Urban Election Analysis

Plastered across the front page of the TU and transmitted across the local broadcast spectrum is this astounding news:

Incumbents Romp to Victory!

I understand the necessity of reporting results, and I am thankful for the service, but it ain’t news to me or anyone. What then might be noteworthy about the results? A few of the devils in these details: Election results

What I find most striking is Sheriff’s claim of a mandate and an endorsement of his current policies. 60.26% of the vote is undeniably a resounding endorsement. But it is hardly the mandate he received in 2003 to continue in the well traveled footsteps of Nat Glover.

In 2003, Sheriff won 73% of the vote. He defeated his combined opponents in the First Election by a remarkable 46.14%. Against the combined efforts of Dan and Rey he won by 20.52%. Is that less than half a mandate? In fact, half a percent (589 voters) decided to forgo voting in the mayoral race altogether but considered the sheriffs race essential.

I wonder which way they voted. Considering the margin at the top of the ticket (52.46%), among other notorious statistics, it seems that the sheriff has some ground to make up in the community before he can claim a powerful mandate.

Ah Yes, on to the top of the ticket. Boy Wonder vs. Aunt Jemima. No surprises there. Unless you consider the 24,423 votes cast for a candidate without essential experience, a campaign with no effective message a suprise. Many will suggest that the African American community accounts for this number. Without precinct statistics available it is difficult to analyze this claim.

Considering the establishment’s faith-based loyalist and the insular black leadership in Jacksonville it is difficult to attribute this protest vote entirely to the organized African American community.

A likely dynamic was the long ago decided outcome of this race. Dissatisfied voters (and the “stick it to the man” constituency) could rest assured that a protest would be of little consequence. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps not. Let’s bring it together in City Council Group 2 (at-large.)

Bobby and James are currently separated by only 238 votes. James to the good. James lost his last election by 98 votes. The last competitive At-large seat on the Council was decided by 2145 votes. Both of these elections had hotly contested county wide elections driving turnout. On May 15th the sole county wide election on the ballot will be the Group 2 Council Seat. With diminishing turnout every vote will acquire more influence. That 24,423-protest vote becomes significant. So do the recalcitrant sheriff 589.

Conventional wisdom suggest that Terry voters will flip to the Republican and give James an easy victory. And Duval elections are nothing if not exemplars of conventional wisdom.

However, might the details above suggest that Bobby has a chance? A Democrat? In Jacksonville! A Democrat has not held an at-large seat on the Council since 1999. History suggests that Miles will have the vaunted Republican ground game in classic form. And they certainly have home field advantage. Do the numbers point to an exploitable weakness in the establishment machine? Unlikely. However, Miles might just have an “end around” up his sleeve. In order to win he must:

  • produce his contingent
  • find and mobilize some of Jane’s voters
  • rustle up some of those Sheriff deserters
  • convince some margin of the Terry contingent to give him a shot
  • exploit whatever opportunity he might find among the rest of the district races(Jakes’ grassroots mavericks come to mind)….

Well, that all sounds more like a hail mary. Anyway folks. We might just have a game on our hands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *