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: