Election Eve: Candidates push to get out votes

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Cameron Smyth was ringing bells and knocking on doors in Saugus on Monday afternoon when his cell phone rang at just the right moment. He was in between canvassing stops as he made his Election Day Eve campaign rounds, and he had a few seconds to chat.

“Just doing some of that last-minute, get-out-the-vote stuff,’’ said Smyth, a former Santa Clarita City Councilman – and, he hopes, a future Santa Clarita City Councilman as well.

“I plan on doing that today and tomorrow,’’ Smyth said. “The plan is to keep grinding till 8 o’clock (Tuesday) night.’’

Eight p.m. Tuesday is when the polls close in Santa Clarita and throughout Los Angeles County — also bringing to a close an often muddy marathon of campaigning for offices ranging from President of United States, to U.S. Senate and House, to state Senate and Assembly, to City Council, to local school boards and water boards.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Results for some races, particularly the smaller ones, do not figure to be known until Wednesday at the earliest, and likely even later in the week.

While Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have kicked their presidential campaigns into overdrive in recent days, local candidates say there’s been no less motivation to get out the vote on the local level in the Santa Clarita Valley.

That’s what the candidates and their foot soldiers were doing Monday, and were planning to do more of Tuesday – ringing bells, working the phones, closing the deal.

“At this point it’s in the hands of the voters,’’ said Smyth, one of 11 candidates vying for the two expiring four-year seats on the Santa Clarita City Council.

Christy Smith, the Democratic candidate for Assembly in the 38th District, was getting ready to hit the trail again Monday morning as she entered the final strides of her race against Republican Dante Acosta – a campaign that has been animated by animus on both sides.

Acosta has accused Smith’s campaign of running “racist” anti-Acosta ads. Smith’s campaign has questioned Acosta’s business background as well as his treatment of women in light of accusations he sexually harassed a female GOP staffer – charges Acosta vehemently denies.

Monday, both nominees looked to fire up their bases.

“We’ve pulled in workers from across the state (to canvas) all over the 38th’’ said Smith, whose campaign has received much support in the trenches from the state Democratic Party.

Smith estimated 40 to 50 volunteers were working the phone banks on her behalf Monday.

Acosta, meanwhile, said he was “out running around, making phone calls, meeting with folks” on Monday before campaign stops in the San Fernando Valley on Monday night and in Simi Valley on Tuesday.

An Acosta campaign spokesman, Sam Spencer, said the local GOP had “about 100 people” working phones, “making sure Republicans get out and vote.’’

In the contentious race for the 25th Congressional seat between one-term incumbent Republican Steve Knight and Democratic challenger Bryan Caforio, both sides were dashing for the finish line.

“We’re expecting it to be very close, and that’s why we’re putting so much emphasis on getting out the vote,” said Caforio campaign spokesman Orrin Evans. “We have canvas shifts going out of every single office, people working the phones … it’s 24/7, just getting out the vote, one vote at a time.”

Caforio himself is planning a busy Election Day across the Santa Clarita, Antelope and Simi valleys. It will start with a 7:30 a.m. rally at his Palmdale office, include a “whistlestop” ride on the Metrolink train between Lancaster and Newhall, and conclude at what he hopes will be victory party at the Pocock Brewery in Santa Clarita.

For his part, Knight was employing “a full-court press until 8 o’clock (Tuesday) night,” he told The Signal.

“Just calling, calling, calling,” said the congressman, who has been identified by the non-partisan Cook Political Report website as California’s “most vulnerable’’ incumbent.

Knight also was doing several “tele-town hall” phone meetings Monday night, where voters could ask him questions. Such calls reach out to 15,000 or so voters at a time. Knight said that, typically, about 1,000 stay on the line for the hour to discuss the issues.

TimBen Boydston, an incumbent City Council member seeking re-election in Santa Clarita, was out at 5:45 a.m. Monday morning, standing with a sign at Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway, waving at drivers as they headed to work and chatting with passersby who were on foot.

“It’s been a long campaign,’’ Boydston said, noting “it was my 53rd appearance” in the early-morning hours at various street corners throughout the area. He’s planning No. 54 on Tuesday morning.

Alan Ferdman, another Council candidate — and a political pal of Boydston — joked that, “Mr. Boydston beat me by 15 minutes’’ Monday in taking to the streets. Ferdman’s post was at Soledad and Whites Canyon roads.

“I get a lot of waves, very few negative things … it makes you optimistic that you’ve been getting your message out,’’ Ferdman said. “I’ve also been going to some of the Republican clubs, some of the Democratic clubs, trying to make myself as visible as possible.”

Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, a longtime veteran of the local political wars, said he was spending Monday phoning supporters with thanks and encouragement — and reminding them of the GOP’s ballot-night gathering Tuesday at Robinson Ranch Golf Club.

Otherwise, he was low-keying it.

“At this juncture, as far as going out and knocking on doors, I think that time has gone by,’’ Kellar said. “I’m looking forward to getting my first polling results … I don’t pay for (pre-election) polls.’’

As for Monday night, Kellar said, “I plan to spend a quiet evening at home with my wife.’’

But there was one box not yet checked on Kellar’s pre-election agenda.

“I still have to shine my shoes,” the mayor said.

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