For Democratic voters in Elk Grove, will local party or individual endorsements matter in mayoral race?

In a city that has with each passing year becomes a Democratic stronghold, will the endorsement of the local party organization matter more ...

In a city that has with each passing year becomes a Democratic stronghold, will the endorsement of the local party organization matter more than a laundry list of individuals? That is a question that will be answered in the coming weeks as Elk Grove voters make their decision in the hotly contested 2020 mayoral race.

On one side is the challenger Bobbie Singh-Allen, who despite a late entry to the race, has rounded up a long list of Democratic officeholders. Among those of local interest are Assemblymember and former Elk Grove City Councilmember Jim Cooper and Rep. Ami Bera, who contributed $1,000 to the Sigh-Allen's campaign. 

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"Bobbie is a longtime friend. I have watched her lead California's 5th largest school district with compassion, dedication, and transparency," Bera told Elk Grove News. "She has worked her entire career to empower Elk Grove families, and I know as Mayor she will do the same."

While Singh-Allen has racked up her high-profile endorsements, notwithstanding his loss of the Democratic Party of Sacramento endorsement over claims he and associates have bullied women elected officials in Elk Grove, including Singh-Allen, Ly is touting his support from the Elk Grove-South County Democratic. The mailer headline for Ly today said, "Only 1 Democrat endorsed by Elk Grove Democrats & Labor."

This mailer includes a much shorter list of individual Democrats than Singh-Allen, and Ly highlights four union endorsements. Singh-Allen has received the Teamsters and Firefighters union endorsements.

For Elk Grove Democratic voters, will any of these endorsements, particularly from individuals, matter? Perhaps the best gauge is the 2018 mayoral race between Ly and challengers Tracie Stafford and Elk Grove Councilmember Darren Suen.

As Singh-Allen has this year, in 2018, Suen rounded-up a slew of heavyweight Democratic endorsements as he attempted to unseat Ly. In the end, endorsements don't determine election outcomes, voters do, and Suen's list of supporters was not enough as Ly easily won reelection to his second term. 

Democratic party endorsements, in 2020, given the unpopularity of Donald Trump and Republican policies, might be enough for causal partisan voters who catch a glimpse of the mailer before tossing it in the recycle bin. The highlighted phrase "endorsed by Elk Grove Democrats & Labor" on the Ly mailer might be all that a large enough number of voters need to make their decision. 

In a sense, the showdown between Ly and Singh Allen will again test the value of endorsements in the scope of an entire campaign. And just for good measure, it's worth remembering that Ly was hit hard about this time two years ago with a large scale independent expenditure committee negative advertising campaign that, like Suen's endorsements, mattered little.     

While individual endorsements from recognizable figures like Bera and Cooper are helpful, other names push the limits of significance for casual voters. After all, how many people know the name of California's Lt. Governor?  

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