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Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
October 2, 2015

  • Hoffenblum founded California Target Book
  • Became a go-to source for all things political in state

Allan Hoffenblum, a bespectacled political wunderkind who built his unrivaled command of the state’s political landscape into an essential compendium called the California Target Book, passed away in his sleep Friday at the age of 75. The cause of death was unknown.

From his Westside condominium, Hoffenblum was a go-to source for political reporters, campaign operatives and organizations with business before the state Capitol, dispatching his band of interns to county election offices to track who was running and where they got their support – and then distilling the dynamics of the races in his paid subscription service.

Hoffenblum became adept at social media in recent years, delivering nonpartisan analysis for each election cycle of the state’s 53 congressional districts, 20 state Senate seats and 80 Assembly seats. Tony Quinn, co-editor of the California Target Book since 1994-95, said he spoke with Hoffenblum on Thursday, and the two mapped out a plan to include in the online version of the service a way for readers to parse election information down to the precinct level.

“You couldn’t navigate the world of California politics, especially in the age of term limits, without Allan,” Quinn said.

Early in election cycles, before many were paying attention, Hoffenblum analyzed potential matchups and the political leanings of districts to determine swing areas, and where one party may have the upper hand. “He had a knack for this,” Quinn said. “He could tell you what you might look for in an upcoming election.”

“Nobody knew the intricacies better than Allan.”

While several individuals and outfits tried to duplicate his work, Quinn said Hoffenblum remained a fixture because of his institutional knowledge and hard work. He favored dark, round-rimmed glasses and answered the phone at his home office with his characteristic growl.

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