Saturday, September 8, 2012

"Whoever wins the city, wins the (countywide) race"-no guarantee there

New Castle County Council member Jea Street was quoted in the August 9, 2012 News-Journal article about the City of Wilmington's impact on the New Castle County Executive's contest as saying "Whoever wins the city, wins the race". The quote seems to imply that it is possible for a  countywide contestant to win the City of Wilmington by such a large margin that the candidate could afford to lose suburban and rural New Castle County and still win countywide.

While it is theoretically possible since Wilmington counted for 22% of the countywide vote in 2004 and 29% of the countywide vote in 2008 in those County Executive races, the lead exiting the city limits would need to be thousands  of votes if the candidate lost outside the City by even a few percentage points.

The example quoted in the News-Journal from City Democratic Chair, Mark Murowany, had the city supplying 11,000 votes of 30,000-33,000 cast countywide in 2012.

If candidate A wins the 7260 of 11,000 votes cast in the City of Wilmington or 66%, he leads by 3740 votes before suburban & rural votes are counted. Candidate B can win the suburban-rural area which supplies 78% of the total votes  with only  59%  (13,000 to 9,000 for a 4000 vote majority outside the City) and still win by 260 votes countywide.  Because there are so many more many registered Democrats outside the City of Wilmington within New Castle County, Candidate B wins where he or she wins by 7% points less than Candidate A wins by in the area where Candidate A wins, and Candidate B stills wins overall.

If you are thinking this is an abstract concept look at three primaries in the last 8 years for actual application.


Chip Flowers won the statewide State Treasurer’s primary in 2010 18,841 to 15,880 and also got more votes than Velda Jones Potter in New Castle County as a whole, including the City of Wilmington (12,300 to 11,468),but Flowers lost in the City of Wilmington 3,658 to 2,089  (64%-46%)  .
Jack Markell   won the statewide  primary in 2008 for Governor 37,849 to 36,112 and also got more votes than  John Carney in New Castle County as a whole, including the City of Wilmington (25,355 to 25,304),but  Markell lost in the City of Wilmington  6,452 to 4,475 (59% -41%).
In what seem to be a more comparable race to the 2012 County Executive race since it involved more than two candidates and was a countywide race, the 2004 primary for New Castle County Council President  is another example of a candidate getting trounced in the City of Wilmington and still winning countywide. Paul Clark lost about 3-1 to Penrose Hollins and still won countywide by 154 votes. Here are the numbers for City of Wilmington votes broken down by Rep District and only include polling places within the city of Wilmington since some Rep Districts had some  polling places in the city and some in the suburbs.

1st Rep District --Hollins 1725--Clark 259-Kempski 178
2nd Rep District--Hollins 1086-Clark-299-Kempski280
3rdRepDistrict--Hollins 882---Clark 329-Kempski 219
4th RepDistrict-Hollins 609--Clark 548--Kempski272
13thRepDistrict-Hollins 24--Clark 17--Kempski  16
16th Rep District-Hollins123--Clark 31-Kempski 16
Citywide--------Hollins 4449--Clark 1483--Kempski 981-total 6913
Citywide%----Hollins 64.4%--Clark 21.5%-Kempski 14.1%
Suburban NCC-Hollins 5489-Clark 8609-Kempski 4731-total 18829
SuburbanNCC%-Hollins 29.2%--Clark 45.7%--Kempski 25.1%
Countywide-Hollins 9,938--Clark 10,092--Kempski 5,712--total 25,742
Countywide %--Hollins 38.6%--Clark 39.2%--Kempski 22.2%

These examples don't rule out the possibility of "whoever wins the city, wins the race",but they do indicate it is not a guarantee.  

No comments: