Noah Blom had decided to run against Herdman while another candidate, “Marshall”, was also considering running, pushing that candidate out. The problem with a three-person race running against an incumbent is that the incumbent nearly always wins. Why? Because many people just go down the list and check all the boxes for the incumbents because they don’t pay attention to politics and they figure “hey, there are no bodies in the street, they must be doing a good job”– this accounts for (depending on the election) somewhere between 20 and 30% of the total votes. On the otherside, about 20% of people will always vote *against* the incumbents, these amount to “free” votes for any challenger– but splitting them between two different challengers can dilute the vote and render the races much more difficult. For those doing the math, yes, that means only about 50% of the actual votes are “sway-able”.
Many times, an incumbent will stealthly ask his or her long-time friend– who may or may not live on the same Island in Newport Beach as they do– to run against them. Not to do a serious campaign, but just to “spoil” the election for the challenger. This well-liked and popular person would need to do virtually nothing in order to secure his friends election, except to file to run and smile a lot. This, essentially, splits the vote. It doesn’t split the vote of the informed– but it does split the vote of the uninformed, and that makes a big difference.
Yesterday, after Marshall’s name fell off the challenger list for Jeff Herdman’s re-election campaign, and only Noah Blom was left, longtime Balboa Island resident Lee Pearl– who has always made a point of keeping his politics silent– filed to run for office.
Pearl’s entry into the fray comes as a bit of a surprise to almost everyone– mostly because nobody knows his political views because he’s intentionally kept them to himself. His long and friendly history with sitting councilperson Jeff Herdman raises even more eyebrows about his reasons for filing.
For now, all eyes are on Noah Blom, lead chef and founder of ARC restaurant. As a small business owner in the city– and of a business that sees so many people coming in and out of it every day– he has a unique and personal perspective as his day-to-day is literally the “boots on the ground” that our council has been missing for a long time.
While Blom was unavailable for comment for this article, I look forward to getting to know him and his reasons for running as this campaign moves forward. This race will be a tough slog, but if anyone can do it, it’s someone who deals with the public on a daily basis.
Pearl has until 4:30pm today to turn in his paperwork to run, or he will not qualify for the election. If he turns in his papers– there will be no turning back. It will be interesting to see how this field looks, Monday.