assemblyman Tim Leslie.

CalWatchdog and Capitol Resource Institute[1] share offices, so we’ve been watching her campaign closely. We were there the day England announced she would run (although it was initially a toss up between England and CalWatchdog’s editor Steve Greenhut), and are interested to see what “The Karen England Factor” will be.

NOV. 15, 2010

  1. Capitol Resource Institute:
  2. Sacramento County Voter Registrar :

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