Johansson Makes It Uncomfortably Close for the Incumbent

For most of the night, incumbent District Attorney Jeff Reisig appeared to be comfortably ahead of his surprisingly robust challenger.  It was 59-40 after the early absentees were counted, but as the votes rolled in from Davis that gap closed.

By the time the precincts were in, the incumbent was still ahead, but it was a relatively narrow 54-46 lead, with just 2037 votes separated the two.

This one might not be over.  We heard all day that voters in Davis had held their absentees and turned them in on Election Day.  It may be that 2037 votes might be and probably are too much to overcome – but in a race that has defied conventional rules, who knows.

Dean Johansson announced late and entered the race short on money and experience as a politician, and faced an incumbent who had been first elected in 2006 and faced no opposition in 2010 or 2014.

While the money poured into Sacramento County backing Noah Phillips against incumbent Anne Marie Schubert, the incumbent declared victory early and led 64-36 as all precincts were reporting.  Meanwhile, in Yolo County at last count, Mr. Johansson had raised around $70,000.

As Campaign Manager Natalie Wormeli told the Vanguard a few days ago, “Our great resource (was) all of our volunteers.  We have over 500 volunteers, 75 people canvassing.”

She added, “The cool thing is it’s been very natural getting more volunteers.  When people hear a message they join us.  The campaign is built upon itself.

“Dean is always referring to it as the people’s campaign and that’s what it’s truly turned out to be,” she said.

In an article Monday in the Huffington Post they noted, “Reisig, who has not faced an opponent since first running for the office more than a decade ago, has enacted some reforms while in office, notably a community court that aims to help keep low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system and has been called “progressive enough” by the Sacramento Bee editorial board.”

But the article points out: “Reisig has been criticized for not doing enough to reduce the racial disparities of charges and incarceration in Yolo County.”

Mr. Johansson, running on a broad reform platform, “has won the endorsement of the local Democratic Party, has pledged to support diversion programs for youth offenders to help keep them out of the criminal justice system, end practices that criminalize poverty, mental illness and substance abuse, and stop seeking the death penalty in the county’s cases. “

The Vanguard will have more on this race and reactions from Mr. Johansson and the campaign as it becomes available.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t agree. Especially considering the advantages of incumbency, the late start to the campaign, and the resource disadvantage. Look at what happened in Sacramento 64-36 and Phillips was a Deputy DA with years of experience and had Soros money backing him.

      1. Keith O

        Reisig won, I know you don’t like that and as the saying goes you are now trying to make ice cream out of horseshit.

        Everyone knew Reisig would win and he did just that.

        I can point to other races where a parcel tax passed by just a few percentage points and you claimed it wasn’t all that close.

        1. David Greenwald

          Reisig won. Dean fought a hard race, raised key issues, and got a surprisingly close result.

          By comparison:

          County Supervisor (Open Seat)
          Sandy 62.7 to 37.3 over Stallard
          Lopez 71.6 to 28.4 Prieto
          Clerk Recorder:
          Salinas 69, Schwenger 30
          Reisig 54, Johansson 46

          Seems like this was unusually close for a seat with an incumbent

        2. Ken A

          It sounds like a better headline would have been Dean does not loose as bad as others.  I always laugh when people who support a winner say he “blew out the competition” when winning by 3% then when they support the loser say the election was “uncomfortably close” after losing by 8%.

          P.S. Not many people were calling this election (with a similar spread) “uncomfortable close”


          P.P.S. The Dean team really did a great job getting support since he did a lot better than I thought he would…

    2. Jeff M

      The ones that lost their minds are there and will never get them back.  I think this result is not an indication that Davis voters somehow got smart before they marked their little black box for the better DA candidate, but is clear evidence that Davis’s days of ruling Yolo County with their “progressive” anti-law enforcement, pro-criminal impulses are over.

  1. Keith O

    On another note it looks like Measure I street tax is going down to defeat.  Maybe the voters in Davis have finally come to their senses.  This doesn’t bode well for any future school tax.

    1. Howard P

      Might indicate that  General Tax could be a better than a Parcel Tax… had “I” been a gereral tax, it apprears to be on the path to passage.

      1. Jeff M

        When asked if he cared to respond to the claims by some in the Davis Vanguard, Reisig responded “the Davis what?”.

        Basically, this is a guy that is so focused on his job and doing it well that he does not spend any time in the political chattering sandboxes.   I believe he could of easily had a better election result if he had done the politician thing, but he knew he was doing the job he was elected to do and would let that just speak for itself.  My advice to him if he runs for reelection next time is to accept that there is a well-funded anti-law enforcement / pro-criminal mob in Yolo County and that he needs to take some more time in the public to counter their lies and absurdity.

        1. Alan Miller

          > this is a guy that is so focused on his job and doing it well that he does not spend any time in the political chattering sandboxes.

          What does that say about us?

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