Thursday, December 2, 2010

14th and 38th Rep Districts have twice the percentage of absentee voters as state average for last 3 elections

I was asked if the higher proportion of absentee ballots cast in the 14th & 38th Representative Districts in 2010 was part of an ongoing pattern and the answer is yes. Each of these districts had a percentage of absentee voters to machine voters that was twice the statewide average for each of the last 3 elections (2006, 2008 & 2010). Unfortunately, prior to 2006 the delaware Elections Commissioner's website shows only total votes cast and does not break down votes cast between machine and absentee votes.
Here are the numbers:

2010-U S Senate race
Statewide-- out of 307,367 votes cast, 11,660 were absentee votes or
3.8% of votes were absentee
In the 14th Rep District--out of of 12,005 votes cast, 934 were absentee votes or
7.8% of votes were absentee
In the 38th Rep District-out of 11,583 votes cast, 907 were absentee votes or
7.8 % of the were absentee

2008-U S Senate race
Statewide-- out of 398,134votes cast, 21,039 were absentee votes or
5.3 % of votes were absentee
In the 14th Rep District--out of 14,024 votes cast, 1,624 were absentee votes or
11.6% of votes were absentee
In the 38th Rep District-out of 13,433 votes cast, 1,504 were absentee votes or
11.2% of the were absentee

2006-U S Representative race
Statewide-- out of 251,694 votes cast, 8,150 were absentee votes or
3.2% of votes were absentee
In the 14th Rep District--out of 9,512 votes cast, 585 were absentee votes or
6.2 % of votes were absentee
In the 38th Rep District-out of 9,380 votes cast,638 were absentee votes
6.8% of the were absentee

It does not appear to be related to be a concerted partisan effort in either direction. Republican Christine O'Donnell lost in the 14th to Joe Biden in 2008 and Chris Coons in 2010.She won in the 38th in 2010 over Coons, while losing to Biden by 480 votes in 2008. Republican Mike Castle beat Dennis Spivack in each of the districts in 2006.

The Castle -Spivack race was used for 2006 because factoring in absentee write-in votes in the US Senate race in which O'Donnell got over 11,000 write-in votes looked like a cumbersome process due to the way the website recorded write-in votes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Some Areas downstate had a higher proportion of absentee voting in 2010

While Kent & Sussex County supplied less than half the votes cast in the 2010 election in Delaware, Sussex County had pockets of voters where the percentage of absentee ballots cast was much higher than upstate districts.

There are at least two possible theories at work, both of which could be correct. One is that with the population of retirees and as native Sussex Countains age, there are more people voting absentee due to it being a hardship to travel to the polls and/or stand in line. The other is that many people who are "Sussex County residents" have second homes in Sussex County and live a significant portion of the year elsewhere,but want to impact Sussex County politics since it affects property tax rates and quality of life issue they may have a strong interest in.

In the overall votes cast New Castle County has 187,043 of 307,367 or 60.9% of the total votes cast.

US Senator

-------------------------------New Castle---- Kent----- Sussex----- State

COONS CHRISTOPHER A.-----123,678--- 22,315----- 28,019---- 174,012
O'DONNELL CHRISTINE -------57,649--- 25,059----- 40,345---- 123,053
MILLER GLENN A. --------------4,459---- 1,662------ 2,080------ 8,201
RASH JAMES W.----------------- 1,257------ 404-------- 440------ 2,101
Office Total --------------------187,043--- 49,440----- 70,884---- 307,367

It was a different story with absentee balloting.


Statewide totals
Coons ********167513********* 6499********* 174012
O'Donnell****118183 **********4870 *********123053
Miller*******7974 **************227 ************8201
Rash********2037 **************64 ***********2101
Total absentee votes cast*******11,660*****************************

5408 absentee ballot were cast in New Castle County according to the Board of Elections absentee data report. 5408 is 46.4% of 11,660 which means that New Castle County supplied well over the majority of total votes cast,but it lagged in absentee ballots cast in relation to the two southern counties.

Of particular note are the 14th Rep District & 38th Rep District, both coastal districts which each had over 900 absentee ballots cast. The districts adjacent to them , the 36th & 37th rep districts, had 474 & 613 respectively. These four districts accounted for 2928 of the 11,660 cast or 25% of the absentee ballots cast statewide. More research needs to be done to establish why the absentee balloting totals are so much higher in the shore areas,but when you consider that several rep districts in New Castle County did not even break 100 and none broke 500 for the 14th & 38th to go above 900 absentee ballots cast is noteworthy.

Here are the absentee votes cast in the US Senate race by Rep District:

New Castle County
1st-Wilmington & some suburbs-177
4th-Wilmington & some suburbs-439
7th-Brandywine Hundred-333
8th-Southern New Castle County & Northern Kent County-232
9th-Southern New Castle County-179
10th-Brandywine Hundred-260
11th-Brandywine Hundred-278
12th-Mt Cuba/Yorklyn-376
13th-Elsmere/Richardson Park-81
15th-New Castle/Red Lion/Bear-225
16th-New Castle-82
17th-New Castle-150
19th-Mill Creek/Kirkwood Highway-145
21st-Pike Creek /Red Mill area of Kirkwood Highway-201
22nd-NorthStar/Linden Hill-233
23rd-Western Newark-257
24th-Rte 4 corridor east of Newark-84
25th-Eastern Newark-149
26th-Bear Glasgow-111

Kent County
28th-Northern Kent County-298
30th-Harrington/Houston/Farmington(overlaps Kent & Sussex borders)-227
32nd-SouthDover/East Dover/Little Creek-256
33rd-Milford/Frederica (overlaps Kent & Sussex borders)-344

14th- Rehoboth/Lewes/Dewey Beach-934
36th -Milton/Milford/Lincoln-474
37th -Georgetown/Lewes-613
38th-Fenwick/Bethany/Ocean View-907

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Special Election for County Council President is the Democratic candidate's to lose

Democrats outnumber Republicans & Others combined in New Castle County. For the Republican candidate to win in the upcoming special election for President of New Castle County Council would require a major upset which could only take place if Democratic turnout is extremely low compared to Republican turnout OR massive defection of Democratic voters for the Republican candidate.

Here are the current registration numbers:

County -------Democrats----- Republicans-------- Others----------- Total

New Castle---- 195,440---------- 101,568-------- 92,649------------ 389,657

In the four statewide races with both a Democrat and a Republican on the ballot, here is how each party candidate fared among New Castle County voters:

US Senate
Democrat Chris Coons-----------123,678--68.2%
Republican Christine O'Donnell-57,649---31.8%

US Representative
Democrat John Carney----------121,674-66.8%
Republican Glen Urquhart------60,404 -33.2%

State Treasurer
Democrat Chip Flowers---------107,041--58.8%
Republican Colin Bonini-------75,206 -----41.2%

Democrat Richard Korn---------102,787 --56.9%
Republican Tom Wagner---------77,938 --43.1%

I looked at only votes cast for Ds & Rs above.

Here are how the two contested countywide races turned out:
304 of 304 Districts Reported
CIRO POPPITI III----- 113,576------ 63 . 5 %
KATHLEEN A. SHERWIN----65337-------- 36 . 5 %

304 of 304 Districts Reported
TRINIDAD NAVARRO -----125133------ 68 . 8 %
WILLIAM HART--------48437--------- 26 . 6 %
JOSEPH O'LEARY ---- 8414---------- 4 . 6 %

There is no guarantee either way . Tom Kovach pulled off an upset in the 6th Representative special election in Dec 2008 when turnout in Republican strongholds was lopsidedly high compared to areas where Democrat Mike Migliore won.The problem facing Republican is they would have to pull off this turnout advantage in several targeted areas throughout the county while also needing the Democrats to have low turnout in strong Democratic districts.
Basically, for the Republicans to win they would need to replicate the surprising upset in the 6th Rep District in Dec 2008 multiple times throughout the county all on the same day.In theory it could happen,but not likely unless the Democrats stay home or the Democratic candidate draws negative attention on a grand scale.

Here is my post following the Dec 2008 special election in which Kovach won:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

19th senate Primary appears to have increased turnout in the US Senate primary/this area could be November battleground

GOP primary turnout statewide was 32% . Sussex County turnout was 38.6%. Turnout in the 19th State Senate District was 42%.

Despite accounting for 5.4% of the registered Republicans statewide (9,846 out of 182,796)the 19th senate district accounted for 7.3% of the US Senate primary voters on primary day(4215 out of 57,584). Since this a district that O'Donnell won better than two to one, this higher turnout obviously helped her.

We don't need totally to just assume that the local state senate contest is what drew many voters out. The numbers verify that to a degree. At seven of 16 polling places no more people voted in the US Senate race than the 19th state senate race.At four out of 16 polling places more voters cast ballots in the local state senate race than in the US Senate race. In the 4th of th 35th,the 8th of the 36th,the 6th of the 37th and the 3rd of the 39th a few more voters cast ballots in the 19th State Senate race. In the 6th of the 35th and 5th of the 36th and the 8th of the 37th the number of votes was exactly the same. In any of the tie districts if any voters came in to vote only in the US Senate race, it means that some others voted only in the local race. At any rate, these numbers appear to prove that at seven out of 16 polling places the US Senate race did not generate more interest ( as gauged by actual votes cast) than the local state senate race.

It is a handful of voters and it won't matter unless the winning margin is narrow,but it is curious that in the highest profile statewide Republican primary in years in which the two candidates appeared to represent clearly different views of what the Republican Party is or should be, that some voters would see that contest as no more compelling than their state senate contest. It is not possible to tell whether these voters are waiting until November and will vote for the GOP nominee as a matter of course and were sitting out the intraparty squabble or viewed the Castle/O'Donnell race as a "pox on both houses" and will not vote for O'Donnell or will not vote at all in this race in November.

State Senator Booth does not have a general election opponent and possibly people realized the primary would settle who takes the seat and that became some of the motivation.

Although Booth is unopposed in the general election, 3 out of four state rep districts whose parts comprise the 19th state senate district have contests for state representative which should keep turnout respectable relative to the statewide turnout.The 35th, 36th and 37th each has a contest. In the 39th which supplies only two of the 16 election districs in this senate district , Rep Daniel Short is unopposed.

Since in these four rep districts O'Donnell did particularly well in 2008's US Senate general election, these merit watching this year. She beat Joe Biden in the 35th and the 39th .She lost the 36th by only 130 votes while losing by over 600 in the 37th.

If Chris Coons is to beat her he needs to offset a possible loss in this area with votes in other (most likely upstate) areas of the state and cut into her margin in this area. I am betting we will be seeing him at the Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville next weekend.

District Democrats Republicans Others Total

01 OF 35- 1,082 ----1,247 -------587 ---2,916
02 OF 35- 1,942---- 1,621------- 981--- 4,544
03 OF 35- --247-------264------- 142----- 653
04 OF 35- 1,217----- -780------- 495--- 2,492
06 OF 35- --482------ 468------- 306--- 1,256
07 OF 35--- 319------ 228------- 161----- 708
RD Total--5,289-----4,608------2,672---12,569

04 OF 36- 1,017------ 777------- 604--- 2,398
05 OF 36--- 260------ 254------- 154----- 668
06 OF 36- 1,106------ 768------- 545--- 2,419
08 OF 36--- 629------ 386------- 273--- 1,288
RD Total- 3,012---- 2,185----- 1,576--- 6,773

04 OF 37-- -179------ 234------- 118----- 531
05 OF 37--- 464------ 639------- 272--- 1,375
06 OF 37--1,130------ 948------- 578--- 2,656
08 OF 37--- 248------ 136------- 106----- 490
RD Total- 2,021---- 1,957----- 1,074--- 5,052

01 OF 39--- 264------ 405------- 168----- 837
03 OF 39--- 572------ 691------- 328--- 1,591
RD Total--- 836---- 1,096------- 496--- 2,428

SD Total- 11,158--- 9,846----- 5,818--- 26,822


01-35 ---556--- 136----- ----420

02-35-- -688-- 198--------- 490

03-35-- --89--- 23---------- 66

04-35- --329--- 102-------- 227

06-35- 180----- 40--------- 140

07-35- 98------ 33--------- 65

04-36- 277----- 77-------- 200

05-36- 95 ------25--------- 70

06-36- 304---- 108-------- 196

08-36- 156----- 44-------- 112

04-37- 112----- 30--------- 82

05-37- 338---- 144-------- 194

06-37- 487---- 262-------- 225

08-37-- 52----- 16--------- 36

01-39- 166----- 45-------- 121

03-39- 288---- 110-------- 178

Total -4215---1393--------2822


01-35-- 550---- 367---------- 183

02-35-- 685---- 315---------- 370

03-35--- 87----- 56----------- 31

04-35-- 330---- 189---------- 141

06-35-- 180---- 121----------- 59

07-35--- 96----- 45----------- 51

RD Tot- 1928--- 1093--------- 835

04-36--- 272---- 162--------- 110

05-36---- 95----- 55--------- 40

06-36--- 299----- 126-------- 173

08-36--- 157----- 79--------- 78

RD Tot-- 823---- 409--------- 401

04-37--- 111---- 56----------- 55

05-37--- 335--- 108---------- 227

06-37--- 491--- 113--------- 378

08-37---- 52--- 30----------- 22

RD Tot-- 989-- 307---------- 682

01-39--- 164-- 83----------- 81

03-39--- 290-- 132--------- 158

RD Tot-- 454-- 215--------- 239

Cand Tot- 4194- 2037----- 2157

Friday, September 17, 2010

I thought she was a regional candidate and O'Donnell's win affirms that

Like many observers I predicted US Rep Mike Castle would defeat Christine O'Donnell in the GOP US Senate primary and I was wrong. In my Aug 29,2009 post I mentioned I perceived her greatest chance would come from the increased Republican registrations in Kent & Sussex Counties since 2000 and decreased Republican registrations in New Castle County over the last decade. On this point I was correct,but I did not anticipate the type of turnout we saw in Sussex County.

While voter turnout statewide was up from what I predicted at 8-10% based on prior turnout, that was most prevalent in Sussex County where O'Donnell almost beat Castle 2-1.

Kent & Sussex provided 18,653 (Sussex) + 9669 (Kent) for 28,322 votes out of 81,300 registered Republican voters .
New Castle County provided 29,262 votes out of 101,496 registered voters
Despite having 20,196 fewer registered Republicans, Kent and Sussex only provided 940 fewer voters. This unheard of turnout combined with O'Donnell's popularity South of the C&D Canal to give her the statewide victory.

UNITED STATES SENATOR--New Castle--Kent----Sussex----State
CASTLE MICHAEL N.--------- -16,891-----3,518---6,612-----27,021
O'DONNELL CHRISTINE------ 12,371-----6,151---12,041----30,563
Office Total----------- ----------29,262-----9,669---18,653----57,584

Republican Registration by County
New Castle-----101,496

Statewide turnout was 31.5%
New Castle County----28.8%

As she heads into the November general election this is the registration disadvantage O'Donnell faces:

County------- Democrats---- Republicans-- Others-------- Total
Kent ------------46,208----- 32,948------ -26,450------ 105,606
New Castle--- -194,504----- 101,496------ 92,301------- 388,301
Sussex ---------52,026------- 48,352------ 27,461------- 127,839
Statewide----- 292,738------ 182,796----- 146,212------- 621,746

I think the balancing act ahead of her is to expand beyond the Tea Party supporters to include at least some more moderates in her coalition, while at the same time not being seen as backing off of the values that initially attracted her primary supporters to her in the first place.

A more daring strategy with more risk might be to not try to expand the coalition as much as energize her base and try to get every possible general election voter that agrees with the values she espoused to win the primary. This strategy assumes a low turnout among the Democrats or a perception that there is a largely untapped number of non-Republican Tea Party adherents who have just been waiting for the primary to be over so they could participate.

Either of these options creates the possibility of alienating either her Tea Party supporters, who have been with her as she stormed the Republican Party, or the moderates who may help her move towards winning an election.

If she plans on building a big Republican tent that is inclusive of those who had previously opposed her,O'Donnell has some work ahead.

While the State GOP website now has a link to her campaign and Party Chair Tom Ross has called for party unity, he did mention by name either O'Donnell or Glen Urquhart, who defeated party supported Michelle Rollins in the US House race in his statement on the website.
An excerpt from a candidate profile in the Ny Times spells out some of her conservative ideals:

"When Ms. O’Donnell ran for the Senate in 2006, she described herself in an interview as, “Republican, but not a Delaware Republican.”

Ms. O’Donnell has taken positions against federal financing for stem cell research, is opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and favors tough penalties against businesses that hire illegal immigrants. She has also suggested in past television interviews that evolution is soft science, and questioned the utility of financing AIDS programs. "

I am wondering where Republicans who consider themselves fiscal conservatives and social moderates will find a place in her campaign.
If she concedes this group (which I would contend is more prevalent in New Castle County based on her defeat in that county in the primary)to Chris Coons in the interest of political purity she may not fare as well in November as she did on primary day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pattern of DropUp in Democratic Statewide Primary

Richard Korn won the Democratic Primary for Auditor on September 14, 2010. One of the realities from Tuesday's results is voter drop off for this race. 34,721 Delaware Democrats voted in the Treasurer's race and only 32,736 voted in the Auditor's race. 1,985 Democrats ( about 5% of those who entered the voting booth) passed up the opportunity to vote in the Auditor's race.

There were 7 state representative primaries and one state senate primary, but in many parts of the State in New Castle County and Sussex County the only races on the ballot were State Treasurer, Auditor of Accounts and a countywide row office. In Kent County there were no countywide or local races.

In Sussex and New Castle Counties hundreds apparently voted for Treasurer, skipped the Auditor's race and then voted in the local row ofice. What would concern me if I was the Democratic candidate in this race is that the highest portion of voters in actual numbers and percentage of voters skipping this race was in New Castle County which is the most populus of the three counties and the most Democratic. While 1,523 fewer voters took part in the Auditor's race than the Treasurer's race in New Castle County, the difference in turnout in the Sheriff's race is only 36 votes fewer. While 240 fewer Sussex County voters took part in the Auditor's race than the Treasurer's race, the difference in the Recorder of Deeds from the Treasurer's is only 35 fewer voters.

in 2006 Michael Dalto lost to Tom Wagner by 18,000 votes and the dropoff between the treasurer's race and Auditor's race was 2,326.Since over 26,000 more Democrats than Republicans voted in 2006, it is entirely possible there is a higher proportion of the dropoff since Democrats make up more of the voting pool.

We know for sure that the 1,985 voters who did not vote in Tuesday's primary for Auditor were all Democrats who had taken the time to go vote.

Getting 2,000 people to not dropoff will not be THE deciding factor unless the winning margin is razor thin, but if the general election is even somewhat close convincing the primary voters to vote again in November and complete the ballot could make an impact on the outcome.

Statewide Results

New Castle County

1523 voters dropped of from Treasurer to Auditor (6% dropoff)


Sussex County

240 voters dropped off from Treasurer to Auditor (3% dropoff)

Recorder of Deeds
Brady--- ------3785


222 voters dropped off from Treasurer to Auditor (5%)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

State Senate Primary may increase impact of the 19th State senate District in GOP statewide primary

In 2006 14,386 Republicans voted in the U.S. Senate race in which 2505 votes went for Christine O’Donnell. 301 votes were cast in the 35th Rep District, 367 votes were cast in the 36th Rep District. 469 votes were cast in the 37th Rep District.1137 votes (of which O’Donnell got 130 votes) were cast in these three Rep Districts. These 3 districts accounted for 7% of the total votes cast in the statewide primary.

In 2004’s 21,670 votes were cast statewide in the GOP primary for Governor with 590 cast in the 35th, 729 cast in the 36th and 813 cast in the 37 th . These districts accounted for 2132 votes cast or 9% of votes cast statewide.

In 2008 in the GOP primary for Governor the 35th accounted for 1094 votes, the 36th accounted for 1564 and the 37th accounted for 1746. 4404 votes were cast in these 3 rep districts or 15 % of the 28,972 total votes cast statewide in that race.

In 2004 and 2006 none of these districts had a local primary,but in 2010 there is hotly contested race for the 19th State Senate seat which has at least four election districts in each of these Rep Districts which comprise 14 of the 16 election districts in the 19th Senate District.

In 2008 when the relative impact statewide of these three districts was significantly higher, there were local primaries . Sussex County Council District 2 and 3 each had a GOP primary . 20 election districts within the boundaries of these two county council districts are in one of these 3 state rep districts which have at least 4 EDs which are in the 19th State Senate District. The portions of these County Council Districts that were in these rep districts provided 976 in the 35th, 155 in the 36th 691 in the 37th in the 2nd County Council District and 58 in the 35th 1417 in the 36th and 1069 in the 37th in the 3rd County Council District . 4366 voters cast ballots in one of these three rep districts in one of these two county council races.

Since that is only 38 fewer voters than voted in the Governor’s race it is entirely possible that hundreds of voters may have been brought to the polls by their interest to vote in the local race and then voted in the statewide race. If this is not the case what could explain twice as many voters participating in 2008 than 2004, both presidential years involving the same opponents, Bill Lee & Mike Protack? While the statewide GOP votes cast went up only 33% from 21,670 to 28,972, the turnout numbers in these districts more than doubled from 2132 to 4404.

The fact is that of the 3 examples the only one in which the percent of statewide total exceeds 10% is the one where local primaries are involved.

I can not predict the amount of the impact,but I think the 19th State Senate primary will drive up the relative impact these three rep districts have on the statewide GOP primaries for US Senate and US Rep .

Numbers quoted are the from the Delaware State Election Commissioner's website:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Geography of recent registrants may help O'Donnell if primaries South of the C&D Canal increase turnout ,but I doubt it will be enough to beat Castle

Christine O'Donnell may have a few things in her favor.
Her support seems to be disproportionally stronger in downstate Delaware where she did well in several election districts in the 2008 general election despite losing 2-1 statewide.
Over the last ten years Sussex County & Kent County have incresed their share of the Republican electorate.
It also appears that Mike Castle has taken notice of a possible threat in lower Delaware.


It looks like Rep. Mike Castle isn’t taking his Tea Party Express-backed primary opponent lightly: The Republican has purchased $113K worth of airtime before the primary. [...] A Dem source that monitors media buys tells Hotline On Call that Castle has purchased $113K worth of airtime for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 in the Salisbury, MD, media market. That market broadcasts into southern DE. Castle has also purchased $26K worth of time on cable in New Castle County and $42K on radio.

Over the past decade the number of registered Republicans statewide has increased from 171,446 in 2000 to 182,989 in 2010 for an increase of 11,543 or a 6% increase. Sussex County has increased from 38,059 to 48,755 for an increase of 10,696 or 28%. Kent County has increased from 26,056 to 32,852 for an increase of 6796 or 26%. The number of registered Republicans in New Castle County decreased from 107,331 to 101,382 for a loss of 5949 or 5%.

If the two Southern counties are most hospitable to O'Donnell's candidacy, this increase might benefit her. She also may benefit from the Sussex County primary in the 19th State senate and three State Rep primaries in Kent County in the 29th ,31st and 33rd districts which may drive up local turnout.

WDEL host John Flaherty has pointed out that the campaign of Glen Urquhart , conservative candidate for the U.S. Representative seat , may have helped O'Donnell by espousing a similar set of issue statements and appealing to the same base in a campaign with a larger media budget with more airtime. Urquhart had been running radio ads for several weeks before O'Donnell was able to do so and it is possible he could energize some conservative voters into making it to the polls with the result that they would also vote for O'Donnell while in the voting booth for him( an electoral version of collateral damage).

Unfortunately for O'Donnell,despite losing several thousand Republicans over the last ten years New Castle County still has 101,382 Republicans to 81,607 in Kent & Sussex. For O'Donnell to win, turnout would have to be skewed in a way that several percentage points higher turnout took place in Kent & Sussex County and O'Donnell beat Castle 2-1 throughout the bulk of the these districts because I feel Castle will come out of New Castle County considerably ahead.

I also think Castle is likely to beat her handily in the 14th Rep District in the beach area of Eastern Sussex and may do the same in the 37th. Of the 686 votes cast in the 14th in the 2006 GOP Senate primary Jan Ting got 381 to O'Donnell's 86 and Mike Protack's 219. In the 37th out of 469 votes cast Ting got 280 to O'Donnell's 39 and Protack's 150.
I am thinking anywhere Ting won that big Csatle won't lose.I doubt O'Donnell's socially conservative message will fly here as well as in Western Sussex.

The 14th & 37th districts may be perceived as a test to see if Castle's work on beach replenishment is seen as government intruding in people's lives or as a needed infrastructure help which will bring people and therefore profits for small businesses in the resort area. As recently as September 10, 2010 Castle was touting beach replenishment in Bethany Beach:

In districts like the 4th Rep district and 12 district where Ting got more votes than O'Donnell & Protack combined, I expect Castle to do as well. In the 7th,10th & 12th in Brandywine Hundred Ting did almost that well and I expect Castle to do better than Ting,since they both had the party endorsement and Castle has higher name recognition and a stronger campaign organization after decades in elected office.

The 14th & 37th in Eastern Sussex should somewhat offset the areas of Western Sussex where O'Donnell may make inroads and may win multiple election districts.

I think New Castle County more than offsets whatever victories O'Donnell has in Kent & Sussex.

I think Castle is likely to win by 10-15 % points.

statewide-GOP 182,989
Sussex County-48,755
Kent Republicans 32,852
New Castle -101,382

statewide- 180,620
Sussex 47,614
Kent 32,345
New Castle- 100,661

Sussex County-46,302
Kent 32,354
New Castle-103,202
181,858 –statewide

Sussex County-44,655
New Castle-103,465
178,655 Republicans Statewide
Kent Republicans 30,535

Sussex County-42,487
New Castle-110,159

Sussex County-40,219
New Castle-108,351

Sussex County-38,059
New Castle-107,331

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Protack might not want to pin primary hopes on newly registered voters and whoever becomes the GOP nominee has less of an edge than just 3 years ago

Mike Protack is once again the nonendorsed Republican in a primary. Bill Tansey, who is retiring as the third district county council member in New Castle County, recruited and endorsed Protack's primary opponent Janet Kilpatrick. Befitting a feisty outsider, Protack told the News-Journal's Chad Livengood :

"That's not an endorsement I would look for or accept,"

I had read about the campaigns of two Democrats without their party leadership endorsements in 2008, Barack Obama for President and Jack Markell for Delaware's Governor, who benefited from new voters. Obama was reported to have brought totally new voters to the polls while Markell was reported to have gotten several hundred Republicans (maybe more) to switch registration so they could support him in the Democratic primary.

Here is an article from BBC about Obama's 2008 popularity among new voters:

In his post-primary recap in Sept 2008 blogger Tommy Wonk asserted :

“thousands of Republicans switched their registration to support Jack Markell”.

You may dispute the exact numbers and how they became Democrats (new registrant or switching registration),but it is a fact that the number of registered Democrats in relation to the number of Republicans increased dramatically prior to the primary season in 2008. Between Sept 2007 and May 2008 an additional 12,162 Democrats were on the rolls,but Republicans only increased by 637.

249,716 Democrats and 178,081 Republicans


261,878 Democrats and 178,718 Republicans

I wondered if a similar strategy might at work in the 3rd County Council District and it appears not to be the case.

The numbers below indicate that since Oct 1, 2009 the number of Republican registered voters in the 3rd County Council District only increased by 41. This means unless the winner has a razor thin victory margin of less than 42 voters, whoever wins will need the vast majority of their votes to come from prior registered Republicans.

This would seem to tilt in Janet Kilpatrick's favor since Tansey was popular enough to unseat an incumbent in 2002 and to run unopposed in 2006 with no primary opponent or general election opponent.

The registration figures still lean to the Republicans.Since Bill Tansey was sworn in for his second term in Jan 2007,the advantage has lessened.Republicans have 431 fewer registered voters since Jan. 2007. Democrats still trail by over 2,000 registered voters,but have picked up 1606 more registered Democrats.

11,330 Democrats and 14,113 Republican registered voters in the 3rd County Council District in New Castle County
182,982 Republican registered voters statewide

11,257 Democrats and 14,072 Registered Republicans in the 3rd District
180,064 Republicans registered statewide.


10,904 Democrats and 14,260 Republicans

9,724Democrats and 14,544 Republicans

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Has Mike Protack done in the 3rd County Council running before statewide?

Past performance is no guarantee of future results,but I thought it might be interesting to review how Mike Protack ,who has run statewide in Republican primaries three times, has performed as a vote getter in the third county council district where he is running to fill the seat being vacated by the retirement of Bill Tansey.

Getting exact numbers is difficult, if not impossible, due to the merging of polling places during primaries. Polling places may be merged due to builidng availability, parking issues on primary day when some regular polling sites which might be closed on general election day are open on primary election creating more demand for parking, staffing issues for an election with a much lower turnout and other issues as determined by the Board of Elections.

There are 29 election districts in the 3rd county council district and in the four primaries since the 2002 redistricting this merging has not created 29 distinct election districts for election result purposes.

Below are the number of districts within the current 3rd district reporting results on the New Castle County Board of Election website:
20 in 2008
20 in 2006
21 in 2004
24 in 2002
(In 2002 what is now the 3rd district comprised roughly half of what was then the third district which was split in 2004 when county council expanded to 12 districts.The other half of the old district 3 is now district 9)

This means election districts were merged and some could possibly have merged with adjacent EDs that might not be in the third district which would not have been a concern for the elections department ,if there was no local primary. This means the results I quote will be a thumbnail sketch-not an exact tally of how Mike Protack did votewise.

In 2004 approximately 2240 votes were cast in a three way Republican gubernatorial primary (won statewide by Bill Lee)in the third county council district and Mike Protack got 445 for 19%.

