The ten day campaign finance reports are now available on the Election Commissioner’s website and they indicate it pays to get an early start in amassing a campaign war chest.
Mike Migliore’s finance report states between 11-20-2008 and 12-12-2008 he received $34,140.00 (or an average of $1551.82 raised per day) and lent his campaign $718.75. Tom Kovach got started a few days later and his report is from 12-1-2008 to 12-12-2008 ,a period during which he collected $10,375.00 (or an average of $864.58 raised per day). As of 12-12-2008 Kovach had $2,608.70 on hand and Migliore had $25,257.75 on hand. In other words, Migliore spent $10,398.21, more than Kovach had raised , and still had over $22,000 more on hand than Kovach with only 8 days remaining.
This combined with the Democratic registration edge makes this pretty tough for Kovach. As of 11-1-2008 the Democrats held a 2672 voter registration lead over Republicans. As of 12-1-2008 here are the numbers for the 6th Rep District: 7,615 Democrats, 4,896 Republicans and 4,108 Others for a total of 16,619. To offset this disadvantage Kovach would either need to convince sizable numbers of Democrats and Others (in a Democratic leaning district) to vote Republican in the only race on the ballot or have a significantly higher Republican turnout than Democrats have.
Turnout by party is not yet available on the Election Commissioner’s website for 2008,but here is the breakdown by party for 2002, 2004 and 2008:
2006: Democrats 50%, Republicans 51% and Others 43% with total turnout at 48%
2004: Democrats 69%,Republicans 67% and Others 63% with total turnout at 67%
2002: Democrats 45% ,Republicans 50% and Others 39% with total turnout at 45 %
Past performance is no guarantee of voter behavior on a future specific date, but in the last three general elections where data is available the two major parties had turnout within 5 percentage points of each other with Others 4-7 % points below the party with lower turnout. If this holds true on 12-20-2008, Migliore should win as long as he holds the Democratic base.
If Republicans have 25% turnout that translates to 1224 votes, If the Democrats have a 20% turnout that translates to 1523 votes. If Others has a 15% turnout that translates to 616 votes. In this example, if Kovach gets all GOP votes and Migliore gets all Democrat votes, Kovach has to offset a 299 deficit among Other voters. To do so , he would need to beat Migliore about 3-1 among Others or 458-158. It seems unlikely that Others in a Democratic leaning district with two nonincumbents would vote 3-1 for the Republican unless there was a hot button local issue where the Republican was more line with local sentiment. This race has not generated any media around such an issue,so I assume a lot of voting will be done along party lines.
This is not a swing district. Obama beat McCain here 7538 to 3425 in 2008. Every member of Democratic statewide ticket except Congressional candidate Karen Hartley-Nagle carried the district by at least 2500 votes in 2008. In 2006 US Senate race incumbent Democrat Tom Carper won the district handily and Democrat Beau Biden beat Republican Ferris Wharton in the Attorney General’s race,but by only 262 votes.
In 2004 John Kerry beat George W Bush in the 6th 6403 to 4281. Incumbent Democrat Governor Ruth Ann Minner beat Bill Lee by 1140 votes here in 2004.
In US Senate contests Joe Biden won in 2002- 4245 to 2559 and in 2008 7501 to 3244 .
Mike Castle won this district each of the last four elections for Congress and Tom Wagner , Republican, won for Auditor in 2002, but these were the exception not the rule. Wagner lost the district by 3725 to 3514 in 2006.
Campaign finances, registration advantage, recent voter behavior and likely turnout breakdown combine to give Migliore the edge in this race.
For campaign finance reports:
Registration totals as of 12-1-2008: