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

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