Attorney Eloise Reyes was taking on incumbent and fellow Democrat Cheryl Brown for this Inland Empire California State Assembly seat. In addition to her power of incumbency, support from the vast majority of Democratic elected officials, and the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party, Brown was backed by the oil industry and business groups who invested millions in independent expenditures on her behalf. Reyes was supported by some labor unions and local progressives but was severely underfunded in comparison.
In the primary, Reyes secured second place to guarantee a D vs. D general election, trailing Brown by 10 points in the June vote. Facing a seven-figure resource disadvantage for the general election and without enough funds to afford even cable television in the LA media market, our direct mail program needed to do just about everything right.
1. Win Latinos by a strong margin
2. Win persuadable Anglo Democrats and independents
3. Compete for Republicans to prevent Brown from making up for our Latino margin there.
Polling demonstrated a clear contrast on Reyes’s message of siding with the people vs. Cheryl Brown siding with big oil and corporations. And Brown had ethical vulnerabilities that resonated with Republicans and a bad vote on sexual assault that independents responded very negatively to.
1. Build Eloise up to overcome the barrage of negative attacks from Brown’s independent expenditure.
2. Drive the populist contrast to Democrats and independents.
3. Drive a contrast on protecting taxpayer dollars vs. Brown being a self-serving politician with Republicans.
4. Unleash the sexual assault vote hit on the heels of Trump’s Access Hollywood tape revelation.
Democrat Eloise Reyes strongly defeated incumbent Democrat Cheryl Brown by 10 percentage points in the general election while spending a fraction of what Brown spent. It was a massive rebuke to the oil industry and the millions they spent supporting Brown. Reyes won every city in the district and dominated Democratic areas in spite of Brown’s active support from Democratic leaders and the state Democratic Party. Our direct mail was covered by the Los Angeles Times and KPCC public radio, and voters particularly indicated to canvassers that the sexual assault vote we highlighted as the last straw.