Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weather Not A Likely Factor in the 6th District Special Election Unless Extreme for Area

When I looked at turnout for the four legislative special elections during 2007the first thing that struck me was that the two held in Nov and Dec each had 18% turnout and the two held in April and May each had 28% turnout. Could the weather have been a factor? Could the weather have convinced 10% of the electorate the trip to the polls was not worth the effort?

I reviewed what the weather was on each of these dates in the voting areas and it looks like the weather had minimal , if any, impact. The November election and the April election has similar temperatures, although mid-day was windy for the November election and the April election had some late afternoon light rain. The December 200 election had temperatures about 10 degrees less than the others and had light rain in the early voting hours, but winds were mild.

None of the 2007 weather conditions would have interfered with travel.

A review of the last ten years of weather on Dec 20, 2007 in zip code 19803 shows it to be chilly,but with minimal precipitation in recent years. It only snowed once in the last ten years on that date and then it stopped hours before the polls opened and left only 2/10ths of an inch of snow. It also rained three times out of ten which means there was no precipitation 6 of ten dates. Ten years is a small sample,but for at least the last ten years it looks like weather would not have impeded travel in the 6th Representative District and will not have much of an impact on turnout in the Dec 20,2008 Special Election unless that day has weather this year that is extreme compared to recent years.

Weather data is from:

Weather Underground is weather related website which was founded by Jeffrey Masters, a Ph.D. meteorologist from the University of Michigan. For some entries, there may be a minor discrepancy in local weather since the search device sometimes defaults to nearby zip codes with larger population centers. For example, when I typed in the zip code for Millsboro (19966)(the 41st Rep District) it defaults to Georgetown, the Sussex County seat.

Here are the election results,turnout & weather for legislative Special Elections held in 2007

28th Rep District
William Carson ( D) 1446
Christine Malec ( R) 703
18% turnout

6:55 am 34.9 degrees,11:55 am 43.0 degrees, 7:55 pm 38.5 degrees

light rain 7:00am to 8:30 am, winds 3.0 to 6.9 mph from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm

14th Senate
Bruce Ennis ( D) --4272
Joanne Christian ( R) 1704
Joanne Christian (I ) 309
18% turnout
6:55 am 47.5 degrees,11:55 am 48.9 degrees, 7:55 pm 50 degrees

no precipitation reported between 7 am and 8 pm, but there were winds of 28 plus mph between 9 am and noon and 23 plus mph between 3-5 pm

41st State Represeentative District
Special Election - 05/05/2007
28% turnout

6:54 am 46.0 degrees, 11:54 am 69.1 degrees, 7:54 pm 53.1 degrees
light rain 4-5 pm and 6-7 pm, no precipitation reported remained of the hours of voting

Election Date: 04/14/07
BRYON SHORT-DEMOCRAT—----2275--52 . 6 %

29.1% turnout

6:51 am 36.0 degrees, 11:51 am 50.0 degrees, 7:51 pm 55.0 degrees
no precipitation reported between 7 am and 8 pm

Weather conditions for zip code 19803 (6th Representative District) on Dec 20th for each of the last ten years reported early am ,mid-day and evening

Dec 20,2007-6:51am-33 degrees F,11:51 am- 45 degrees F, 6:51 pm-37.9 degrees F
Dec.20,2006-6:51am- 27degreesF,11:51am-42.1degrees F, 6:51 pm –37.9degrees F
Precipitation-light rain 2-3 pm
Dec.20,2004-6:51am-10.0degreesF,11:51am-12.9degreesF,6:51 pm-16.0degreesF
Precipitation-rain 5-8 pm (heavy rain 6:45-7:15pm)
Precipitation-none,but windy throughout the day with winds at 32 plus mph from 9am-2pm
Precipitation-none from 7 am –8pm,but there was light snow from midnight-4 am leaving 2/10ths of an inch of snow

Precipitation- off and on light rain from 3am to 5 pm. Fog from 6pm to 8pm
Precipitation-none,but overcast and cloudy all day
Weather history data from:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Special Delivery-Both Major Parties “Lawyer Up” for the 6th State Rep Special Election,Seems to Favor the Democrat

The 6th State Representative District faces a Special Election on Dec 20, 2008 due to the resignation of Democratic State Representative Diana McWilliams.
As of 11-1-2008 the Democrats held a 2672 voter registration lead over Republicans.

Locally the Republicans have not fared well since 2004 when Dave Ennis, who had held the seat for several years, stepped down to run for Insurance Commissioner. In the 2008 general election they did not even field a candidate against McWilliams. In 2006 McWilliams won 61.3% of the votes against Republican W. E. Smith (35.6%) and Independent Party candidate Michael Dore (3.1%). In 2004 McWilliams beat Republican Stacy Griggs 5,377 to 4,867.

The Democrats got a head start by selecting their nominee, Michael Migliore, a State House attorney and bankruptcy lawyer, on Nov 20, 2008. Migiliore is quoted in the News-Journal as saying the “door knocking starts today” on Nov 20, 2008. If he followed through with that on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd , he gave himself an even greater headstart. Door to door campaigning is a staple of local races in Delaware and with weekday after-work sunlight nonexistent during this time of year in Delaware, door knocking must be done on weekends. There are only four weekends between Nov 20, 2008 and the Saturday December 20, 2008 special election, so Migliore got a head start on door knocking by being nominated before Saturday Nov 22nd.

On Nov 25,2008 the Republicans announced a candidate in this race, Tom Kovach, another local attorney. Kovach has to offset starting 5 days later in a 30 day campaign and he has to face the reality that Republicans have not won a majority of recent Special Elections.