In 2006 approximately 1,761 votes were cast in a three way Republican primary for U.S. Senate primary (won statewide by Jan Ting)in the third county council district and Mike Protack got 713 votes for 40%

In 2008 approximately 2644 votes were cast in the two way Republican gubernatorial primary (won statewide by Bill Lee) in the third county council district and Mike Protack got 626 for 23%.

In 2006 an off-year election with a lower turnout, Protack got significantly more votes and a much higher percentage. If he benefits from the lower turnout of an off-year election, his race this year could be his best shot at success.

In 2002 this half of the old third county council district supplied approximately 2,397 votes in the Bill Tansey-Rick Abbott primary for county council, but that primary took place the year after redistricting and was so hotly contested that Tansey won it by only 9 votes as Abbott, the incumbent at the time, maintained a higher media profile than either of the candidates currently running and then County Executive Tom Gordon mobilized resources behind Tansey.

I would assume the turnout may be lower in 2010 than 2002. It will be interesting to see if the turnout is lower and if Protack benefits from whatever the turnout is.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Some Updated Thoughts on the outcome of the GOP US Senate Race

I thought the place to start would be some parameters.

Christine O'Donnell got 17.4% (2505 votes) in the 2006 3 -way primary in which she placed third. She was not the organization endorsed candidate and was outspent.

In 2008 as the GOP nominee for Senate, she lost to incumbent Senator Joe Biden ,but her losing margin was not outside the range of other statewide Republicans who lost. She received 35.3 % to Ins Commissioner candidate John Brady's 41.0%,Presidential candidate John McCain's 36.9 %. GOP Governor candidate Bill Lee's 32.0 % and GOP Lt. Gov candidate Charlie Copeland's 38.7%. While she was trounced in New Castle County along with her ballot mates except Mike Castle, she lost closer than Lee & Copeland in Sussex County where she only lost by 272 votes of 86,518 cast countywide. She lost Kent by a smaller margin than Bill Lee,who was making his third bid for the office of governor.

O'Donnell is once again in a statewide primary in which she is not the organization endorsed candidate and it is likely she will be outspent.I am assuming that since she has run twice statewide, has more name recognition and shown some visible support downstate she will get in 2010 at least the 17.4% she received in 2006.

Jan Ting, a Republican party regional leader who had never before held elected office, won the 2006 primary with 42.5% of the vote (6110 votes). Ting ran as the organization endorsed candidate. I am assuming that U.S. Rep Mike Castle, who is the organization endorsed candidate in 2010, has held statewide elected office since 1980 and has a much larger campaugn fund than O'Donnell, will do at least as well as Jan Ting and will get at least 42.5% of the vote.

My contention is Castle and O'Donnell are fighting over the 40.1% of the vote (5771 in 2006) that Mike Protack received and whatever new primary voters each side can bring out.

If this theory is remotely accurate, Castle can lose 4 of 5 former Protack voters (thereby getting only 8 of the 40% that Protack had gotten in 2006) and still get more than 50% of the overall vote. Since there is no guarantee that O'Donnell was the second choice of the majority of Protack's voters, she definitely has an uphill fight. It is also possible that some of Protack's strongest supporters may stay home rather than voter for either of them , a scenario which I think benefits Castle since it would tough to generalize Protack's supporters as reliable supporters of the Republican statewide organization.

2006 Delaware statewide primary results:

2008 statewide general election results by subdivision:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

2008 Dem. Primary offers new examples of locals drawing more votes than Insurance Commissioner & these are in swing districts

The legislative districts I had looked at last week in assessing whether the local legislative races drew more voter activity than the statewide row offices were mostly Democratic strongholds. The 5th ,the 13th,the 16th the 17th state rep districts all have lopsided Democratic registration edges . The 1st, 2nd and 3rd rep districts have lopsided registration edges and have not been held by a Democrat at least since Nixon was president.

I began to wonder if this theory held true in swing districts that did not have a recent history of having a Democrat elected and where there was not an overwhelming Democratic regsitration edge. I looked at the 4th State Senate primary and the 6th State Senate primary, since they each qualified. The 4th had been held since the 2002 reapportionment by Republican Charlie Copeland and the area had been served prior to that by Republican Dallas Winslow. The 6th State Senate seat had been held by Republican Liane Sorenson since the 2002 reapportionment and the parts of the district in Newark not served by Sorenson prior to reapportionment had been served by Republican Steve Amick ,who saw his district shift southward following redistricting.

Here are the registration figures for each district in September 2008 the month of the primary:
4th State Senate
Democrats ---10,613
Republicans --13,291
Others -------7,454
Total --------31,358

6th State Senate
Democrats ---8,267
Republicans --7,580
Others -------5,768
Total ---------21,615

Some voters in each of these districts seem to have voted in the Governor's primary, skipped the Insurance Commissioner's primary and then voted in the state senate primary.

4th State Senate
Turnout Governor's primary----------------- 4,260
Turnout Insurance Commissioner's primary----3,618
( 15% dropff from the Gov. race)
Turnout state senate primary----------------3,854
(9% dropoff from the Gov. race)
This indicates about 6% (or 1 out of 16 voters) skipped the Ins Comm race,but voted in the State Senate race.

6th State Senate
Turnout Governor's primary ----------------2,830
Turnout Insurance Commissioner's primary---2,353
(16% dropoff from the Gov. race)
Turnout state senate primary---------------2,629
(7% dropoff from the Gov. race)
This indicates about 9% (or 1 out of 11 voters) skipped the Ins. Comm race,but voted in the State Senate race.

Among the struggles facing the statewide row office candidates appears to be the task of not only getting voters to the polls,but making sure their race is not skipped by voters who take the "act locally" part of the "think globally, act locally" motto literally.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Not Just off-year elections when the locals get more attention than some statewide races-a 2004 example-the insurance commissioner primary

I have heard the assumption that some of the diminished turnout for the U.S. Representative Democratic primaries in 2002 and 2006 relative to the state representative races might have been due to an assumption on the part of many voters that Mike Castle would not face serious opposition no matter who won and that this assumption created voter apathy for that primary race.

I decided to look at the 2004 Insurance Commissioner's statewide primary and focus only on the state rep districts where there was a local state rep primary in the hope this would offer insights into whether voters might have voted more in the Insurance Commissioner's race in relation to the state rep races since both candidates, Matt Denn and Karen Weldin Stewart, were serious contenders for elected office.

Karen Weldin Stewart lost the 2004 primary,but had gotten 47.1 % in the 2000 general election for the same office in a bid against then incumbent Republican Insurance Commissioner, Donna Lee Williams. Stewart would lose the primary to Denn in 2004,but in 2008 would win the Democratic primary and the general election . She now serves as Insurance Commissioner.

Matt Denn ,a former state senate candidate, won the 2004 primary and general election. After serving one term as Insurance Commissioner, he was elected as Lt Governor in 2008, a post in which he continues to serve.

I looked at the 9 state rep districts that had local state rep primaries and in 8 of 9 the state rep race had more votes cast than the Insurance Commissioner's race. In four of those 8 districts the dropoff from state representative to Insurance Commissioner was 5% or more.

I plan to look at the 2008 primary for the same office to see if the same trend applies, but the 2004 Insurance Commissioner's Democratic primary seems to provide another example where the local state rep race attracts more voter interest than a statewide office.

2nd Rep District
state rep race ---1820 votes cast
ins.commissioner-1638 votes cast
over/under -182 more votes were cast in state rep race than were cast in the ins comm. race.
10% dropoff from state rep to insurance commissioner


state rep race----1428 votes cast

ins commissioner-1389 votes cast
over/under-39 more votes were cast in state rep race than were cast in the ins. comm. race

2%dropoff from state rep to ins commissioner


state rep race----1,149 votes cast

ins commissioner--1,167

over/under-18 more votes cast in the ins commissioner's race than the state rep race.

1% dropoff from Insurance Commissioner to state rep race


state rep race--- 1,151 votes cast

ins commissioner-1,149 votes cast

over/under-2 votes cast in the state rep race that were not cast in the ins comm. race

0% dropoff


state rep race----1,985 votes cast

ins.commissioner--1,818 votes were cast

over/under-167 more votes were cast in the state rep race than the ins comm. race

8% dropoff from the state rep race to the ins. commissioner race.

state rep race-----1,511 votes cast
ins. commissioner--1,435 votes cast
over/under- 76 more votes were cast in the state rep race than ins comm. race
5% dropoff from state rep to insurance commissioner

state rep race-----981 votes cast
ins commissioner---874 votes cast
over/under---------107 more votes were cast in the state rep race than ins comm.
10% dropoff from state rep to ins commissioner

state rep race----629 votes cast
ins commissioner--620
over/under-------9 more votes cast in the state rep race than the ins comm. race.
1% dropoff from state rep to insurance commissioner

state rep race----392 votes cast
ins commissioner--368 votes cast
over/under--------24 more votes cast in the state rep race than the ins comm.race
6% dropoff from state rep to ins commissioner

Total votes cast in state rep races with a Democratic primary-11,046
Total votes cast in the ins comm primary in those districts---10,458
over/under---588 more votes were cast in the state rep races than the ins comm.
Cumulative 5% dropoff from state rep race to insurance commissioner race.

Monday, July 19, 2010

4 Districts near Newark & the C&D Canal may have a bigger impact than usual due to local State Rep primaries,but some voters may skip statewide races

I think two districts in the Newark area (the 24th & the 27th state rep districts) and two in the C&D Canal area (state rep districts 8 & 9) are likely to have a greater than usual impact on overall countywide turnout & statewide turnout due to local state representative primaries.This affects only New Castle County-the 8th overlaps with 4 election districts in Kent County & 8 election districts in New Castle County,but Kent has no countywide primaries this election cycle. I looked at a few other off-year (2002 & 2006-nonpresidential election years) suburban Democratic primaries for comparison. The sample size is small due the limited number of primaries in Delaware,but may give us some ideas.

The 5th Rep District in the Bear-Glasgow area did not have a local primary in 2006 and out of 7,163 registered Democrats only 197 (2.75%) cast ballots in the primary on a ballot that included only New Castle County Register of Wills and U.S. Representative. 193 voted in the Congressional race and 192 voted in the Register of Wills race.

In 2002 Melanie George defeated William McMurray 376-33 in the 5th rep district,newly created after the 2002 reapportionment. Although 409 of 6,391 registered Democrats(about 6%) voted in the state rep race, only 360 voted in the Congressional primary. About 11% of the primary voters cast a ballot in the local state rep race and declined to vote in the U.S. Rep race.

2002 saw a primary in the reconfigured 16th rep district which is comprised of parts of the New Castle area and the Southbridge section of Wilmington. Former State Rep Herman Hollway, Jr attempted to unseat incumbent Bill Houghton and only lost by 30 votes in a contest that drew 1,696 votes. The U.S. Representative race only drew 1,420 votes for a voter dropoff at the top of the ballot of about 16% or 276 votes,There were 7,645 registered Democrats in 2002,so turnout was 18% for the U.S. Rep race with a 22% turnout in the state rep race.

In 2004 long time labor union activist James "JJ" Johnson won the 16th primary against Holloway,following Houghton's retirement.Johnson did not face a primary in 2006 and it appears the lack of a local primary impacted overall turnout.503 of 8,255 registered Democrats (6.09%) voted in 2006 in the 16th district. 455 of them voted in the U.S. Representative race which had fewer votes than the Register of Wills contest which drew 486 votes.

John Viola, state rep in the 26th rep district, did not have a primary in 2002. 153 votes were cast in the U.S. Representative primary that year. There were 5,842 registered Democrats in 2002,so the 153 votes would be about a 2.0% turnout. Viola had a primary in 2006 and won it 381-270 over Charles Tucker. While 651 people cast ballots in the state rep race, only 593 voted in the U.S. Representative race or a 8% drop off. 655 out of 6,276 (10.44%) voted, but only 4 of them did not vote in the state rep race .601 votes were cast in the Register of Wills race in the 26th, 8 more than the Congressional primary.

These examples would seem to indicate that the 8th,9th, 24th and 27th which have not held Democratic state rep primaries in recent years could easily see a doubling of the usual Democratic primary voter turnout in 2010 and that the state rep races might be more the beneficiary of the turnout than the countywide and statewide primaries. It also appears possible that more votes could be cast in the New Castle County Sheriff’s race than the State Treasurer’s race and Auditor’s race ,since in two of these three examples the Register of Wills drew more votes than the U.S. Representative race. Maybe this is more proof that “all politics is local”.

Here is a link to start with to research past primaries:

Here are specific links for the races discussed:

The New Castle County Board of Elections website does not offer voter registration figures for 2002, so the numbers used are the general election number from the 2002 Age,Party, Group report from the Delaware State Elections Commissioner’s website. The number used may not be exactly how many voters were registered on primary day since the general election is two months after the primary, but I believe it is fairly close and is the best available figure I could find on the web at this time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

City Impact may be lessened in state/county primaries due to lack of local primaries and contests involving two elected officials

Traditionally, the City of Wilmington, where the Democratic primary is often the deciding election, has enough registered Democrats and higher percentage points in turnout than suburban and rural areas to be a major deciding factor in statewide Delaware Democratic primaries and countywide primaries in New Castle County.

Wilmington will definitely be a factor in the 2010 statewide and countywide primaries,but I think it's impact will be lessened due to fewer primaries in the state legislative districts that have a city resident as a representative ( State Representative Districts 1-4) . The only state senate seat on the 2010 ballot with a city resident as incumbent, the 1st state senate district, has Harris McDowell running unopposed. In the 1st and 4th district Dennis Williams and Gerald Brady are each unopposed. Incumbent Hazel Plant is being opposed in the 2nd district by city council member, Stephanie Boulden and in the 3rd district incumbent Helene Keeley faces Robert Bovell in a rematch of their 2006 contest in which she won 600-413.

In 2006 each of these four representative districts had a primary for state representative .The 1st State Senate district which includes 7 election districts in the 1st ,2 election districts in the 3rd and 7 election districts in the 4th also had a primary. Harris McDowell won with less than a majority in a four way race in which one of his opponents was city council member Charles Potter. Williams, Plant and Keeley each won in fields with no opponent with experience as an elected official and each won with 60+% of the vote. Brady, then serving as a district city council member, won in a three-way race in which his closest competitor was at-large council member Loretta Walsh ,who Brady beat by 70 votes.

In 2002 McDowell won a primary contest against Thornton Carroll with 63% of the vote. Williams beat former Wilmington police chief Charles Pratcher 1,423 to 540 and Keeley defeated challenger Linda Cannon 685-192. Hazel Plant ,in her first election contest since winning a special election in Jan 2001 and running in a district altered by the 2002 reapportionment, had a tougher 5 way race beating her closest rival,State Representative Arthur Scott, who lived in the same district following redistricting, by only 12 votes. Also among her opponents was former city council member Gary Hutt.

