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West Sideswipes

By Gilbert Garcia

Simple logic should tell us that District 5 Council member Lourdes Galvan is in deep trouble in her runoff rematch against David Medina.

This May-December grudge match (Galvan is 39 years older than her challenger) comes in the wake of a general election that found Galvan only 90 votes ahead of Medina. In 2007, the first time they faced off for this seat, Medina closed a 722-vote general-election gap by 447 votes to narrowly lose the runoff. He won't need nearly that big a swing this time.

Also, if you think of a Council election as a referendum on an incumbent's job performance, isn't it safe to assume that the 18 percent of District 5 voters who cast their ballots for also-ran candidates were less than satisfied with Galvan's job performance?

Such logic might bolster the spirits of Medina's campaign workers, but it doesn't prove much. For one thing, the runoff turnout will be significantly smaller than what we saw in the general election, which lowers the bar for both candidates -- and Galvan's base of support has been pretty solid, if unspectacular, over the last two election cycles. And even though she's taken heat for verbal gaffes, a unilateral decision to honor the Bandidos motorcycle club, and the frustratingly slow pace of West Side street repairs (which, in fairness, she's pushed her colleagues to speed up), she has the power and name recognition that comes with a Council seat.

Ultimately, this is Medina's race to win, if his campaign can generate a strong turnout, but that's far from a certainty.

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