Between April 2007 and December 2007 there were four Special Elections and the Democrats won three of four with Bruce Ennis wining the 14th Senate Seat vacated by the death of Jim Vaughn, William Carson winning Ennis’ former 28th Representative District seat, and Bryon Short taking the 7th Representative seat vacated by the retirement of Wayne Smith.

The only seat the Republicans won among 2007 Special Elections was the 41st which had been vacated by the resignation of then-Republican John Atkins. In the Special Election Republican Gregory Hastings won the seat,but his 1770 votes was less than the combination of votes for Lynn Bullock as a Democrat (1576) and John Atkins as a write-in (584). This is significant because in the 2008 general election John Atkins was the Democratic nominee and beat Republican Hastings 5665 to 5025, undoing the Repubican success in the Special Election. Out of 9 legislators elected by Special Election since 1994, Hastings is the only legislator to later be unseated in an election. The others still hold office.

Since Title 15, Chapter 34, Section 3402 of the Delaware State Code now mandates that for write-in votes to count, the write-in candidate must file with the Department of Elections as a write-in candidate this is unlikely to be a factor in the future which would makes it more likely a major party candidate would need a majority and not just a plurality. Since the only one of the nine Special Election winners to have won because a write-in candidate siphoned off more than the margin of victory was Hastings.

It is very early in this short campaign,but my initial impression is the race leans to the Democrat.

From the New Castle County Elections Dept website:

Registration figures as of 11/01/08

Correction to Yesterday's Post

An astute reader has pointed out (via e-mail) correctly that it was Bruce Ennis, who won the 14th State Senate race mentioned in yesterday's post.
I had incorrectly typed that it was David Ennis, but David Ennis is the former State Representative in the 6th Representative District who resigned to run for Insurance Commissioner in 2004 NOT the successful candidate in the 14th State Senate Special Election in 2007.
I think Ernest Hemingway said that any writer is only as good as his/her editor, so I am glad my readership is fact checking to keep me on track.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Here is how General Assembly Special Elections have panned out since 1994

Here are the results for Special Elections held since 1994
28th Rep District
William Carson ( D) 1446
Christine Malec ( R) 703
14th Senate
David Ennis ( D) --4272
Joanne Christian ( R) 1704
Joanne Christian (I ) 309

41st State Represeentative District
Special Election - 05/05/2007

Election Date: 04/14/07
BRYON SHORT-DEMOCRAT—----2275--52 . 6 %
Hazel Plant-Democrat—846—63.0%
Beatrice Carrol-Republican—453—33.7%
Robert Brown-Libertarian—44- 3.3%

9th Representative District
Nov 13, 1997
Chris Roberts (D) 1,758
Richard Cathcart ( R ) 1,966
12th Senate District
April 12, 1997
Dorinda Connor (R ) 2,554
Deborah Cuomo (D ) 485
Richark Trubey (L ) 64

August 12, 1995
Dennis Williams (D) 1,757
Karen J Miller (R ) 897
Lawrence L Sullivan (L) 122

April 16, 1994
Margaret Rose Henry (R) 1,487
Herman Hollway, Jr (D ) 1,036
Samuel L Guy ( K ) 225


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is the Glass Half-Full or Half –Empty for the Democrats in the 9th State Rep District?

On Nov 4, 2008 the Democrats may have felt the glass was mostly empty after Rebecca Walker, Democratic challenger, lost to incumbent Republican Dick Cathcart 7436 – 6375. It was a repeat of their 2006 faceoff . In 2006 Catchcart won by 53.5%-46.5% and in 2008 Cathcart won 53.8% to 46.2%. There may be a feeling of not moving forward towards unseating Cathcart in the future,but it may be more complicated than that.

Walker won five of ten election districts as mentioned in the last post,but those election districts had a lower voter turnout than the election districts where Cathcart won.

Longterm prospects might not be so bad. The Democrat-Republican edge has increased from 5279-4922 in 2002 when the district was configured to 7819-6275 in 2008, from a 357 Democratic voter advantage to a 1544 Democratic voter advantage.

In 2004, the last Presidential election year before 2008, Vincent Ascione,the Democratic challenger, received 4,154 of 11,654 votes cast. In 2008 Walker received 6,375 of 13,811 votes cast. An additional 2157 votes were cast,but Walker got 2221 more votes. Despite 2157 more votes being cast in 2008, Dick Cathcart received fewer votes, 7436, down from the 7500 he received in 2004.All of the new voters (and then some) went to Walker, there were just not enough of them this election cycle to win.

Rebecca Walker has shown two elections in a row she can get 46+%. She or another Democrat needs to get the additional 4% to beat Cathcart, if he runs again in 2010 and has Democratic opposition. 2010 will have a lower turnout than 2008 since it is not a Presidential year,but higher numbers than 2006 (the last non-presidential year) because there are more registered voters now.

If 2010 registered climbs to 20,000 and there is a 50% turnout, 4% is 400 votes she needs to move. If registration increases to 19,000 and there is a 48% turnout, 4% is 365 votes she needs to move.

With the lowered turnout in 2006 she came within 573 votes which means if 287 voters had switched their vote she would have won.
I would say it would be tough to unseat someone who has been in nonstop since 1997,but it is not insurmountable.

Cathcart appears to be pretty resilient. He served two terms in the New Castle area from 1978-1982 before losing to Bill Houghton. In 1997 he won his current position in a special election following the death of the Democratic incumbent and has not lost since then. While several of his Republican allies went down in what turned out to be a Democratic year, Cathcart was able to hold on to his seat.

If Walker attempts another run or if the Democrats find another strong candidate, this could be an interesting race to watch in 2010.