It is a small sample to draw a conclusion from ,but in looking at the turnout in the U. S . Representative Democratic primaries in 2002 and 2006 I am wondering if there might be a pattern impacting voter turnout.When two elected officials go head-to-head it seems to bump up turnout overall,although much of the turnout is focused on their race and not the whole ballot.

I noticed that in 2002 when Plant had two opponents who had successfully won election in the past, Scott and Hutt, voter turnout in the U.S. Representative race was 17% (1,292 out of 7,264 Democrats voted). 1,576 voted in the 2nd state rep race, 284 more than the Congressional primary which is about a 18% droppoff from state rep to U.S. Rep.

In 2006 when she defeated a community acitivist had never held public office , Don Farrell, the turnout in the U.S. Rep race was only 9% (773 voting out of 7,953 registered Democrats). 815 people voted in the Plant-Farrell primary.The 42 people who did not vote in the U.S. Rep,but did vote in the state rep race represents about a 5% dropoff.

In 2002 when there was no primary for state rep in the 4th rep district turnout in the U.S. House primary was 12 % ( 848 out of 6,762),but when Brady and Walsh , both sitting elected officials, faced off in 2006 turnout increased to 19% (1,344 of 6,780) in the Congressional primary. This was an increase of 496 votes cast even though there were only 18 more registered Democrats! The 4th state rep primary drew 1,486 votes cast,meaning about 9% of those who voted for state rep passed up voting in the Congressional race.

McDowell's 2002 race against Carroll only turned out 2,179 voters. In 2006 2,984 voters turned out in a race in which Councilman Charles Potter was his closest opponent by several hundred votes.This represented a 21% turnout (2,984 of 14,166 registered Democrats) in an election in which countywide Democratic turnout was 8.39%.13,734 Democrats voted countywide and 21% of them voted in this state senate race.I am thinking the fact that two sitting elected officials, with name recognition,organizations and experience running campaigns, were in the race had something to do with this turnout being out of proportion to the rest of the county.

If this theory has validity where it might show an impact is the 2nd rep district where some of people who have seen Plant & Boulden on the ballot multiple times may skip other races while voting in the state rep race. For the statewide and county row office candidates it may very well be not just a matter of getting people to polls,but giving people a reason to vote in their particular race.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Good Food,Reasonable Price, Great Cause

Viva Spaghetti!

The best you’ll ever taste . . .

Come to the 15th Annual Spaghetti Dinner of the 23rd RD
Democratic Committee and enjoy the best spaghetti and meatballs in Delaware – with salad, bread, drinks and dessert—for only $10.

door prizes!

live auction with products and services contributed by local businesses!!

special items from state leaders!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010, 5:30-9 PM
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road—Newark

Call 368-5626
for tickets and information
I usually don't promote events,but this is an event I have personally attended every year since 1999 except once and I have found it an enjoyable evening every time. The money raised has helped support candidates like Rep Terry Schooley , an outspoken advocate on children's issues & education issues, and Rep John Kowalko ,who has spoken out on those issues and increased the profile of issues such as affordable healthcare, wind power and an alternative vision for balancing the state budget. I think these are two capable legislators, whose styles differ --but who are both effectively serving the Newark area in the General Assembly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

US Census is Hiring, Here is some information

At the risk of being perceived as what News-Journal columnist Ralph Moyed used to describe as one of those Democrats who view government as one big employment agency, I wanted to share with readers an opportunity to serve your country and get paid which only comes along once every ten years.
The US Census is hiring and the website indicates they need hundreds of thousands of workers to do this monumental task that has an impact on the number of Congressional districts in states that have more than one and can impact future federal spending and other public policy decisions.

Here is some information about working at the census

and a toll-free number to get more information:

1-866-861-2010 .

Here is the site index which lists some of the job opportunities:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some numbers to consider as we look at the 2010 US Senate race for Delaware

Neither Mike Castle nor Chris Coons has ever lost an election.
They have only been on the ballot in the same election year twice, 2000 and 2004.
Since Coons has only run countywide in New Castle County, in this post I am looking only at election results for each of them in New Castle County only.

While it is noticeable that Castle won New Castle County by a wider margin each time, I think Coons may have faced tougher opponents in that Castagno had held elective office in the City of New Castle and Ramone is very committed to the process of being elected ,later running unsuccesfully for state senate and in 2008 was elected as state representative in the 21st district.

In each of these races about 4,000 more votes were cast for Congress than for the county race in which Coons was running. If those votes were cast and remained proportional to the votes cast in Coon's race that would have extended his margin somewhat.

Additionally, I think the more local the office the greater the chance of people abandoning party labels in certain instances. Otherwise it would not be possible for Dori Connor to continue to be re-elected as a Republican in a heavily Democratic state senate district and Republicans Terry Spence and Bill Oberle could not have held seats in districts with Democratic registration edges in the state house of Representatives for multiple decades each.

Total votes cast countywide 228,162

Total votes cast countywide 225,064
Total votes cast countywide 204,178

Total votes cast 200,512

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Book about Bloggers & the 2008 Presidential Election

I recently read "Bloggers on the Bus (How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press)" by Eric Boehlert and I think a lot of people who are interested in presidential campaigns and/or political blogs will find it a good read. It covers the impact of the blogs on the 2008 presidential election with the bulk of the emphasis on the primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Writers from blogs that get national attention like Huffington Post & Daily Kos are interviewed ,along with some blogs that get less media atttention . Boehlert also has comments from various campaigns about the impact of blogs and the tone that some of the blogs injected into the campaign,sometimes ramping up passion beyond the point of civil discourse --according to some of the commenters.

This book discussed the reality that politics is about issues, but also about relationships and how commentary that is too incendiary may disrupt relationships to the point that the level of discourse overshadows the issues that people claim they wish to discuss. I am not sure every reader will come away with that observation,but that is what I found.

My goal here is just to bring attention to a book I found to be a worthwhile read.

I am not a book reviewer ,so I have provided some links to people who are.

Here is a book review by the American Journalism Review:

Here is a link to an interview with Boehlert done by Mother Jones:

Here is a link to a interview with Boehlert done Salon.Com:

It is available in the New Castle County Public Library system.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some parameters of possible voter turnout in the 2010 statewide Democratic primary Delaware

The numbers below give a rough idea of what the number of voters will be at various percentages of the number of registered Democrats as of 1-1-2010. Since no race appears (at this stage in the campaign season) to be drawing anywhere near the voter attention of the 2008 Governor primary or the 2008 presidential primary, I have not done the numbers beyond 25%.

I assume the actual turnout is likely to be between 7-10%, unless the current statewide campaigns with potential Democratic primaries generate a higher public profile.

Turnout is not stable across legislative district lines. 13,734 (8.39% turnout) voted across New Castle County in 2006, the year I think makes the best comparison of the least four election cycles. 2004 & 2008 had more offices up, particularly in New Castle County which saw countywide primaries in each of those years for County Executive and County Council President. 2002 was the first year after reapportionment which created the possibility of more local primaries.

Of the 13, 734 voters who turned out in New Castle , only 12,405 voted in the Congressional primary which confirms that many voters are brought out by the local races. New Castle County represented 12,405 of the 15,768 Democrats who voted in the Congressional race or 78.7% of the turnout.

There are 27 state representative districts in New Castle County. None of those without a local state rep district had voter turnout higher than 8.2% in 2006. None of the 8 representative districts that had a state rep primary had turnout lower than 10% .Two districts , the 1st & 4th rep districts which each had a primary and also shared the overlapping primary of the 1st state senate district, each had turnout over 20% and were the only districts in New Castle County to have turnout above 15%. These districts combined for a total turnout of 3406 (1,890 in the 1st Rep Dist and 1,516 in the 4th Rep Dist or 24.8% of total turnout of Democrats countywide.

