# Local Elections

Special election results thread (updated)

The People’s Republic of Johnson County will come through for Democrat Janelle Rettig in today’s special election for county supervisor, if the early vote figures are any guide. John Deeth posted more turnout data today.

I wish I had a better feeling about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The impressive GOTV effort of the past few days probably won’t be enough to save Democrat Martha Coakley, unless almost every pollster was working from a very flawed turnout model. Coakley apparently only held 19 campaign events in the 40 days since the primary. You can’t take anything for granted in politics, especially when unemployment is above 10 percent.

Some “senior Democrats” didn’t have the decency to wait until polls closed before giving journalists blind quotes on who’s to blame for the debacle.

On the optimistic side, former aide to Senator Ted Kennedy thinks Coakley will pull through and explains why using numbers from past Massachusetts elections.

At Swing State Project, Crisitunity posted a very helpful map with “town benchmarks,” indicating how many votes Coakley needs in various towns to win a plurality statewide.

At the Blue Mass Group blog, Hoyapaul posted “town by town bellwethers and what to watch for on Tuesday.”

I’ll update this post later as results come in.

UPDATE: Things are looking grim for Coakley with about half the votes counted. She is underperforming in most towns that have reported and not winning the Boston precincts by large enough margins.

Turnout was higher than expected, which in some ways is even more depressing. When Scott Brown got close in the polls, I assumed Coakley would win easily once Democrats became aware that this was a real race. Instead, Brown surged into the lead despite an onslaught of ads and direct mail from Democrats. There is plenty of blame to go around. Coakley ran a horrendous campaign, but the Obama administration hasn’t handled economic and health care policy well these past several months. The DSCC ads don’t seem to have helped either–stale negative attacks.

SECOND UPDATE: Coakley has conceded. Many post-mortems to come, and Peter Daou’s is worth a read.

FINAL UPDATE: Rettig won big in Johnson County; read Deeth for details. Republican Lori Cardella won’t have a supervisor’s seat to distract her from helping Chris Reed’s campaign in Iowa’s second Congressional district.

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I've posted links to Bleeding Heartland's coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor's race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

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Runoff local election results thread

Many Iowa communities held runoff local elections today. The highest-profile races are for two Des Moines City Council seats. Skip Moore and Leisha Barcus face off for the at-large seat vacated earlier this year by Michael Kiernan. On November 3 Barcus edged Moore by 32 percent to 30 percent, but this is anybody’s race. In recent days Mayor Frank Cownie endorsed Moore, who was already backed by many area labor unions. That should help him in a low-turnout environment. On the other hand, Barcus had the Des Moines Register’s endorsement and may have an advantage with west-side residents who voted for David Adelman on November 3.

Neither Barcus nor Moore lives in Des Moines’ first ward, where turnout is likely to be higher than in the city as a whole. In Ward 1, 20-year incumbent Tom Vlassis faces Drake University Law School student Halley Griess. I don’t envy the voters who faced this choice. Vlassis was knee-deep in the CIETC scandal and should have stepped down rather than run for a fifth term. Technically, city council elections are non-partisan, but it would have been nice to have a different Democrat on the ballot against Griess. I voted for two Republicans in Windsor Heights this year, but Griess seems like a real right-winger.

Turnout was relatively high (over 20 percent) for the Windsor Heights runoff, where four candidates compete for two at-large City Council seats. Only about 30 votes separated Betty Glover, Flo Hunter, Carole Tillotson and David Jenison on November 3. When Mr. desmoinesdem voted a little after 5 pm, he cast ballot number 271 in our precinct, which has about 1,200 registered voters. I expect this race to be decided by a handful of votes, so I’ve been making reminder calls the last few days to people who might not know about the candidates or remember the runoff date.

I’ll update this post later as results come in from the Des Moines area. Please post a comment about local election results in your corner of the state.

UPDATE: Preliminary results from the Polk County Auditor’s office: Moore defeated Barcus, 52 percent to 47 percent. Griess defeated Vlassis, 51 percent to 48.5 percent. If Griess becomes a rising Republican star, just remember that it could have been avoided if some people had talked Vlassis into retiring.

In West Des Moines Ward 1, Kevin Trevillyan defeated incumbent Robert Parks, 53 percent to 47 percent.

In Windsor Heights, incumbents Hunter and Tillotson were narrowly reelected. CORRECTION: Challengers Glover and Jenison won this election. I did not realize there was a precinct still to be counted in Windsor Heights when I wrote this last night. Glover and Jenison slightly increased their raw vote totals from November 3 to yesterday, which is remarkable. Typically turnout is significantly lower for a runoff.