Here are how the number of total registered voters has increased since 2002 in the 9th:

Total registered voters
18,431---2008 (1834 newly registered since 2006)
16,597-2006 (909 newly registered since 2004)
15,688-2004 (2299 newly registered since 2002)

Here are the vote tallies for the last 3 elections in the 9th:

State Representative District 9
9 th Ditrict Total Voter Turnout***13,811
Democrat, R. Walker***6375
Republican, R.Cathcart***7436

State Representative District 9
Total Voter turnout**8,259
Democrat, R.Walker**3,843

9th District Total Voter Turnout**11,654
Democrat,V. Ascione** 4,154
Republican R.Cathcart**7,500

Relative Turnout a Factor in 9th State Rep Race

In 2008 Democratic challenger Rebecca Walker won in EDs 1,3,4,6,9 and Dick Cathcart, Republican incumbent, won in EDs 2,5,7,8,10, but Cathcart won the 9th State Rep race 7436 to 6375, in part due to higher turnout in districts where Cathcart won in comparison to turnout in districts where Walker won.

This is only one factor among several ,but it is a pattern that was consistent over the last three election cycles.

In 2006 Cathcart beat Walker 4416-3843. In 2004 Cathcart beat Vincent Ascione 7,500 to 4,154. Cathcart ran unopposed in 2002, the first election held after the 2002 reapportionment which brought the current configuration of this district into existence.

Here’s is turnout for Walker won combined 2008 EDS
2004 **71.4%
Here is turnout for Cathcart won combined 2008 EDS
2008**75.94 %
Election districts that went for Cathcart in each of the last 3 elections had 3.52%-4.85% higher turnout.

Turnout 1st of the 9th RD(Southern Elementary School)

Turnout 2nd of the 9th RD (Waters Middle School)
Turnout 3rd of the 9th RD (Brick Mill Elementary School)
Turnout 4th of the 9th RD (Delaware City Library)
Turnout 5th of the 9th RD (Odessa Fire Hall)

Turnout 6th ED of the 9th RD (Loss Elementary School)
Turnout 7th ED of the 9th RD (Port Penn Fire Hall)
Turnout 8th ED of the 9th RD (St Georges Technical School)
Turnout 9th ED of the 9th RD (Freewill Baptist Church)
Turnout 10th ED of the 9th RD (Cedar Lane Elementary School)
Districtwide Turnout 9th RD

Voter registration in the current 9th Representative District since the 2002 apportionment.

2008 ---7,819 Democrats—6275 Republicans---4,337Others
2006---6728 Democrats------5851Republicans----4018Others
2004---6307 Democrats---5646Republicans---3735Others

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Impression : 14th still a swing district, just shifted from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic

While State Representative Pete Schwartkopf ran unopposed and four of the five Democrats at the top of the ticket won in the 14th (Obama, Biden, Markell and Denn), the reality is that the Democrats lost four of eight contested races in the 14th: US House, Insurance Commissioner, State Senate and Clerk of Peace.

The swing in registration is significant in that the party which has a plurality of registered voters has changed from Republican to Democrat, but the registration edge has only changed from the Republicans having a 369 voter registration edge after the 2002 reapportionment to the Democrats having a 628 voter registration in 2008.

When you take into account that total registration has increased from 15,837 to 19,038 over that 6 year period, that swing has less impact because of a larger overall registration number. The 369 edge in 2002 gave Republicans an additional 2.4%. 628 additional Democrats in 2008 gives the Democrats an additional 3.3%. So the overall registration shift is 5.7% from the Republicans to the Democrats. The Democrats went from 38.2% to 40.9% and the Republicans went from 40.6% to 37.6%. A measurable change, but not a large guaranteed voter safety net for either party.

The percentage of registered voters who registered something other than Democrat or Republican has remained relatively stable. It was 21.1% in 2002. It was 21.4% in 2008.

It looks like for the foreseeable future, major party candidates will need to hold their party base and get a fair share of those independent voters to win in the 14th.

First Impression:The 14th may be “Blue Heaven” for Red State Sussex County

The 14th District which encompasses areas in and around Lewes and Rehoboth was part of a national voting pattern ,but parted company with the voting pattern of its Sussex County neighbors in the Nov 2008 election by giving almost total support to the Democratic ticket. While the 14th went for Mike Castle for Congress , local office holder John Brady for Insurance Commissioner and two local Republicans in a state senate race and the Clerk of Peace race, the rest of the ballot belonged to the Democrats. The Obama-Biden ticket lost Sussex County by over 7,000 votes,but won the 14th by 480. Joe Biden beat Christine O’Donnell by only a 273 vote margin countywide in the US Senate race, but he beat her by over 1500 votes in the 14th.

As mentioned here previously, in the 35h in Western Sussex Jack Markell and Matt Denn each lost the 35th by over 100 votes.They each won the 14th by over 1200 votes. The place was perceived to be so Democratic leaning that incumbent Democrat state representative, Pete Schwartzkopf, ran unopposed.

It was not designed this way and has not always been so Democratic leaning. In 2002 when the legislature was reapportioned, the 14th District number was reassigned from New Castle County, based on shifts in population documented in the 2000 census. At the time of reapportionment, a process controlled by the majority party in each House of the General Assembly, the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and the newly created 14th was designed as a swing district. In 2002 there were 6430 Republicans, 6061 Democrats and 3346 Others.

In 2004 the gap narrowed to 6,558 Democrats, 6,756 Republicans and 3,604 Others. In 2006 the registration was 6978 Democrats to 6973 Republicans with 3869 Others. In 2008 the registration shift widened for the Democrats to 7,791 Democrats ,7,163 Republicans with 4,084Others . While some of these Democrats may be Republicans who switched registration to vote in the Governor’s primary in 2008, that does not explain the preceding shift in registration over the previous two election cycles.

I can not tell if these are locals who are changing affiliation or transplanted Democrats moving to the area, but the 14th does provide a place for Democrats running statewide to pick up enough votes to cut their losses in otherwise Republican Sussex County

14th District #s/Sussex Election Results

Sussex Countywide Results--2008
PRESIDENT-OBAMA (D) -40,299**MCCAIN (R)-47,939
U.S. SENATOR- BIDEN (D)- 43,395** O'DONNELL(R)- 43,123
US House- HARTLEY-NAGLE(D) 24,540** CASTLE(R)- 59,780
GOVERNOR-Markell(D)- 45,545** LEE(R)-- 40,584
LT GOVERNOR- DENN(D)- 43,273** COPELAND(R)- 41,257
Insurance Commissioner –Stewart(D)35,102**Brady(R)47,462


14th State Rep District--2008
US Senate-BIDEN (D)—7765**O'DONNELL(R)-6259
US House-Hartley-Nagle(D)—4412**CASTLE(R)-9322
Insurance CommissionerStewart(D & WF)-6029**Brady(R)7446
State Senate-Downes(D)5870**Simpson(R)6319
(6 of 7 election districts are in this state senate district)
State Representative-Schwartzkopf(D)-10616 (unopposed)

Voter Registration in the 14th State Representative District
Democrats 7,791--Republicans 7,163--Others 4,084--Total 19,038

Last Updated On 11/01/08 00:52:24
As of 10/14/2006

Democrats 6,978--Republicans 6,973--Others 3,869--Total 17,820
11 - 2 – 2004
Democrats6,558--Republicans 6,756--Others 3,604 --Total16,918
Democrats6,061--Republicans 6,430--Others 3,346--Total 15,837
2002 data
Updated: Monday, 16-Oct-2006 10:57:55 EDT

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 Blog Prediction Result:Working Families Party Impact and A Curious "Straight Ticket" Voting pattern

Working Families Party Impact
“Based on past voting history I would say (Bill)Oberle is a safe bet to win in the 24th and (Jerry)Semper (39th) & (Dennis)Williams (10th) are likely to lose.”
“ There may be enough people who will vote for a candidate and not want to vote for the major party line, that (Karen) Stewart, (Terry)Spence and(Vince) Lofink could possibly win and have their share of Working Families votes be more than their margin of victory which would be a big coup for a relatively new party. It is distinctly possible a few hundred Democrats may feel more comfortable voting for Spence or Lofink on the Working Families line on the ballot without giving them Republican votes.”

Posted 11-4-2008
Well I was certainly wrong on Dennis Williams losing in the 10th district where he upset Bob Valihura and won by 192 votes. Bill Oberle’s race was closer than I had expected with his victory margin of only 602 votes. While the Working Families Party did not provide the margin of victory for any of its candidates it did make the losing margin significantly closer for some losers and boosted the victory margin for some winners.

Oberle won by 602, but without his 116 Working Family votes his winning margin would have been 486. Without his Working Family votes, Williams would have won by 142 votes.

Lofink lost by 48 votes, but came 117 votes closer to victory with his Working Family votes.While Terry Spence also lost , his 85 Working Family votes kept him within 319 votes of winner, Mike Barbieri. There is no proof that these votes would not have been cast for the same candidates no matter what their party banner, but we know that these votes were cast on that day on the Working Parties ballot line. My feeling is this party had an impact even though it did not provide the margin of victory in any races in Nov 2008.

The 16% winning margin for Karen Stewart and the over 35% losing margin for Jerry Semper made the Working Families votes have no impact in either of those races, but I observed an interesting voting pattern in what could be the equivalent of Working Families Party straight ticket voting. In each of the five rep districts where local candidates were fielded by the Working Families Party, Karen Stewart,the Democrat who won the Insurance Commissioner’s race and was the only statewide candidate endorsed by the Working Families Party, received 51.3%-61.7% of the number of votes the state rep candidate received. Her appeal relative to the endorsed state rep candidate remained constant within tha 10.4% range across these five districts despite the facts that :
(1) 2 were won by Republicans and 3 were won by Democrats ,
(2) 2 were won by endorsed candidates and in 3 the endorsed candidate lost and
(3) that the five districts had some geographic diversity with the 10th in Brandywine Hundred, the 18th,24th & 27th in New Castle County between Stanton and Glasgow and the 39th in Sussex County.

No exit polls were done on this type of question and the behavior of a few hundred voters in five of forty-one representative districts is a small sample, but it seemed to be an interesting pattern I have not yet found an explanation for. This will be interesting to watch in future elections if the Working Families Party continues to endorse major party candidates.

435 of 435 Districts Reported


12 of 12 Districts Reported


11 of 11 Districts Reported


9 of 9 Districts Reported


10 of 10 Districts Reported


7 of 7 Districts Reported


District 10

State Representative Dennis Williams WFP 52
53.8% of those voting for the local WFP candidate voted for Stewart
2 votes over 50%

District 18

State Representative Spence WFP 85

52.9% of those voting for the local WFP candidate voted for Stewart
2 votes over 50%

District 24

State Representative Oberle WFP 116
55.2% of those voting for the local WFP candidate voted for Stewart
6 votes over 50%

District 27

State Representative Lofink WFP 117
51.3% of those voting for the local WFP candidate voted for Stewart
2 votes over 50%

District 39

State Representative Semper WFP 60
61.7% of those voting for the local WFP candidate voted for Stewart
7 votes over 50%

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Prediction Result-Nov 2008-No Blue Tsunami in the 35th Rep District:Voters Give O’Donnell a thumbs-up and Give Chaffinch, Obama & Biden a thumbs down

35th State Representative District
“I am thinking Aaron Chaffinch has an uphill climb as the Democratic candidate for the 35th Representative District.”
“I am thinking (Dave) Wilson is more likely to win.”
Posted October 27, 2008
Aaron Chaffinch did indeed have an uphill climb. Republican Dave Wilson beat him by over 1800 votes, winning each of the seven election districts in the 35th Representative District in Western Sussex County.

In the Oct 27, 2008 post I also mentioned how this district accounted for about 2.1% of the state’s registered voters in 2006, but gave Christine O’Donnell 8.1% of her 2006 US Senate write-in votes. She proved to be a crowd favorite in the 35th again, beating Joe Biden by over 600 votes and winning 5 of 7 election districts. Ray Clatworthy had beaten Biden by 406 votes in 2002 , the last time Biden was on the ballot in the 35th.

Jack Markell and Matt Denn each came within 200 votes of winning the 35th Rep District so I guess in the not too distant future a Democrat may win there, but it looks like Democrats still have some convincing to do.

Having a Delawarean on the presidential ticket did not help the Democrats in the 35th where McCain-Palin beat Obama-Biden by over 1100 votes. The 35th Rep District joined all other Sussex County Districts except the 14th (near the beaches) in voting for McCain-Palin over Obama-Biden.The 14th supported Obama-Biden 7400-6920. Overall, Sussex County Supported McCain-Palin 47,939-40,299.

01-35 (Greenwood)----------Biden 697**O'Donnell 1177
02-35 (Bridgeville)--------Biden 1467**O'Donnell 1544
03-35 (Bridgeville)--------Biden 178**O'Donnell 240
04-35(west of Georgetown)--Biden 837**O'Donnell 694
05-35(west of Georgetown)--Biden 208**O'Donnell 270
06-35(Redden)-------------Biden 331**O'Donnell 480
07-35(Ellendale)----------Biden 236**O'Donnell 228
RD Tot--------------------Biden 3954**O'Donnell 4633
State Representative
01-35-------Chaffinch 652**Wilson 1203
02-35-------Chaffinch 1312**Wilson 1684
03-35-------Chaffinch 152**Wilson 257
04-35-------Chaffinch 628**Wilson 873
05-35-------Chaffinch 179**Wilson 291
06-35-------Chaffinch 233**Wilson 570
07-35-------Chaffinch 155**Wilson 296
RD Tot------Chaffinch 3311**Wilson 5174
Obama, Democrat, 3801--McCain, Republican 4920
US Senator
Biden, Democrat, 3954--O’Donnell, Republican, 4633
US House
Hartley-Nagle,Democrat-- 2502Castle, Republican, 5801
Markell, Democrat, 4183--Lee, Republican, 4326
Denn, Democrat,4129--Copeland, Republican,4236
Stewart,Democrat,3527-- Brady, Republican, 4617
Sussex County
Fuller,Democrat,3626-- Parish, Republican 4611

Friday, November 7, 2008

Prediction and Nov 4, 2008 General Election Results-6th State Senate Race

6th State Senate Race
“Unless ( John) McKenzie runs extremely well in the 23rd District and loses by a closer margin (to Liane Sorenson) than (Rick) DiLiberto ( in 2002) in the remainder of the senate district, I don’t think he has cause for optimism for victory.”
Posted September 12, 2008

McKenzie lost by 364 votes.
He won the 23rd District in Western Newark by 547 and won the 1st Election District of the 25th Representative District which votes at the Newark Free Library by 174 votes. He was unable to win the 23rd District across the board, losing in the 2nd Election District (First Presbyterian,Main St), the 9th ED (George Wilson Community Center) and the 10th ED (Maclary School).
He lost the areas north & west of the City of Newark in Hockessin, Yorklyn, and North Star in the 12th, 20th & 22nd Rep Districts by a large enough margin to offset his Newark margin which enabled Sorenson to retain her seat.
District******* MACKENZIE*********SORENSON L

08-12 ***********201********************435
12-20**********490******************** 784
20 th RD Tot***490*********************784
02-22 *********297*********************398
03-22 *********185********************305
10-22 ********340 ********************411
13-22 ********26 **********************53
14-22 ********140*********************173
22n RD******1451*******************2008

07-23******514****************** 336
10-23 ****206 *******************330
23rd RD **4353*****************3806

25 th RD**336*******************162
Cand Tot**6831*****************7195

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Outcome not a surprise, but victory margin was in the 10th Senate District.Voter dropoff an issue down ballot

I was startled by the wide margin by which Bethany Hall-Long won. Her registration edge was 4322. She won by 6411. I thought I might have been a bit conservative in predicting she would win by 800-1000,but I would not have guessed the split would have been this wide since it was an open seat represented by a Republican for the last 6 years.
Registration Totals 14,275 (D) 9,953(R) 7,811(others) 32,039(total)

23 of 23 Districts Reported


Some commentators might view this as part of some coattails of a general Democratic trend, but if that was the case other local candidates might have had wide victory margins as well in election districts in the 10th Senatorial.
A wide victory margin took place for incumbent Democrats , John Kowalko in the 25th, and John Viola in the 26th, each of whom actually outpaced Hall-Long in each of the election districts they share with her. It was not true for Democratic challengers in the other contested Representative Districts that overlap with Hall-Long’s 10th Senate District. These challengers lagged behind Hall-Long even in election districts where they won handily.
Here is what local state rep candidates did and how Hall –Long did in each of the election districts, along with Obama-McCain numbers to gauge coattails:

1st ED of the 8th RD-President-Obama (D ) 560**McCain (R ) 569
1st ED of the 8th RD -- 10th Senate District - Hall-Long( D ) 722**Weldin (R ) 393
1st ED of the 8th RD- -8th State Rep Dist-Johnson (D ) 508 ***Sturtevant (R ) 588
This election district has a Republican registration edge,but is also Hall-Long’s home election district
2nd ED of the 9th RD- President-Obama (D ) 979**McCain (R ) 805
2nd ED of the 9th RD --10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )1040 **Weldin (R ) 687
2nd ED of the 9th RD –9th Rep Dist Walker (D ) ** 729Cathcart (R)1023
6th ED of the 9th RD- President-Obama (D ) 1361McCain (R )656
6th ED of the 9th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )1249 **Weldin (R ) 669
6th ED of the 9th RD–9th Rep Dist Walker (D ) 1108**Cathcart (R) 821

8th ED of the 9th RD – President-Obama (D ) 586 McCain (R ) 422
8th ED of the 9th RD –10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )617 **Weldin (R ) 367

8th ED of the 9th RD ––9th Rep Dist Walker (D )406*** Cathcart (R)584

10th ED of the 9th RD – President-Obama (D ) 631McCain (R ) 576

10th ED of the 9th RD –10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )650 **Weldin (R ) 513

10th ED of the 9th RD ––9th Rep Dist Walker (D ) **401Cathcart (R)788

6th ED of the 15th RD-President-Obama (D ) 1245 McCain (R ) 315
6th ED of the 15th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 1125 **Weldin (R ) 314
6th ED of the 15th RD Longhurst (D ) unopposed
__________________________________________________________________ 1stED of the 24th RD- President-Obama (D ) 309***McCain (R )124
1st ED of the 24th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 274 **Weldin (R ) 129

1st ED of the 24th RD- 24th Representative District Basara (D ) 167**Oberle (R ) 247
7th ED of the 24th RD-President-Obama (D ) 459**McCain (R )119
7th ED of the 24th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 396 **Weldin (R ) 125

7th ED of the 24th RD-24th Representative District Basara (D ) 328** Oberle (R ) 194

9th ED of the 24th RD-President-Obama (D ) 638** McCain (R )284
9th ED of the 24th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )575 **Weldin (R ) 281

9th ED of the 24th RD-24th Representative District Basara (D ) 316** Oberle (R ) 561

2nd ED of the 25th RD-President-Obama (D ) 672**McCain (R ) 325
2nd ED of the 25th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 604 **Weldin (R ) 334

2nd ED of the 25th RD-25th Representative District Kowalko ( D) 729 **Gates (R) 247
5th ED of the 25th RD-President-Obama (D ) 555***McCain (R ) 341
5th ED of the 25th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )514 **Weldin (R ) 338

5th ED of the 25th RD-25th Representative District Kowalko ( D) 614** Gates (R)249
6th ED of the 25th RD-President**Obama (D ) 641***McCain (R )396
6th ED of the 25th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 583**Weldin (R ) 432

6th ED of the 25th RD-25th Representative District Kowalko ( D) 689**Gates (R) 339
7th ED of the 25th RD-President-Obama (D ) 502**McCain (R )291
7th ED of the 25th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 456**Weldin (R ) 311

7th ED of the 25th RD-25th Representative District Kowalko ( D) 516 **Gates (R) 258
9th ED of the 25th RD-President-Obama (D )302** McCain (R ) 114
9th ED of the 25th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )290 **Weldin (R ) 105

9th ED of the 25th RD-25th Representative District Kowalko ( D) 309***Gates (R)90
2nd ED of the 26th RD-President-Obama (D )** 642 McCain (R )166
2nd ED of the 26th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )614 **Weldin (R ) 157

2nd ED of the 26th RD-26th Representative District Viola (D ) 632Filliben (R ) 136
8th ED of the 26th RD-Obama (D ) 528**McCain (R )84
8th ED of the 26th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 475 **Weldin (R ) 86

8th ED of the 26th RD-26th Representative District Viola (D ) 497 **Filliben (R )58
1st ED of the 27th RD-President-Obama (D ) 711** McCain (R )282
1st ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 666 **Weldin (R ) 262

1st ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques (D ) 535*Lofink (R&W )442* Spencer (I )18
2nd ED of the 27th RD -Obama (D ) 480** McCain (R )209
2nd ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 442 **Weldin (R ) 202

2nd ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques (D )368 Lofink (R&W )279Spencer (I)14

3rd ED of the 27th RD-President**Obama (D ) 642 McCain (R ) 228
3rd ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D )544 **Weldin (R ) 269

3rd ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques(D )453 Lofink (R&W )353Spencer(I)30
4th ED of the 27th RD-President-Obama (D ) 446** McCain (R )223
4th ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 378 **Weldin (R ) 270

4th ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques (D )311**Lofink(R&W )338 **Spencer (I) 20

8th ED of the 27th RD-President**Obama (D ) 794**McCain (R ) 510
8th ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 702 **Weldin (R ) 547

8th ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques (D )638 Lofink (R&W )609Spencer (I)50

9th ED of the 27th RD-President**Obama (D )713 McCain (R )323
9th ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 628 **Weldin (R ) 346

9th ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques (D )511 Lofink (R&W )465*Spencer(I) 23

10th ED of the 27th RD-Obama (D ) 530**McCain (R )362
10th ED of the 27th RD-10th Senate District - Hall-Long ( D ) 421 **Weldin (R ) 417

10th ED of the 27th RD-27th RepDist-Jaques (D )293** Lofink (R&W )570**Spencer (I)6

Total 10th Senate--Hall-Long ( D) 13,965**** Weldin (R ) 7554
President’s race in 10th Senate Obama (D ) 14,926*** McCain ( R)7,724
22,020 voted in the presidential race( major parties). 21,519 voted in 10th Senate.
Hall-Long had 961 fewer votes than Obama.
Weldin had 170 fewer votes than McCain.
Obama got 67.8%. Hall-Long got 64.9%. I think several hundred Democrats just did not make it to the bottom of the ballot.

