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: