Former Councilman Jordan Brandman pulled off a political comeback, defeating Councilman James Vanderbilt to return to the Anaheim City Council representing District 2:
Brandman, a Democrat, was first elected to the city council in 2012, when the elections were still at-large. He ran for re-election in 2016 from newly-created District 3, but was narrowly defeated by left-wing academic Jose F. Moreno.
Vanderbilt, a Republican, re-located from District 3 to District 2 in late 2015; Brandman move to District 2 in 2018.
Vanderbilt had the advantage of incumbency, but Brandman had also been on the ballot in West Anaheim in 2012 and residual name ID from his council term. Also, the 22,764 voters of District 2 lean heavily Democratic in terms of voter registration; Republicans are outnumbered by No Party Preference voters:
- 44.4% Democrat
- 23% Republican
- 27.5% No Party Preference
Vanderbilt had ample campaign resources. He’s self-funds his races and takes no outside campaign donations. He spent $200,000 on his at-large election in 2014, and put $148,000 of his own money into his re-election campaign at the beginning of the year.
The Brandman campaign will have spent close to $200,000, and Vanderbilt will have spent his treasury and perhaps more: the second $100,000 spent on his 2014 election wasn’t reported until after the election.
Independent expenditures also played a significant role. The Support Our Anaheim Resort (SOAR) PAC spent $352,951 on pro-Brandman voter communication. The Anaheim Firefighters Association and Anaheim Police Association each spent about $10,000 in support of Brandman. The California Homeowners Association – a customary vehicle for negative mail by Team Tait – reported $4,825 for a late hit on Brandman.
Money is obviously a significant factor, but not the only one. There was reportedly a curious quiet period of about two weeks after absentee ballots arrived that voters received no mail from the Vanderbilt campaign.
Brandman also mounted a robust door-knocking program. According to the candidate, he, family members and volunteers walked 5,000 households, three times over. His message was simple:
- Let’s permanently clean up our parks and connect the homeless humanely with services to get them back on their feet as productive members of society.
- Add 25 Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking community service police officers to patrol neighborhoods after school.
- Doing the aforementioned will enable the city to reduce the constant helicopter patrols on West Anaheim that diminish qualify of life and impact home values.
- Bring a Trader Joe’s to West Anaheim.
Brandman wants to work collaboratively with his colleagues to solve issues facing the whole city while vigorously representing the interests of his district: “We are going to get our fair share for West Anaheim.”