Lofink (R- 27th) and Oberle (R-24th) ran on the Working Families Party line , in addition to the Republicans. In this post I have provided the combined totals for each of them.
Jim Spencer ran in the 27th as the Independent Party candidate.
Geography in very general terms:
8th & 9th –area near C&D canal
15th- Bear area
24th- Newark (East)
25th-Newark (East)
26th Bear-Glasgow area
27th-Glasgow area

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Possible Election Winner You Never Heard of-The Working Families Party

You may have never heard of the Working Families Party,but they may have an impact in 2008 in some close races.
Here is a description from the Party’s website:
The Delaware Working Families Party is a grassroots, community and labor based political party. We strive to make elected officials address issues that matter most to working-class, middle-class, and poor families that work hard to make ends meet-issues like jobs, health care, education, and housing.

The Working Families Party has Endorsed 6 candidates on today’s ballot, Karen Weldin Stewart in the Insurance Commissioner’s race and five candidates for state representative.
Here is the list of endorsements:

Karen Stewart ( D ) Insurance Commissioner
Dennis Williams ( D ) 10th
Vince Lofink (R ) 27th
Terry Spence ( R ) 18th
Bill Oberle (R ) 24th
Jerry Semper (D ) 39th

Based on past voting history I would say Oberle is a safe bet to win in the 24th and Semper & Williams are likely to lose.
The other three races are expected to be close and the endorsement could be a deciding factor. There may be enough people who will vote for a candidate and not want to vote for the major party line, that Stewart, Spence and Lofink could possibly win and have their share of Working Families votes be more than their margin of victory which would be a big coup for a relatively new party.

Spence won by 601 in 2006 and Lofink won by only 128 votes. Each of these districts has at least 2000 more Democrats than Republicans. It is distinctly possible a few hundred Democrats may feel more comfortable voting for Spence or Lofink on the Working Families line on the ballot without giving them Republican votes.

2006 18th Representative District

MICHAEL A BARBIERI *** 2,123*** 43 . 8 %
TERRY R SPENCE *** 2,724*** 56 . 2 %

2006 27th Representative District

EARL JAQUES **** 2,921** 48 . 9 %
VINCENT A LOFINK **** 3,049** 51 . 1 %

18th Representative District


27th Representative District


For more about this party:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Multiple Factors make Democrat Bethany Hall-Long the Likely Winner in 10th State Senate open seat.

Factor (1) She has a significant Democratic registration edge:

10th State Senate District

Democrats **** Republicans****Others*****Total
14,275*********9,953********* 7,811******32,039

The person State Representative Bethany Hall-Long seeks to replace is retiring Republican Sen Steve Amick whose legislative service is: State Representative 1986-1994; State Senator 1994-present, Minority Whip 1997-98,Minority Leader 1999-2002.
Amick’s district was primarily Newark based until 2002’s reapportionment and the center of gravity for the 10th State Senate District moved southward closer to where Hall-Long lives. In 2002 Amick won his new seat 6,436 to 4,393 over Democrat Julie Dugan of Newark. He beat Dugan 10,895 to 8,884 in their 2004 rematch.

I see Hall-Long in a similar situation as Amick was in 2002 ,but with a registration edge which Amick did not have. Each of them could claim years of legislative experience while much of it was not representing the people who would be voting for them at the time of the election: Amick’s 2002 election or 2008, in Hall-Long’s case ,since only her own election district is the only election district in the 8th Rep District that is also in the 10th State Senate District.

I heard Hall-Long and Republican Jim Weldin at the Embassy Suites debate last month and she pointed out the number of occasions she had worked across the aisle with Amick. Representing adjacent areas and overlapping representation in her election district, they most likely addressed many of the same quality of life constituent concerns.

Factor # (2)This places Hall-Long in the enviable position of being able to represent both a change and continuity at the same time.

Factor #(3)This is the fifth consecutive election that Hall-Long has been on the ballot in the area, although this represents three different ballots: the pre-2002 9th Representative District in 2000, the current 8th Representative District in 2002, 2004 & 2006 and the current 10 th State Senate District in this election cycle. Jim Weldin has not been on the general election ballot in the area since 2002. This may mean a big difference in name recognition.

Factor # (4) Hall-Long raised $89,394.47 as of 10-27-2008. Weldin raised $20,320.68.
An additional $69,000 can mean a lot more mailings and ads are possible to get one’s message out.

If Hall-Long wins she will be serving with several other former House members.
Six of the current 21 state senate members have made the transition from State House of Representative to State Senate:
Sen Steve Amick
Sen. George Bunting
Sen Bruce Ennis
Sen Cathy Clouthier
Sen Dave McBride
Sen Liane Sorenson
My pick is Hall-Long wins by 800-1000 votes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gerald Brady Likely Repeat Winner in the 4th Rep District

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement, but in the interest of transparency I mention that I have known Gerald Brady since 1996 and was a campaign volunteer during his 1996 campaign. I have never met Tyler Nixon,but have heard him on local talk radio. As with all of the previous posts , I am not attempting to convince the reader who they should or should not vote for---just who I think is likely to win.

Democrat Gerald Brady has held public office since 1996 representing much of what is now the 4th Representative District for that entire time. He has represented the areas around Trolley Square, Rockford Park, Wawaset Park and Tower Hill as the 8th District City Council member for 10 years and 2 years as a State Representative . This gives him an advantage in name recognition.

The 8th City Council District comprises 5 of the 19 election districts in the 4th Representative District: the 1st,3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th election districts. Election Districts are not mandated to be of equal size,so these five election districts make up 8529 voters of the 4th Representative District’s 16,088 voters or 53.0%.

Please be aware that when the district boundary lines were drawn in 2002, the district was represented by a powerful Republican, Joe DiPinto who served as chair of the Joint Finance Committee while in the legislature, and that the House had a Republican majority which drew the district lines. Brady did not make these lines ,but has politically navigated well within them.

His opponent , Tyler Nixon , has never held elected office and in a year when there is a claim people want change, that might be an asset ,but having his opponent outraise him in campaign contributions by more than 3-1 means he has less ability to get whatever message he has out to the public.

Some online Nixon supporters have raised the campaign finance report of Gerald Brady as an issue, claiming Brady’s contributors constitute a group of special interests. That may have an impact, but I think voters see fund-raising as part of the process and as long as the people contributing don’t have current legal problems I don’t think this issue gets much traction with voters.

Tony Rezko’s dealings with Barack Obama and Al Gore’s campaign contributions at the Buddhist Temple a couple elections ago did not determine their electability and these issues got extensive media coverage. Nixon has not implied anything beyond that he thinks Brady has supporters who have a vested influence in legislation and the issue has not gotten much media coverage outside of talk radio and the blogs.

If no one who has a vested interest in legislation could donate, it would be tough under current rules to finance a campaign. A quick review of the 30-day and 8-day campaign finance reports for House Speaker Terry Spence and Rep Bill Oberle, both Republicans in leadership positions, finds contribution histories not shockingly different than Brady’s: some labor unions, some corporate PACs, some registered lobbyists and some private citizens. It seems like if this issue had across-the-board political traction, all the Republican candidates would be running against what Nixon calls “special interest” money.

Brady won in 2006 by 55-45 % margin after a primary to see what Democrat would run for the vacancy created by DiPinto’s retirement. In 2008 he had no primary and has two years incumbency.
Brady also has a healthy registration edge.
I predict Brady wins by at least a 60-40% margin.

Campaign Finance #s & Registration #s for the 4th Rep

Campaign Contributions received:

Brady ( D)
On hand as of 1-1-2008 ***** $6,124.16
Rec’d 1-1-08 to 10-5-08 ****** $15,850.
Rec’d 10-6-08 to 10-27-08 ***** $4,550.00
Total raised **************** $26,524.16

Nixon (R )
On hand as of 1-1-2008 ***** $97.10
Rec’d 1-1-08 to 10-5-08 ****** $5080.00
Rec’d 10-6-08 to 10-27-08 ***** $375.00
Nixon has lent his campaign $1,000 over the course of the campaign.
Total raised and loaned ************** $6552.10
7,533****4,765**3,790** 16,088

If Money Talks, The Democrats May Shout Over Wins At the C&D Canal

Money may not buy elections,but it can pay for the lawn signs, postage and leaflets one needs to get one's name & message out.
In fund-raising , the Democrats in the 10th State Senate and 8th State Representative seats, have far outpaced their GOP rivals

From the Campaign Finance Reports from the Election Commissioner’s website:

Senate District
Hall –Long (D) -
On hand as of 1-1-2008 ***** $11,605.25
Rec’d 1-1-08 to 10-5-08 ****** $39,970.00
Rec’d 10-6-08 to 10-27-08 ***** $37,819.22

Weldin (R)
On hand as of 1-1-2008 ****** $1,744.22
Rec’d 1-1-08 to 10-5-08 ***** $11,501.12
Rec’d 10-6-08 to 10-27-08 ***** $7,075.56

8th Representative District
Johnson ( D)
On hand as of 1-1-2008 ***** $0
Rec’d 1-1-08 to 10-5-08 ***** $21,348.79
Rec’d 10-6-08 to 10-27-08 ****** $5,375.00
Johnson also loaned his campaign $5,051.25 over the course of the campaign

Sturtevant ( R)
On hand as of 1-1-2008 ******* $0
Rec’d 1-1-08 to 10-5-08 ****** $11,950
Rec’d 10-6-08 to 10-27-08 ***** $7,694.00

E-Focus Group of Md School Board Candidates on HB 117 implications

On the assumption that Delawareans have opinions about school board elections held on the date of a general election and Marylanders have experience in holding school board elections on the same day as the general election, I have done an electronic focus group of 2008 Maryland school board candidates. This process was inspired by discussion of HB 117 which is now in the Delaware House Education Committee and proposes to move school board election day in Delaware from the spring as a stand alone election to November when school board would be on the general election ballot.

I e-mailed 92 former candidates after getting their names and email addresses from the Maryland Elections website. As of 4-28-2009 I have had 9 "failed -undeliverable" responses. This may be due to spam filters. It is also possible some had the email accounts only for the election and no longer have the same email address almost 6 months later. I have gotten 16 complete responses with answers. Three persons have responded,but have not yet supplied answers to the questions I posed.

I am reviewing the answers I have received and waiting a few days for additional answers. By week's end I hope to have the beginning of a review of the answers given by some Maryland School Board candidates on the concept of school board elections being held on general election day and some of my thoughts on the issue and their responses.