Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Look at the 2006 GOP US Senate Primary in Delaware

My original idea was to look at how each of the three Republican US Senate candidates did by Representative District in 2006. My assumption was if Christine O'Donnell stays in the Senate primary in 2010 and squares off against Mike Castle, her only chance is to win decisively in districts where she did well against Jan Ting,who was the organization endorsed candidate in 2006, and to lose close to Castle in districts she lost to Ting.Some on the right may feel she would get the lion's share of Mike Protack's votes and that is possible,but it is also possible several hundred of Protack's voters may not have even voted if he were not on the ballot.

One theory I have read is she would pull strongly from downstate Republicans on the assumption that they may be more conservative than their counterparts in New Castle County. After looking at the numbers I am wondering if downstate Republicans as a group are not being misrepresented by a vocal conservative minority.

Jan Ting got more votes than Protack and O'Donnell combined (190 for Ting and 146 for his two opponents)in the 39th District which encompasses Seaford and Blades in Western Sussex County. In the 41st District which includes Millsboro, Gumboro and Frankford in Southern Sussex County, Ting received 210 votes while Protack and O'Donnell combined received 223. In the 37th which includes Georgetown and Lewes, Ting received 280 votes and his opponents combined total was 189.

While Ting lost several districts to Protack in Kent and Sussex, O'Donnell did not win any and only outpaced Ting in the 35th (Bridgeville-Greenwood) by 128-119 with Protack getting 137 and the 30th (milford-Harrington-Felton) by 104-99 with Protack winning with 201.

An interesting situation arose in several districts with overwhelming Democratic registration majorities. O'Donnell beat Ting in the 2nd, 3rd, 16th & 18th Representative Districts. Unfortunately for her, these four districts only combined for 310 votes cast out of 14,386 cast statewide.

Ting received over 310 votes in 5 rep districts where Republicans come out in larger numbers (the 4th -West Wilmington, the 11th & 12th in Brandywine Hundred the 20th along Kirkwood Highway and the 38th in Sussex County (Millville-Bethany Beach-Fenwick-Selbyville).

For O'Donnell to have shot against Castle if she pursues a primary against him, she would need to beat Castle in some of the areas where Ting beat her because the areas in which she beat Ting do not supply enough votes. I am assuming Castle runs stronger than Ting,based on his prior election success and larger campaign treasury, in the places he needs votes like Brandywine Hundred and Western & Southern Sussex.

Some of the areas where she ran close to Ting in New Castle County ( the 24th -Eastern Newark, the 5th ,26th& 27th in Bear-Glasgow, and the 13th & 19th along Kirkwood Highway) do not supply enough votes in a Republican statewide primary ( if 2006 is at all representative) to give her the votes for an upset.


David said...

It is an interesting start at an analysis, but the question is MIke Castle and his appeal with in the party. Polls showed that he had a higher disapproval within the party than outside of it.

The problem with looking at her votes in the 2006 primary is that she was an unknown who was only in the race a few weeks. A lot has changed. She received 60% of the convention vote in 2008 but she would not have received 10% in 2006 if she had been in the race.

John Tobin said...

Your point is well taken that she has had some time to pick up support within the party and Castle may have lost some support within the Party. I guess I saw her party endorsement in 2008 as supporting a sacrificial lamb against Joe Biden, the way the Democrats have often supported someone against Castle who had no or very little chance.
I assume the organization will build as much consensus as possible behind Castle. I am thinking she will not find enough disaffected Republicans to beat him in a primary,but I will continue to research and the situation could change.
You have increased my curiousity about the question of likely voters and who they will support in a primary. Support is important,but only if supporters actually vote.
Thanks for your comment.