Allan Hoffenblum

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

The sudden death of Allan Hoffenblum was a tear in the fabric of California’s political world. He was an endless source of information to the media and political players who subscribed to the California Target Book which he co-founded and managed amassing much information on California’s political races. Allan shared his expertise with our readers as an occasional columnist at Fox and Hounds Daily.

More importantly to many of us in the political world he was a friend and a mentor.

I knew Allan for many years and was pleased to host him a number of times at the public policy class I teach at Pepperdine University. On each occasion he would re-new an old friendship with the public policy school’s then dean, Jim Wilburn, who Allan recruited to work on President Nixon’s re-elect campaign in California in 1972. Allan took pleasure in sharing his knowledge and experiences with students.

Allan managed many political campaigns once he opened his consulting business. But, it was in his role as an independent observer of the political scene that gained him his greatest following as he explained the complex, rough and tumble world of California politics with an unbiased eye. I often heard him express harsh words for the Republican Party that he worked for in the ‘60s and 70s as it slowly lost its competitive edge.

Allan liked to tell me about the time he was directing political efforts for the Republican Party and used the Proposition 13 tax revolt to boost many of his candidates. Here’s how I wrote up his story in my book, The Legend of Proposition 13 that was published a dozen years ago:

Hoffenblum remembered that one of the candidates for Assembly, Dennis Brown, came to see him with some interesting polling information. Brown’s poll consisted of two questions. The first question asked how voters intended to vote in his race. The answers showed that newcomer Brown was substantially behind. The second question asked, if you knew that Dennis Brown supported Proposition 13 and his opponent opposed it how would you vote? The numbers nearly flip-flopped. Hoffenblum decided to poll other districts using similar questions. The results were nearly the same.

Hoffenblum sought out Jarvis and put together letters in sixteen races, including the State Senate, the Assembly and Congress, all tailored to each particular race. Jarvis’s letters stated simply that the Republican newcomer had supported Proposition 13 and that the Democratic incumbent had opposed it. The letters hit just a few days before the election and caught the incumbents off guard.

Fourteen of sixteen incumbents opposed by Jarvis were defeated. Pro-Prop 13 Republicans elected to the legislature for the first time were dubbed “Proposition 13 babies.” Hoffenblum said, “It was the biggest election landslide for California Republicans since the election of Warren Harding.”

Times have changed but Allan’s perceptive analysis of the California political scene was eternal. Many, including me, will miss him.

You may read more about Allan Hoffenblum’s career in the Sacramento Bee here and the Capitol Weekly here.

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