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Can Orly Taitz win in California?

I threw it a quick link yesterday, but Kasie Hunt's story on Orly Taitz's chances at the GOP nomination for California secretary of state is worth a close read. For months, Taitz's campaign was covered as a silly little novelty, especially when she tried to get her opponent, Damon Dunn, kicked off the ballot. (She argued that he had not joined the GOP soon enough to qualify as a candidate.)

But the Orange County newspapers have done a good job of tracking Taitz's yeoman effort of scoring endorsements from conservative groups and showing up to any event that will let her in. She's won the backing of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, immigration restrictionist spokesman Sheriff Richard Mack and multiple tea party groups. She's gotten next to nothing from local Republican parties, but if you've been paying attention, that's not a huge problem this year. (Dunn has been endorsed by former governor Pete Wilson and most mainstream GOP groups.)

A possible Taitz victory would work like this.

Republican voters, brought out in sizable numbers by the contested primaries for governor and U.S. senator, fill out the rest of their ballot with progressively less information about their candidates. They know Taitz's name from... somewhere. And she's listed first on the ballot, thanks to the state's randomized ranking system. (Some of these voters, of course, will know and avidly support her.) She's identified on the ballot as an attorney, while Dunn is a real estate agent. They check off her name, and she wins.

Dunn can pull this off, despite running a fairly low-key campaign. For all we know, he could win by 30 points -- nobody polls these races. But it's not unheard of for a low-visibility office like this to go to the candidate with a little name recognition and the first place on the ballot. Cue: Potential PR disaster and a talking point Democrats could use until the end of time.

By David Weigel  |  June 8, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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Next: Another view on Taitz's prospects

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