Category Archives: Jason Diavatis

Benicia election results – details and analysis

By Roger Straw, November 5, 2020
Outstanding votes

The Solano County Registrar of Voters have completed the count of Election Day ballots, and added those results to previously received mail-in ballots.  The result is still unofficial.  As of 9am on Thurs. Nov. 5, The County reports an estimate of 18,000-25,000 additional County-wide vote-by-mail ballots to be received and processed, and 4,000-6,000 additional provisional ballots to be processed.  Benicia’s share of those 22,000-31,000 ballots has not been reported and remains unknown.  However, Benicia’s population is 7% of Solano population, and our voter turnout percentage of 71% is slightly higher than countywide 68% – so we might count for 8% of the 22,000-31,000, or 1,760-2,800 votes.  The County will update its results at close of business and I will report here on any significant changes in outcome.

Benicia races for Mayor and City Council – winners and losers…
Details and analysis…
  • 14,528 Benicia ballots were received, 71% of 20,393 registered voters.  Wow!
  • MAYOR results as of Thurs. Nov 5, 9am:
    7,266 51.93%
    4,287 30.64%
    2,409 17.22%
  • Steve Young won vote-by-mail by a huge margin with 55% to Christina Strawbridge’s 31% and Jason Diavatis’ 15%.
  • Jason Diavatis (surprise!) won election-day voting with 36% (then Young at 34% and Strawbridge at 30%).  Close!
  • There were relatively few election-day votes, 1,746, compared to a whopping 12,216 vote-by-mail ballots.  Thus Steve Young’s incredible overall margin of 21 points.
  • CITY COUNCIL results as of Thurs. Nov. 5, 9am:
    7,245 36.56%
    6,269 31.63%
    6,177 31.17%
  • Tom Campbell won re-election to City Council with the highest vote total among candidates and a margin of just under 1,000 votes.  By tradition, as top vote-getter, Campbell will be named Benicia’s Vice Mayor, replacing Christina Strawbridge in that role.
  • Terry Scott won the second seat on City Council by 135 votes in election-day voting, but lost to Trevor Macenski by 43 votes in vote-by-mail.  Scott’s narrow final (unofficial) margin of 92 votes is subject to counting of more mail-in ballots and provisional ballots.  Keep your fingers crossed!
Cannabis results:

7,175 51.44%
6,772 48.56%

Those voting YES won in vote-by-mail ballots by a margin of 526 votes.  Those voting NO won in election-day voting by a margin of 123 votes.  Again, mail-in voting far outnumbered election-day voters.  Voters cast 12,182 mail-in ballots and only 1,765 election-day ballots.  I expect that the final (unofficial) margin of 403 votes, or 2.88% is likely to hold as the County counts additional mail-in ballots and provisional ballots.

Benicia Mayor race: 2 more $Valero mailers smearing Steve Young

By Roger Straw, October 20, 2020
I have chosen NOT to display Valero’s most recent nasty mailers.  I won’t give them the time, space and bully pulpit here.  Read on for description and analysis…

There are two sides to the latest Valero PAC mailers: nasty slams on Young and Diavatis, and big name sweet promos for their candidate.

$Valero’s push to win the Benicia Mayor’s seat continues unabated, despite the requests by all candidates that they cease and desist.

The claim against Diavatis is instructive.  The Valero PAC claims to have paid for a poll that shows Diavatis can’t win.  When was the last time that ANY candidate in Benicia was able to afford polling?  Small towns don’t do polling.  But big oil money does.

Valero’s independent expenditure committee (PAC) has set aside around $250,000 for our little Mayor’s race, and spent over $70,000 as of October 9.  (Additional contribution of $25,000 now – see update here.)

The U.S. Supremes ruled that the Valero PAC is a person, and can spend as much as it likes on an election.  But here in Benicia, we have a fair campaign ordinance that limits REAL people who run for office to expenditures of no more than $34,200 per candidate.

The total spending of the three candidates for Mayor amount to 3 x $34,200 or $102,600.  Stack that total up against Valero’s $250,000, and you might think the playing field is a little slanted?  And recall that one of the REAL person campaigns will be Valero’s chosen candidate, so it’s actually $250,000 plus their candidate’s $34,200, for a grand total of over $284,000.  Plunk down that kind of money against any one or two candidates, and see what happens.

That wouldn’t be fair even if Valero played nice.

I have chosen NOT to scan and post Valero’s most recent mailers.  I won’t give them the time, space and bully pulpit here.  Suffice to say the ads are all on file with me.  (Oh, and… the Benicia fair campaign ordinance requires that Valero submit photocopies of their ads, like they did in 2018 when they smeared candidate Kari Birdseye.  Why have we NOT seen photocopies in any of their 6 submitted 496 Independent Expenditure forms?)

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