California Votes: A Postmortem on the 2014 Election

Friday, January 30, 2015
1:00pm to 6:00pm
January 31, 2015 - 9:30am to 5:00pm
Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way
Berkeley CA 94704
Available multimedia: 
Event has video

Update: Conference video is now available -- see the Event Videos tab below. 

This two-day conference brings together California’s political community – including practitioners, scholars, journalists, and students – to examine the largest and most important American campaigns after presidential contests.

This year, IGS will expand this traditional “California Votes” conference to address the entire election, including the gubernatorial campaign and other issues on the ballot. As in the past, we will bring together experts of all backgrounds and political beliefs to dissect the day-to-day campaigns, the broader issues of the election, and the long-term questions facing the California political process.

Friday, January 30th

1 pm — Welcoming Remarks

1:15 - 2:45 pm — The State of the Parties: Republicans and Democrats in California

Both parties face critical questions about the future. Are Republicans viable in statewide elections? Can they appeal to a changing electorate? Are there coming splits in the Democratic Party that could threaten its preeminence? Or are demographic changes likely to make Democrats even more dominant than they have been?

Ruben Barrales, President/CEO, GROWElect

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication, University of Southern California

Douglas Rivers, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University, and Chief Scientist, YouGov Polimetrix

Shawnda Westly, Executive Director, California Democratic Party

Moderator: Amy Chance, Sacramento Bee

2:45 - 3 pm — Break and Refreshments

3:00 - 4:30 pm — Independent Expenditure Campaigns: Growth and Impact

Independent Expenditure campaigns play an increasingly important role in elections both in California and across the nation. What was the impact of IEs in California this year? Do they make a difference? What are the advantages and potential dangers for candidates? How is the role of IEs likely to change in coming cycles?

Laiza Garcia, PAC Director, California Association of Realtors, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council

Alma Hernandez, SEIU

Cassandra Walker Pye, 3.14 Communications

Marty Wilson, Vice President for Public Affairs, California Chamber of Commerce

Moderator: Karen Skelton, Founder and President, Skelton Strategies, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council

 4:30- 6:00 pm — The Top-Two: So What?

How did California’s “top-two” electoral system play out in this election? Did it produce results in legislative or congressional races that were different than we would have seen under the old system?

Ruth Bernstein, Principal, EMC Research

Steve Glazer, former Assembly candidate

Eric McGhee, Public Policy Institute of California

Courtni Pugh, Hilltop Public Solutions

Christy Wilson, President and CEO, Wilson Public Affairs

Moderator: Shaudi Falamaki Fulp, Principal, Fidens Group, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council



Saturday, January 31st

9:30 – 10 am — Continental Breakfast

10:00 – 11:30 am — Coke and Oil: The Local Battles of 2014

Some of the most interesting and high-profile battles of the 2014 California election occurred at the local level, especially the proposals for local soda taxes and county bans on fracking. We dissect these campaigns and discover why voters made their decisions.

Ross G. Bates, Ross G. Bates Consulting

Maureen Erwin, Erwin and Muir

Roger Salazar, President, ALZA Strategies

Larry Tramutola, Founder, Tramutola Advisors 

Christy Wilson, President andf CEO, Wilson Public Affairs

Moderator: Katie Merrill, Founder, Merrill Strategy Group, and member of the Institute of Governmental Studies National Advisory Council

11:30 – 11:45 am — Break – Refreshments

11:45 am – 1 pm — Keynote Lunch Address – A Look Ahead to 2016

We’ll take a break from dissecting the 2014 results and look ahead to the national possibilities for the 2016 election.

Amy Walter, National Editor, Cook Political Report

1:00 - 1:15 pm — Break and Refreshments

1:15 – 2:45 pm — Who Showed Up, Who Stayed Home, and Why: California Turnout in 2014

This election featured a record-low turnout. Why? What did the electorate look like? What should we expect for turnout in future California elections, both in presidential and gubernatorial years?

Cynthia Bryant, Executive Director, California Republican Party

Mark DiCamillo, Director, Field Poll

Paul Mitchell, Political Data

Mindy Romero, Director, California Civic Engagement Project, UC-Davis

Tracy Zeluff, Senior Partner, GroundWorks Campaigns

Moderator: Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

2:45 – 3:00 pm — Break -- Refreshments

3:00 – 5:00 pm — The Battle to be Governor: Brown vs. Kashkari

Consultants, journalists, and others analyze the dynamics of the contest between Jerry Brown and Neel Kashkari. Why did the winner prevail? Was it because of the campaign or because of inherent conditions such as the economy and voter registration? What does the outcome say about the future of California politics?

Lanhee Chen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Aaron McLear, Redwood Pacific Public Affairs

Ace Smith, SCN Strategies

Kevin Spillane, The Stonecreek Group

Dana Williamson, Cabinet Secretary, Office of the Governor

Moderator: Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle

 5 – 6 pm - Reception

The conference will take place at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza. You can get driving directions on their website here
There are two parking garages close to the hotel. The Allston Way Garage is directly across the street from the hotel. The Kittredge Garage is also close by.
You can also take BART. The hotel is right next to the Downtown Berkeley BART station.

Watch on YouTube.