Christy Smith Case Study
This was one of the longest battles we've fought as a firm. After coming up a few percent short in 2016, former Newhall School Board Member Christy Smith's rematch against Republican Dante Acosta was one of California's top red-to-blue flip targets for the state legislature, as well as one of the most expensive - with millions spent on both sides.
In 2018, Christy Smith ran for a seat that had been represented by a Republican for the last 40 years, with the last Democrat representing the region in 1978. Running for the same 38th Assembly District seat against a Republican who was campaigning as a moderate, Smith had fallen 6-points short in 2016, a presidential year, and trailed in nearly every poll throughout the 2018 campaign. In a last minute blitz, we launched a testimonial attack television and digital ad against Smith's opponent with real women from the community - including two young girls - taking Acosta to task for failing to vote for women’s equal pay and other key women’s rights issues. In conjunction with that spot, we began airing a positive television and digital ad highlighting Smith's highly coveted backing from the California Professional Firefighters, a validating organization which carried tremendous weight with voters. In the following days, Acosta’s support collapsed among women in our last track poll, and in the end after trailing among absentees, Smith came back and took the lead seven days after the election with late ballots.
In a race that was razor-thin throughout, the largest local newspaper declared Acosta the victor the day after the election, yet post election as ballots continued to be counted, Smith surged back to take the lead a week after the election with late ballots. In their post election wrap-up piece, the Los Angeles Daily News wrote, "Democrat Christy Smith has won a hard-fought election for the California Assembly in suburban Los Angeles after Republican incumbent Dante Acosta conceded defeat Wednesday... By flipping the Assembly seat, Democrats solidified their hold on power in Sacramento. They hold more than two-thirds of both the Assembly and the state Senate, the so-called supermajority."