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.

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