Saturday, August 29, 2009

A clarification on the 8-21-09 post and the 8-25-09 post

In the 8-21-2009 post "New Castle County" is the political subdivision of suburban New Castle County within the boundaries of New Castle County and does not include the political subdivision of the City of Wilmington.
In the 8-25-2009 post "New Castle County" represents the entire New Castle County which includes the political subdivision of suburban New Castle County and the political subdivision of the City of Wilmington.
I do not think the 8-25-2009 information is broken down by political subdivision on the website.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Extended Incumbency and A bigger Warchest don't always mean a bigger victory margin, recent auditor races are proof

Tom Wagner has been the Delaware State Auditor since then-Gov Mike Castle appointed him in 1989. He has won five statewide elections since that appointment. That an incumbent wins re-election may not be surprising.It might be unexpected that his victory margin would decrease as his length of service increased and he disproportionately increased the disparity between the size of his campaign war chest and his Democratic opponent,but that is what took place over his last three elections.

In 1998 he had been in office nine years. He beat Diane Kempski, the New Castle County Register in Chancery, 58% to 42%. He outpaced her in fundraising by $39,650.80 to $16,177.97.

In 2002 he defeated Bob Wasserbach 61.8% to 38.2%, but Wasserbach, who has never held elected office, did not form a committee until September after being appointed as the Democratic party nominee which each party can do if no candidate files prior to the filing deadline in July. Wagner , who had 13 years in office at the time, raised $43,330 to Wasserbach's $12,965 in contributions and $1000 campaign loan from the candidate. While Wagner started the year with over $3000 in the bank, Wasserbach first contribution over $100 came on 9-17-2002 which was less than two months before election day.

After serving 17 years as Auditor Tom Wagner faced off against Democrat Michael Dalto, who had also never held elected office and whose campaign did not begin until September of 2006. Dalto's campaign finance report has no contributions prior to September 2006. Wagner began 2006 with $89, 718.67 in the bank. Wagner went on to exceed Dalto's fundraising by to $104,808.67 to $1,445 or 72-1. Wagner won with 53.7% to 46.3%.

A win is a win for Wagner,but for Dalto to be outspent 72-1 by someone in office for 17 years and come within 3.8% of having a majority of votes may raise issues about whether Wagner could be vulnerable in 2010.

It won't guarantee the 2010 outcome,but as of 12-31-2008 Wagner had $33,682.87
in his campaign treasury.

Here are the numbers:
1998 election results
Diane Kempski (D)-73,475 votes-R. Thomas Wagner,Jr (R)-101,207
1998 Campaign Finance
On hand 1-1-98-----------------Kempski-$120.97------Wagner $1880.82
Raised 1-1-98 to 10-4-98 -----Kempski--$8300------ Wagner $22,170
Raised 10-5-98 to 10-26-98------Kempski-$7457-------Wagner $10,600
Raised 10-27-98 to election day-Kempski-$300--------Wagner $5000
Total raised prior to election -Kemspki-$16,177.97--Wagner-$39,650.82

2002 election results
Robert Wasserbach (D)-84,248 votes R Thomas Wagner ,Jr (R)-136,410
2002 Campaign Finance
On hand 1-1-02----------------Wasserbach-----zero---------Wagner $3,350
Raised 1-1-02 to 10-6-02-----Wasserbach-$6820----------Wagner $31,180
Wasserbach lent his campaign $1000
Raised 10-7-02 to 10-28-02--Wasserbach-$5,345---------Wagner $6,550
Raised 10-28-02 to election--Wasserbach- $800----------Wagner $2250
Total raised prior to election-Wasserbach-$12,965--------Wagner $43,330

2006 election results
Michael John Dalto (D)-113,475 votes R.Thomas Wagner,Jr (R) 131,592

2006 Campaign Finance
On hand 1-1-06------------------Dalto----------zero-------------Wagner $89,718.67
Raised 1-1-06 to 10-9-06------Dalto---------$1,225------------Wagner $11,690
(Dalto's report lists 9-1-06 as the start date and shows no money raised before 9-1-06)
Raised 10-10-06 to 10-30-06--Dalto----------$200------------Wagner $1,200
Raised 10-30-06 to election---Dalto----------zero--------------Wagner $2,200
Total raised prior to election--Dalto--------$1,425-------------Wagner--$104,808.67

For campaign finance reports:

For election results:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In New Castle County it's not just more people,it's increasing turnout percentages

Tom Wagner is the only currently seated statewide elected official to have won an election and lost New Castle County in the last five election cycles. I thought I would look at how turnout has changed in New Castle County over the last three nonpresidential elections.

Below are the numbers from the New Castle County Board of Election website.

In 2006 all of the Republicans statewide except US Rep.Mike Castle lost New Castle County.Only Castle and Tom Wagner won statewide. The Republican candidates for US Senate,treasurer and attorney general lost.

In 2002 the entire slate except Castle and Tom Wagner lost New Castle County. Castle, Tom Wagner and attorney general Jane Brady were each re-elected,but the Republican US Senate candidate and treasusrer's candidate were each defeated statewide by at least 15 percentage points .

It does not look promising for the Republicans statewide in 2010 unless they can change the voting trend or win by close to a 2-1 margin in Kent & Sussex Counties which is roughly what Wagner did in 2006 .

Registered voters------------/307,802-------338,301----------353,834

People who voted------------/114,870-------146,907----------161,932

% of Registered voters voted/37.32%--------43.42%-----------45.76%


Friday, August 21, 2009

New Castle County Usually a Bellwhether in Statewide contests

In the last post I mentioned how in the last four election cycles 55% plus of the statewide vote came out of suburban New Castle County. Since then I have looked to see how often statewide winners are able to carry the state,but lose in New Castle County. Since 2000 there have been 27 statewide races. Only two candidates, Republican Jane Brady , who in 2002 won in a 3 way race for Attorney General with Democrat Carl Schnee and Green Party candidate Vivian Houghton (whose 4.8% was higher than average 3rd party vote share) and Republican Tom Wagner, who won re-election as Auditor in 2006 over Democrat Michael Dalto, won statewide despite losing in suburban New Castle County.

The following won statewide and won New Castle county from 2000 to 2008:

3 Democratic presidential candidates: Barack Obama lost Sussex County. Al Gore and John Kerry each lost Kent and Sussex Counties

4 times the Democratic candidate for US Senate: In 2002 Joe Biden lost Kent County and in 2008 won Sussex County by only 272 votes when over 86, 000 votes were cast in Sussex County. Democrat Tom Carper won all subdivisions in 2006,but lost Kent and Sussex in 2000 when he upset Republican Bill Roth.

5 times the Republican Candidate for US House: Republican Mike Castle won in the City of Wilmington only once,getting 95 votes more than Democrat Mike Miller did in the city in 2002. This was the only Republican race between 2000 and 2008 in which the Republican got more Wilmington votes than the Democrat.

3 times the Democratic candidate for Governor: Ruth Ann Minner in 2000 and Jack Markell in 2008 each won all four subdivisions,but in 2004 Minner lost Kent and Sussex.

3 times the Democratic candidate for Lt Governor. John Carney in 2000 and 2004 and Matt Denn in 2008 each won all four subdivisions.

2 times the Democratic candidate for Treasurer-Jack Markell won all four subdivisions in 2002 and 2006.

For attorney general: in 2006 Democrat Beau Biden won despite losing Kent & Sussex Counties

In the 2002 Auditor's race Republican Tom Wagner won all subdivisions except the City of Wilmington. He received 61.8% overall in 2002.
In 2006 , the year he lost the City of Wilmington and New Castle County, he had 53.7% overall. His 65% victory in Kent & Sussex Counties allowed him to win,although by a 8.1% narrower margin than in 2002.

Each of the 3 Insurance Commissioner winners won New Castle County while losing at least one subdivision: Republican Donna Lee Williams lost the City of Wilmington in 2000,Democrat Matt Denn lost Kent & Sussex Counties in 2004 and Democrat Karen Weldin Stewart lost Sussex County in 2008.

Democrats ,winners and losers, can usually count on winning in Wilmington .
Kent & Sussex each backed the losing Republican 7 times in statewide raced in which Democrats won.
New Castle County supported the winner in all but two statewide contests of the last 27 held and one of those races had a third party candidate whose vote total of 13,860 exceeded the margin of victory which was only 6,871 votes. Since both of these offices will be on the ballot in 2010, it will be interesting to watch this trend.

All data is from the State Election Commissioner's website and the New Castle County Board of Elections' website.
A link is in the last post before this one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Subdivision Relative Turnout Relatively stable over the last four election cycles

I have read about the influx of people into Sussex County (transplants from upstate and out of state)in recent years and I began to wonder if Sussex County may have begun to contribute a higher percentage of statewide voter turnout in general elections in recent years.

The vote totals are up in Sussex County,but the number of actual votes cast in each of the other three political subdivisions (Kent County, New Castle County and the City of Wilmington) have also increased. This has created a situation where the relative turnout for each of the subdivisions is relatively stable in comparison to the others over the past few election cycles.

To minimize incumbency as an issue that could impact turnout, I looked at turnout in four open races in each of four recent election cycles and the pattern of relative turnout emerges with each subdivision contributing with no more than 3.0% points seperating its highest relative turnout from its lowest relative turnout. For 2002 I used the AGP report since the Delaware Election Commissioner's website did not break down election results by subdivsion in individual races for 2002.

2000 Presidential race-Total votes cast statewide327,529
City of Wilmington--------------25,374----7.7% of total turnout
Suburban New Castle County------187,821---57.3% of total turnout
Kent County---------------------48,247----14.7% of total turnout
Sussex County-------------------66,287----20.2% of total turnout

2004 Insurance Commissioner's Race-Total votes cast statewide 346,085
City of Wilmington--------------24,614---7.1% of total turnout
Suburban New Castle County-----196,566---56.8% of total turnout
Kent County--------------------52,189----15.1% of total turnout
Sussex County------------------72,716----21.1% of total turnout

2006 Attorney General race-Total Votes cast statewide 253,214
City of Wilmington--------------17,010---6.7% of total turnout
Suburban New Castle County-----141,665---55.9% of total turnout
Kent County---------------------38,339---15.1% of total turnout
Sussex County-------------------56,200---22.2% of total turnout

2008 Insurance Commissioner's race-Total Votes cast statewide 381,168
City of Wilmington--------------26,945---7.1% of total turnout
Suburban New Castle County------208,015--54.6% of total turnout
Kent County---------------------62,389---16.4% of total turnout
Sussex County-------------------83,819---22.0% of total turnout

2002 AGP report-(individual races not broken down by county)which reports turnout by groups
Total turnout is 232,497
New Castle County-------------145,836----62.7% of total turnout
(suburban & City of Wilmington)
Kent County-------------------34,015-----14.6% of total turnout
Sussex County-----------------52,646-----22.6% of total turnout

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More information on possible turnout pattern in legislative special elections

Of the ten legislative races I have so far been able to get approximate registration numbers for , only one has not fit the patten of turnout of 18% or below if more than 120 days before or after the Delaware legislative session June 30th end date and 25% or above turnout if held within 80 days of the June 30th legislative deadline.

On August5,2009 I did a post suggesting a potential turnout pattern, based on seven legislative special elections held between 2001 and the present.

I can not verify cause-and-effect,but the numbers I am gathering continue to lend credence that this might be a pattern,not a series of anomalies.
Here are three more earlier special elections, two of which fit the pattern.

(1)On 6-11-1983 there was a special election to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Rep Herman H Holloway,Jr.
James Sills, who would later serve two terms in the 1990s as Wilmington’s mayor, was the Democratic candidate. The Republicans did not field a candidate in the heavily Democratic district which included Wilmington’s east side, South Wilmington and the Hilltop neighborhood on Wilmington's West Side.
None of the other political parties fielded a candidate either.
The lack of nominated competition on the ballot did not create a lack of competition since same day write-in votes were still within Delaware law.
Sills won with 1194 votes. Marlene Holloway Dryden (Herman Holloway’s sister) received 204 write-in votes. 1,397 votes were cast,according to the Front Page story in the Sunday News-Journal on June 12, 1983 ( available on microfilm,but not online). A telephone verification with the Board of Election indicates there were 6 additional write-in votes cast for other candidates for a total of 1404 votes cast.
Total registration was 5,247 on 11-2-1982 and 5,990 11-6-1984 (the closest dates with registration figures on the Election Commissioner’s website) ,so I am assuming registration on 6-11-1983 was somewhere in between.
1404 would be 26.8% of 5,247 and would be 23.4% of 5,990, so the turnout was somewhere in that range despite only one major party candidate. 25.1% is midway between these two percentages,so will serve as a rough estimate.
I am thinking that the date of the election 19 days before the end of the legislative session may have meant more potential voters were thinking about the legislature at that time of year.
(2)When Lonnie George resigned his seat in the General Assembly in the summer of 1995, a special election was held on 8-12-1995. The winner was Rep Dennis Williams, who continues to hold the seat. He received 1,757 votes . Republican Karen J Miller received 897 votes and Libertarian Lawrence Sullivan received 122.
Total votes were 2776. There is no AGP report for special elections,so I can not establish exact registration figures. Here is the best approximation from the AGP reports of the general election before and after this special election: on 11-8-1994 there were 8,654 registered voters. On 11-5-1996 there were 10,089 registered voters. I assume the registration on 8-12-1995 is somewhere in between.
2776 is 32.1% of 8,654 and 27.5% of 10,089. Midway between these two would be 29.8%..
This election was held 43 days after the legislative session ended on June 30th .It had turnout of at least 27.5%. and maybe higher.

(3)In 1997 Rep Oak Banning died ,creating the need for a special election on Nov 13, 1997.This was 136 days after June 30th. Republican Dick Cathcart,who continues to hold the seat, defeated Democratic county council member Chris Roberts 1,966 to 1,758. Total votes cast were 3103. Registration figures for 1997 & 1998 are not available online, but on 11-5-1996 the election commissioner reports total registration as 10,923. 3103 is 28.4% of 10,923. That makes this the only legislative special election I have reviewed in which turnout did not fit the pattern.

We will know by 9-13-2009 whether the legislative special election in the 37th Rep District provides additional support for the theory there is a turnout pattern or challenges the theory by having a turnout less than 25%.

For election results:

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Here is what Turnout looks like among election districts in the 37th Rep District since 2002

In today's News-Journal newly minted Democratic candidate , Rob Robinson, stated his strong ties in Georgetown will be helpful in the upcoming special election in the 37th representative District.
"You can look at a map and tell Georgetown's going to bring a lot of weight," Robinson said.

I agree with him that Georgetown will have a major impact, but think he and any other candidates might need to build or reinforce relationships in Lewes,since a significant number of votes come out Lewes.

The numbers below indicate that if you break down the polling places by location, there are two in Lewes and four in Georgetown, one in Millsboro and one in Harbeson.

Over the last four elections the two in Lewes (the 1st of the 37th & the 2nd of the 37th) have accounted for 40.2% in 2008, 43.1% in 2006,41.0% in 2004 and 42.5% in 2002 of the overall district turnout.

The four Georgetown polling places ( 5th of the 37th, 6th of the 37th, 7th of the 37th and 8th of the 37th) accounted for 40.4% in 2008, 40.6% in 2006, 40.4 in 2004 and 41.4 in 2002 of overall district turnout.

The Millsboro polling has contributed between 12 and 15 % of overall district turnout in each of these elections,so it deserves some attention as well.

In 2002 Joe Booth unseated John Schroeder of Lewes after redistricting altered the lines of the 37th district which Schroeder had represented to include Georgetown where Booth had been mayor. Booth won by 44 votes overall,but lost the 1st of the 37th 978-462 and the 2nd of the 37th 845-472. Lewes votes did not win the election for Schroeder,but they kept it close.
We don't know who Robinson will face in the special election or what part of the district they will come from, but I'm betting Lewes will also "bring a lot of weight".

Turnout in the state rep race 2008
1st-37th***9th Grade Campus-Lewes---------------1727--17.8% of district turnout

2nd-37th***Shields Elementary,Lewes ------------2175--22.4% of district turnout

3rd-37th***Zoar Church Hall,Millsboro ----------1525--15.7% of district turnout

4th-37th***Harbeson Church Hall -----------------364--3.7% of district turnout

5th-37th***GeorgetownElementary School -----------1022--10.5% of district turnout

6th-37th***North Georgetown Elementary School---- 1755--18.1% of district turnout

7th-37th ***GeorgetownMiddleSchool-----------------831--8.5% of district turnout

8th-37th***Dept of Transportation Bldg,Georgetown --323--3.3%of district turnout

total ------9722

Turnout in the Attorney General’s race in 2006
In the 37th Rep District
State Rep Joe Booth ran unopposed
1st-37th**9th Grade Campus-Lewes--- 1433--20.9% of district turnout

2nd-37th**Shields Elementary,Lewes-- 1521--22.2% of district turnout

3rd-37th**Zoar Church Hall,Millsboro--- 867--12.6% of district turnout

4th-37th**Harbeson Church Hall------- 251--3.7% of district turnout

5th-37th**GeorgetownElementary School--- 766--11.2% of district turnout

6th-37th**North Georgetown Elementary School--- 1264--18.4% of district turnout

7th-37th**GeorgetownMiddleSchool--- 565--8.2% of district turnout

8th-37th**Dept of Transportation Bldg,Georgetown--- 190--2.8% of district turnout

total------- 6857

Turnout state rep race 2004

1st-37th**9th Grade Campus-Lewes--- 1787--20.3% of district turnout

2nd-37th**Shields Elementary,Lewes-- 1822--20.7% of district turnout

3rd-37th**Zoar Church Hall,Millsboro--- 1268--14.4% of district turnout

4th-37th**Harbeson Church Hall---- 326--3.7% of district turnout

5th-37th**GeorgetownElementary School---- 988--11.2% of district turnout

6th-37th**North Georgetown Elementary School--- 1577--17.5% of district turnout

7th-37th**GeorgetownMiddleSchool---- 753--8.6% of district turnout

8th-37th**Dept of Transportation Bldg,Georgetown---- 277--3.1% of district turnout

total------- 8798

turnout state rep race 2002

1st-37th**9th Grade Campus-Lewes--- 1440--22.2% of district turnout

2nd-37th**Shields Elementary,Lewes-- 1317--20.3% of district turnout

3rd-37th**Zoar Church Hall,Millsboro--- 797--12.3% of district turnout

4th-37th**Harbeson Church Hall--- 246--3.8% of district turnout

5th-37th**GeorgetownElementary School--- 788--12.1% of district turnout

6th-37th**North Georgetown Elementary School-- 1210--18.6% of district turnout

7th-37th**GeorgetownMiddleSchool--- 507--7.8%

8th-37th**Dept of Transportation Bldg,Georgetown--- 189--2.9% of district turnout

total------ 6494

The top seven election districts in the 19th Senate District continue to provide more than the majority in turnout

6884 total votes were cast on 08/03/09 in the Special Election in the 19th State Senate District. Here is what the numbers in the top seven election districts in the district looked like on August 3, 2009:

Representative District 35GREENWOOD FIRE HALL ED: 01-
761 votes cast- 11.1 % of total turnout
1296 votes cast-18.8% of total turnout
545 votes cast-7.9% of total turnout

391 votes cast-5.7% of total turnout
574 votes cast-8.3% of total turnout

943 votes cast-13.7% of total turnout

363 votes cast-5.3% of total turnout

Total turnout production for these seven districts:
4873 of 6884 votes cast for 70.8% of total turnout

In case you want to compare past turnout production:

Representative District 35
2002*** 10.7% of total district turnout
2004***10.3% of total district turnout
2006***10.6% of total district turnout
2008***11.2% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09-- 10.9% of district total

2002*** 13.6% of total district turnout
2004***14.5% of total district turnout
2006***15.3% of total district turnout
2008***16.7% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09 --4361---16.9% of district total

Located in Georgetown.
2002*** 8.1% of total district turnout
2004***8.6% of total district turnout
2006***8.1% of total district turnout
2008***8.5% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09 --2395---9.3% of district total

36th RD
Lincoln ED: 04 RD:
2002*** 8.2% of total district turnout
2004***8.7% of total district turnout
2006***8.4% of total district turnout
2008***8.6% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09 --2293---8.9% of district total

ED: 06 RD: 36Milton
2002*** 8.0% of total district turnout
2004***7.7% of total district turnout
2006***8.4% of total district turnout
2008***8.7% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09 --2250---8.7% of district total

37th RD

ED: 06 RD: 37
2002*** 11.7% of total district turnout
2004***10.5% of total district turnout
2006***11.3% of total district turnout
2008***9.9% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09 --2576---10.0% of district total

ED: 03 RD: 39

2002*** 6.8% of total district turnout
2004***6.8% of total district turnout
2006***6.4% of total district turnout
2008***6.1% of total district turnout
Registered voters as of 7-1-09 --1559---6.0% of district total

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Maybe A Special Election Turnout Pattern

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009
For now I am saying 15+% to low 20's% turnout,but it's still early to predict.”

I’ll admit I thought turnout would be less than 27.0% in the 8-3-2009 special election in the 19th State Senate District.

I’ll also let you join me in tracking a theory I am working on. I look for patterns and Special Elections may not occur often enough to develop patterns, but here is what I am considering.

June 30th is the day the Delaware State budget is mandated to be passed and a sizable amount of major legislation occurs within a week or two of June 30th. It is when the General Assembly gets the most media attention and when constituent groups can impact (or at least most closely follow) legislation.
Would scheduling proximity in relation to June 30th have an impact on turnout in legislative special elections?

I have only been able to establish turnout data for special elections held since Jan 2001 using available online data. There have only been seven special legislative elections since Jan 2001. It may be too small a sample to even make assumptions.but a pattern seems to be present.The three held within 80 days of June 30th (before or after) each had a minimum turnout of 27%. None of the four that were held more than 120 days from June 30th (before or after) got above 18%.

I am sure there may be other factors involved,but found this interesting.
The upcoming special election in the 37th Representative District will supply some more data to see if this pattern holds.

2nd Rep District-Jan.20, 2001-14.5% turnout-161 days from June30th

7th Rep District-April 14,2007-29.1% turnout-77 days from June 30th

41st Rep District-May 5, 2007-28.0% turnout-56 days from June 30th

14th Sen District-Nov 3,2007-18.0% turnout-126 days from June 30th

28th Rep District-Dec 8, 2007-18.0% turnout-161 days from June 30th

6th Rep District-Dec 20, 2008-18.13% turnout-173 days from June 30th

19th Sen District-Aug 5,2009-27.0% turnout-36 days from June 30th

Notes on the numbers
For Jan 2001 total turnout was 1343 and I used the registration from the Nov 2000 AGP report since exact registration numbers for Jan 2001 were not available . The Nov AGP report on the Election Commisisoner’s website indicates in Nov 2000 there were 9,244 registered voters.

Here is the link for the 8-3-2009 19th senate special election numbers:

Other numbers can be located in the Election Archive at the Election Commissioner’s website:

and the New Castle County election board’s website:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Numbers for the Next Round in Sussex County-37th Rep District registration -a swing district as far as registration goes-special election in weeks

District*** Democrats*** Republicans*** Others*** Total

01 OF 37** ***943******* 924********** 531****** 2,398
02 OF 37**** 1,219****** 1,173********* 696****** 3,088
03 OF 37 *****927******* 809********** 518****** 2,254
04 OF 37***** 174******* 226********** 113******* 513
05 OF 37***** 444******* 637********** 266****** 1,347
06 OF 37**** 1,101******* 920********** 570****** 2,591
07 OF 37****** 443****** 457*********** 235****** 1,135
08 OF 37****** 234****** 133*********** 98******* 465
Total ********5,485***** 5,279******** 3,027***** 13,791

Last Updated On 08/01/09 00:43:25