More than 13,000 Sacramento County Democrats skipped over President Barack Obama’s name and either left their presidential ballots blank or wrote in a candidate at last Tuesday’s primary.
About 85,000 Democrats and 5,000 decline-to-state voters took a ballot. Close to 8,000 voters left the ballot blank and 5,300 wrote in a candidate. Thirty percent of registered Democrats voted, and 32 percent of registered Republicans voted.
“Our reaction is ‘woo hoo!’” Sue Blake, chairwoman for the Sacramento County Republican Party, said. When asked what the group’s feeling is about the general election, Blake said, “We’re excited about it … excited about the direction things are moving.”
The roughly 13,300 voters who shunned Obama largely live in the conservative, rural regions of the county, according to the Sacramento Bee.
But “it wasn’t just the rural areas,” Blake said. A number of the Obama-shunners live in regions just north and east of central Sacramento.
Sacramento’s downtown district and its northern and southern borders are heavily Democratic, but the Northeast corner, also densely populated, is largely Republican.
California Republicans also won over a district with more registered Democrats, the 31st Congressional District. Under the state’s new “top two” primary rule, the two candidates with the most votes – in this case Republicans Gary Miller and Bob Dutton– will face off in the general election.
Blake says the Sacramento County Republicans are particularly interested in what will be a “hot contest” between Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Dr. Ami Bera (D). Lungren took 53 percent of the vote in the primary.
Democrats were nearly three times more likely than Republicans to leave ballots blank or write in a candidate. Democrats were also more likely this election to leave ballots blank or choose write-in candidates than the 2008 primaries.
Several Republican ballots were returned vying for candidates other than Gov. Mitt Romney, but there were less Republican blank and write-in ballots than in the 2004 primaries, when George W. Bush was the only name on the ballot.
A list provided to voters of qualified Democratic candidates included Michael W.R. Meyer, Jr., Luis Alberto Ramos, Jr. and Darcy Richardson. Independent candidates included Andrew Abe Diaz and Raymond Delmond Smith, and Republican candidates included Donald James Gonzales, Jeremy Hannon and Sheldon Yeu Howard.