Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: Never too early to handicap the big race

By From page A2 | April 06, 2014

Any time there’s a horse race, dedicated gamblers come out of the woodwork to demand a piece of the action.

So it is with the five-horse race for a seat in the California Legislature representing the 4th Assembly District. As we’ve seen from recent financial reporting, some candidates are willing to spend far in excess of an Assemblyman’s salary to win this coveted prize. It may not make economic sense, but who knows, maybe one of these five fellows will one day be running for president and the money spent on this Assembly campaign will look like chump change.

Years ago, for unknown reasons, I began listing election “odds” on various political races, most notably the always heated affairs for a seat on the Davis City Council. Over time, bookmakers in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and Tonopah have come to rely on these odds in their betting establishments. I’ll admit that with the primary still two months away it might seem early to be posting such odds, but when there’s a demand for my services, I comply.

Odds, of course, don’t guarantee an outcome. That’s why they call them “odds.” Most people, when they first see them, say “that’s odd,” hence the name. An oddsmaker (see photo above) simply tries to ascertain the chances of a certain event happening, be it the outcome of a 49ers-Raiders game or the winner of the race for the 4th Assembly District in the state of California.

Odds can and will change between now and Election Day as one candidate after another manages to shoot himself in the foot on the campaign trail. Today’s sure winner is tomorrow’s longshot.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, odds generally consist of two numbers, as in the phrase “2 to 1.” If a candidate’s odds of winning are listed as “2 to 1,” it means he has two chances of losing and one chance of winning. “Even odds” or “Even money” means the candidate’s chances of winning are 50-50.

Note: I can say “he” comfortably in this race since all five candidates for the 4th Assembly District appear to be male.

If a candidate is listed at “100 to 1,” meaning he has 100 chances of losing and one chance of winning, he qualifies as a longshot. Odds of “1 million to 1” suggest the candidate should return all money raised to his supporters and drop out of the race.

The odds may be revisited, as necessary, between now and the June primary, but note, these are odds to win the Assembly seat in November, not just to come in first in the primary.

May I have the envelope please?

DAN WOLK (Even money) … many are saying the race is Dandy Dan’s to lose, but it’s not quite that simple. Yes, he has youth, charm, charisma, brains, a beautiful family and a famous name on his side, but I’m not sure voters in Williams know who he is. The biggest hurdle for Dan is to convince voters outside his hometown that he’s not just a Davis guy who’s going to institute Davis policies on the state of California as a whole.

BILL DODD (5 to 2) … not a longshot by any means, Dodd has put together a credible campaign with an overflowing war chest and has a fighting chance if he can harness the significant anti-Davis sentiment in this six-county district. If Wolk and Krovoza split the Davis vote, as expected, Dodd could sneak into one of the top two spots in the primary and have a reasonable chance of success in the November general election.

JOE KROVOZA (3 to 1) … veteran political observers are scratching their heads over the fact Krovoza and Wolk decided to run for the same office at the same time. We’re used to seeing these things hammered out ahead of time behind closed doors, with only one candidate emerging. Instead, we have two liberal Democrats with similar philosophies duking it out for the hometown vote, which might end up costing both of them the ultimate prize.

CHARLIE SCHAUPP (10,000 to 1) … nice guy, hard worker, been around the area for a long, long time. None of which adds up to victory in this power-packed race.

DUSTIN CALL (50 billion to 1) … the only way Dustin makes it into the Capitol on Election Day is with a visitor’s pass.

PEYTON MANNING (100 billion to 1) … mean-spirited Seahawks fans have mounted a write-in campaign to help the Broncos’ quarterback find gainful employment now that his NFL career appears to be over.

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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