SECOND UPDATE: The Cedar Rapids Gazette has results from two runoffs for City Council. Don Karr defeated Aaron Saylor, and Pat Shey defeated Jerry McGrane.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Des Moines Register explains how Moore won:

Moore won every precinct in northeast side Ward 2, where he lives, and handily won Ward 4 on the southeast side. Barcus ran strongest in southwest Des Moines’ Ward 3, and she held off Moore in Ward 1, where she captured roughly 57.5 percent of the vote.

However, there was a significant drop-off in voters in Ward 3, which hurt Barcus.

In a low-turnout election, it’s critical to turn out your base supporters.

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Election results discussion thread

I'll update this thread periodically tonight, but please post comments about any local election results in your corner of Iowa.

I have a feeling the incumbents will lose in Windsor Heights; Mr. desmoinesdem says unusually high turnout is often a sign of anti-incumbent sentiment.

The Virginia governor's race has already been called for Republican Bob McDonnell.

Adam Bink is liveblogging the results from Maine on Proposition 1 and is very optimistic.

New Jersey is too close to call. Swing State Project posted 2008 NJ results by county and projected how well Governor Jon Corzine has to do in each county in order to pull through tonight. Exit polls suggest Republican Chris Christie won independents, but more women than men voted overall, which would be good for Corzine. Turnout in Democratic stronghold Hudson County (Newark) is quite a bit down from last year. Still not clear what percentage of voters cast early ballots. The New Jersey Democratic Party did a big absentee ballot push, but Republicans did not. That strategy has paid off for Iowa Democrats, but will it be enough for Corzine?

(updates moved after the jump)

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Election day open thread

This thread is for any comments or predictions about any election happening today. I expect turnout in Windsor Heights to be relatively high for a local election; this is the most competitive race for mayor and city council that I can remember. I’ve received GOTV calls on behalf of several candidates.

The Virginia governor’s race looks like a blowout for Republican Bob McDonnell. The conservative Creigh Deeds won the primary on an electability argument, but we might have been better off with a candidate who excited the Democratic base more. Probably we would have lost the governor’s race, but with less damage done down-ticket.

The New Jersey governor’s race is a dead heat according to the Pollster.com polling average, but my hunch is that Republican Chris Christie is going to pull out a narrow win. The independent candidate, Chris Daggett, will be buried way down the ballot with a bunch of no-hopers, and I feel that a lot of his leaners will land with Christie when the ballot is in front of them. Given where the race stood in the summer, it’s a miracle that Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine has any prayer of pulling this out in the middle of a severe recession.

Mark “mystery pollster Blumenthal and Chris Bowers also give a slight edge to Christie in this race.

I am cautiously optimistic about no winning the Prop 1 battle in Maine, although the most recent poll of that race showed the yes position ahead. A “yes” vote would overturn same-sex marriage rights, which the Maine legislature approved and the governor signed into law earlier this year. The No on 1 forces have a strong ground game and appear to have banked a lot of early votes there. The main problem is that younger voters are less likely to turn out for an off-year election, and older voters are less likely to support marriage equality. Adam Bink reports from the ground:

The field team is firing on all cylinders. Biggest concern is youth turnout in off-year. In 2005, an anti-discrimination ballot initiative went our way and we had one campus field organizer for the whole state. This year we have nine. But the numbers are tight as hell, and if turnout is like a normal election year, we’ll lose. Everyone is saying we have to execute a flawless [GOTV] program.

New York’s 23rd district will be an easy win for conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, who forced moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race over the weekend. Although Scozzafava endorsed Democrat Bill Owens and recorded a robocall on his behalf, this district just has too strong a Republican lean for a Democrat to win, in my opinion.

Looking on the bright side, the parade of national Republican politicians and commentators behind Hoffman will crush future GOP recruiting efforts in districts where they need moderates to win. There could be no clearer sign that moderates are unwelcome in the Republican Party. I expect the fallout to affect recruiting for state-level races as well as Congressional ones.

What do you think about any of these races, or local elections in your community?

UPDATE: Unusually heavy turnout (for a local election) in Windsor Heights today. I voted around 3:15 and was voter number 241. An election worker told me there are 1,211 registered voters in my precinct, so even before the after-work rush, turnout was above 20 percent.  

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