Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Late Night Number Cruncher

The Late Night Number Cruncher

My big number of the night is 4,832 to 4,115 - that's Republicans vs. Democrats voting in Johnson County. First time ever that, with contested races in both parties, more R's than D's voted in a primary. Even in the 1994 Gopher primary, a supervisor race meant more Democratic ballots than Republican.

That 4832 is second highest GOP turnout, way ahead of 2002 (when the Dems had no contests at all) and trailing only `94. To generalze, Iowa City was slightly Democratic, Coralvilel slightly Republican and the rurals two to one Republican.

Of course, this may be because the Democratic contests were such blowouts. I was privately hoping for 2/3 or even 70 for Roxanne Conlin, but as I write she's at 77 percent statewide (here's the Register's numbers mothership and the Secretary of State's and local.), with 80% in Johnson.

In a blowout that big it's hard to find any patterns. Bob Krause finished with 13 percent and Tom Fiegen pulled 9; seems like the undecideds almost all broke to Roxanne. Fiegen carried his home base of Cedar County, and Krause pulled a third of the vote in his current Fairfield turf and his old Kossuth base, but other than that it was high 60s to 80s for Roxanne everywhere. Locally Conlin won every precinct except for one low turnout 3-3 tie.

At least Bob Krause came in ahead of the embittered Fiegen, who took one last parting shot:
Shortly after 11 p.m., Fiegen said he will not endorse Conlin.

But Krause, who finished in second place, threw his support behind her.

“She ran a dynamic campaign,” Krause said during his after-vote party, with about a dozen supporters, at Star Bar in Des Moines. “She is the nominee and I wish her well on pulling the plug on Charles Grassley.”

The only other Johnson County contested race was an even bigger blowout as Dave Jacoby scored an 88-12 win over the bizarre drop out than back in challenge from John Stellmach. Dave was one of several Democratic legislators to swat away weird challenges: Ako Abdul-Samad with 75% over a religious conservative (in a Dem primary?!?) who thinks the texting ban is racist; Mary Gaskill in Ottumwa with 82% in over a former county supervisor: Charlie Isenhart in Dubuque with 86% over a student who didn't seem to know better.

But the biggest winner of all was Anesa Kajtazovic in Waterloo, who has to have set some kind of all-time record for biggest margin over an incumbent with a 91% win over the dropped out, indicted, but still technically in office Kerry Burt.

The other legislative incumbent knocked off tonight was Republican Dave Hartsuch in Bettendorf's Senate District 41, whose controversial and never quiet tenure comes to an end: a narrow primary win over class act Maggie Tinsman, a squeaker general election in a safe GOP district, a severe congresional thumping at the hands of Bruce Braley, and now knocked off.

A few things surprised me: MMM winning a majority in the 2nd CD primary and Brad Zaun getting a 42% clean win in the 3rd. Everyone expected the seven-way 3rd CD race to go to convention, but it turns out that only three candidates were serious. One of the night's big losers: the NRCC crowd who got behind Jim Gibbons in the 3rd and Rob Gettemy in the 2nd (Gettemy actually finished DEAD LAST behind REED.) Coralville Courier (Rathje backers) is not happy with MMM using terms like RINO and "Setting themselves up for failure in the November election."

But an even bigger surprise is the GOP Secretary of State race. Can anyone explain how Bake Sale Chris Sanger, who's spent the better part of the decade hopping around legislative districts in Polk County hoping to win somewhere, anywhere, managed to get 26% of the vote and come in just a beard hair behind George Eichhorn? Eye Corn has now lost four contests in a row in just three cycles, and I don't see how anyone who lost to Chris Reed and damn near lost to Chris Sanger has any sort of future. And Matt Schultz: That 47% doesn't look too impressive. A majority of GOP voters picked the four time loser and the crazy baker?!?

Another numeric factoid: nearly a quarter of 1st CD Republicans voted for one of the two dropout candidates.

And oh, yes, the centerpiece of the night. In the governor's race the Money Republicans beat the Jesus Republicans. Perhaps the Vander Plaats ceiling is a little above 30%, and perhaps some of the Rod Roberts folks moved to him at end game once polls showed Roberts had no hope (except in Carroll County where home town pride got him 74%). But Branstad has emerged with his clear majority which was the conventional wisdom benchmark of success.

Vander Plaats get's one of the night's graceless awards for suggesting he needs to somehow "negotiate" his support of Branstad. Hey, Bob. You LOST. It looks like ego. The real question is whether Danny Carroll and company will do as promised and sit on their hands. My guess is no, the desire to knock off Chet is too great.

Speaking of which, looks like nearly 4% took the trouble to write someone in against him, vs. 1.9% write-ins against Chuck Grassley. At the moment Culver has barely more votes than Mike Mauro and fewer than Tom Miller and Mike Fitzgerald.

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