These numbers don't tell exactly what total turnout will be or exactly where it will come from,but I am guessing at the 7-10% turnout range with a disproportionate percentage coming from the rep districts where there is a local primary.

Democratic registration as of 1-1-2010:
8% turnout of 287,821=23,056 voters
10% turnout of 287,821=28,782 voters
15% turnout of 287,821=43,173 voters
20% turnout of 287,821=57,564 voters
25% turnout of 287,821=71955 voters


US Rep------64,997


Ins Comm---66,062



Presidential primary--94,673



US Rep----15,000



Ins Comm-31,799



Presidential primary----33,291



US Rep---17,223


Election tunrout reults are the State Election Commisioner's website:

and the New Castle County Board of Elections website:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Delaware supports Obama-Biden which makes Ted Kaufman a good fit as Senator

In yesterday's News-Journal several paragraphs into a story about US Representative Mike Castle's voting record, I noticed a number that made me curious. I think Kaufman's near 100% support of President Obama's proposals confirms that Ted Kaufman, whose appointment in 2009 to fill the US Senate seat vacated by newly elected Vice-President Joseph Biden generated some publicity over a process he had no control over, has turned out to represent the views of Delawareans well. I could not find polls on line that specifically state Obama's current approval in Delaware,but I think some realistic assumptions can be made from looking at national polls and recent election results.

From yesterday's News-Journal:
Castle opposed the majority of his party (Republican) more often than his Delaware counterparts in the Senate.
Democratic Sen. Tom Carper voted with the majority of his party 93 percent of the time and with the president's position 97 percent of the time, according to the CQ study. Kaufman voted with most other Democrats 98 percent of the time and with the president's position 98.7 percent of the time.
Kaufman's single vote against Obama's position came in favor of a measure barring the use of federal funds to move detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States.

In 2008 Delaware supported the Obama-Biden national ticket with 61.9% of the vote and Joe Biden's re-election bid for U S Senate with 64.7% of the vote.

Nationally , Obama's approval rating has decreased from 69% in Feb 2009 to about 50% in Dec2009, according to Gallop Polls:

Here is a link to RealClear Politics with information from other polling organizations that find Obama's current approval within a few points of a 50% as well:

NPR reports that nationally Obama got 52.7% of the vote to McCain's 45.9% of the vote in the 2008 presidential election.

This would seem to indicate that nationally Obama went from 52.7% of the actual votes cast to 50% approval rating, a decrease of between 2-3% in public support.
Even if Delaware's dip in support was double the national average (which is unlikely in a state with 97,000 more Democrats than Republicans in which the Democrats control of both houses of the state legislature and hold 7 of 9 statewide elected offices), Obama would still retain 55.9% support of Delawareans (61.9-6=55.9).

It is highly possible Obama's support in Delaware may be even higher than the national average.I think many Delawareans of all political persuasions do not want to see failure in an administration which includes the first vice-president from Delaware.

Whatever the exact number is for Delaware, I am pretty sure it would be over 50 % which would mean Ted Kaufman's support for the Obama agenda places his actions well within the parameters of the wishes of the majority of the Delawareans he serves.

Voter registration figures are as of 1-1-2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Some news items of note as 2009 ends

Four items from 2009 stuck out to me as underrepresented in the media end of year wrapups,so here they are.

(1)RIP-Dennis Brutus

The South African anti-apartheid activist and poet died in Dec 2009 at the age of 85. His activism landed him a prison sentence in Robben Island prison and into exile for for several years. While less known than Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, he was an active participant in the struggles to end apartheid in South Africa.

He was also a teacher and poet for decades.

My favorite poem by him was a haiku:

"The mirror reflects, the viewer sets the angle"

Here is a link to the Washington Post obituary for Dennis Brutus:

(2) 20 year anniversary of Tiananmen Square

At the time I viewed this as a clear cut democracy movement attempting to move China towards a Western style democracy. The more I read the more nuanced it appears to have been. Whatever the motives of the demonstrators, the reality is the demonstrations resulted in the toppling of the General Secretary viewed as too liberal in his treatment of the demonstrators, Zhao Ziyang, and the ascendency of the more hard line Li Peng,who had succeeded Zhao Ziyang as premier.

While there were certainly many seeking a more democratic society in China, behind the scenes it appears some party members were angling to line up behind whoever they perceived would be the ultimate winners in an internal Communist Party power struggle.
Since many of the principal players in the demonstrations were in their early 20s in 1989 and are still young enough to have many more productive years, it will be interesting to see if they are able to impact China's future as leadership in China changes over coming decades.

Some books that shed light on China over the last 30 years:

***Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang

Zhao Ziyang served in multiple postions withing China over several decades ,but was unseated as Premier for what the inner circle of the Chinese Communist Party perceived too soft a stance in dealing with the protesters at Tiananmen Square. He spent the last several years of his life under house arrest.

***Tiananmen Moon:Inside the Chinese Student Uprising of 1989 by Philip J Cunningham

Cunningham , an American who lived & studied for years in China, served as translator for the BBC and other media outlets during the uprising and interacted with several of the student leaders extensively during the uprising. He raises serious questions about how the students were able to conduct themsleves as freely as they did at Tiananmen Square for as long as they did (several weeks) without some level of support within the upper reaches of party circles.

***The Man on Mao's Right: From Harvard Yard to Tiananmen Square,My Life inside China's Foreign Ministry by Ji Chaozhu

Ji Chaozhu , who grew up in the U.S. after his family left China in the 1930s, returned to China as an adult and worked his way from serving as Chou En Lai's interpreter to serving as an ambassador. He was retired by the time of the Tiananmen Square uprising ,but witnessed some of it and at the time pondered whether it might have been an omen of another Cultural Revolution to come--- which did not take place after Tiananmen.

(3) mininum wage decrease in Colorado first decrease since 1938

While it does not impact a majority of workers and may only come to a loss of less than $100 a year for the workers it does impact, the decrease in the minimum wage seems another step in the race to the bottom economically. It lowers the economic floor for entry level and unskilled jobs which could ultimately have an impact on the wages all workers can expect.

Effective Jan 1,2010 the minimum wage goes down from $7.28 an hour to $7.24 an hour.
$7.24 an hour times 40 hours a week equals $289.69 a week. If paid weekly we can multiply by 4.33 (which takes into account the occasional 5th pay) to get monthly gross $1,253.97 which translates to $15,047.62 annual gross income. This is about $500 above the 2009 poverty income guidelines for two people of $14,570. This is awful close to the economic edge if you are a single parent or a couple in which one person can not find work or is not able to work ,but can't get disability payments.
I understand the minimum wage in Colorado is linked to the inflation rate,but at $7.28 an hour a household was not exactly living with much of a cushion to absorb a medical catastrophe or a cold spell in the winter that drives up the need for heat or a hot spell in the summer that may create a situation in which air conditioning is not a convenience,but a life-saver.

This is a link to the Colorado State Labor Department:

Here is a link to the 2009 poverty guidelines from the US Health & Human Services administration:

(4) No Cost Of Living Adjustment for Social Security recipients for first time since1975.

The lack of a Soc Sec COLA is also linked to the economy as consumer prices have dropped, particularly energy expenses. The AARP notes that ,although overall consumer expenses have decreased, medical related expenses which may disproportionately impact Soc Sec recipients have continued to increase at a rate well above the inflation rate.

The AARP points out that the average Soc Sec monthly check is $1,094.

Here is the press release from Soc Sec about this:

Here is an article from AARP about how no COLA may impact seniors: