Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Abbreviated Analysis

Well, now I'm at least on speaking terms with TWO Iowa City council members.

I'm still too bitter to look too closely at the 21 bar numbers and in landslides there's not much to gain from looking at them. Most of my thoughts are in last night's post, most of which I wrote about six days before the election.

(Side note on positive change in county government: my pieces would not have run in print, and Kingsley Botchway's candidacy would not even have happened, a year ago.)

I knew 19 was going to lose about two hours into the first satellite site, when the student turnout wasn't materializing. Just a steady shift: townie precincts that were in the 50s and 60s for 21 in 2007 were in the 60s and 70s in 2010 and in the 70s and 80s yesterday.

Watch for George Wittgraf and the Union Bar to get "randomly" checked more than random chance would predict. The last guy who fought this fight was Mike Porter and he got driven out of business and out of town.

So on to the council races. All the at large percentages look low because of heavy under-voting by students. Haven't had time to crunch those stats yet. Susan Mims inoffensively finished first and carried most of the outlying precincts, though not with the near-consensus numbers Matt Hayek got two years ago.

Kingsley Botchway was closer to Mims in first than to Champion in third, falling just 111 votes short of a number one finish. Kingsley won big in the core liberal/progressive areas on the north and near east side - precincts 17, 18 and 21 - and also carried precinct 13 on the near west and, the biggest surprise, east side precinct 6 which includes some big senior complexes. Still not my dream of an undergrad on the council, but at 28 Botchway is the youngest winner since David Perret, who won the first of two terms at age 26 in 1975..

Who were the 900 people who voted for Kingsley Botchway but not Rockne Cole? Hard to say; my guesses are 1) Kingsley picked up a fair number of second votes from Mims voters and 2) Kingsley had a bigger purely personal constituency that brought in new voters while Cole's personal base of support overlapped a lot with the traditional every election progressive voters.

Cole finished first in a handful of negligible turnout student precincts. Still, he earned more votes in fourth place than second place winner Michelle Payne got two years ago.

Despite finishing last, Cole comes out of this election with name ID and a respectable result, positioning himself well for the future. UPDATE: Cole tells Facebook friends: "Hang onto those sunflower yard signs!! You'll need them again in 18 months. We're starting early next time!"

The same can't be said for third place Catherine Champion, who finished ahead of Cole but is the biggest loser. Her best shot was this handoff attempt from Mom (remember: Connie almost lost in 2009) combined with the townie pro-21 vote. Likewise, Cole would have fared better without the 21 vote.

The pattern appears to to be Champion steadily 5, 20, 30 votes below Mims everywhere. She finished first only in the south side precinct 10.

In the District B race, Terry Dickens ran up huge scores on the east and far west side, peaking at 77% at Weber, 75% at St. Pats and 74 at Lemme. He'll feel validated and settle back in to his role as curmudgeon of the council, maybe even more so with Champion Sr. gone, a Dean Thornberry for the 21st Century.

Royceann Porter won the liberal precincts, 17 18 and 21, and the Twain area. She ran almost 1000 votes below Botchway, another indication that Kingsley has a big personal constituency even though Porter made great efforts to include the unincluded. She's helped lay groundwork for someone else in the future. Again, higher turnout this year meant Porterwon nearly as many votes as Payne won in 2011.

What does this mean for the council? No progressive sweep so no Mayor Throgmorton, but  we're swapping Connie Champion for Kingsley Botchway and that's at least an incremental improvement. Not enough to shift a majority but enough to shift the discussion. It's also a personal tie between city and county government which at least opens the lines of communication.

Coralville has mostly been written elsewhere: the backlash to the outside money, the congratulatory calls from Joe Biden. Note for people with love in their hearts for the Iowa caucuses: Joe Biden called Mayor-elect John Lundell, and two weeks ago called Brian Meyer after his legislative special election win. Hillary Clinton didn't.

The third place win for Laurie Goodrich, a long-time city staffer, tells me that Coralville Pride was the deciding factor. I thought the vote totals for the Americans For Prosperity slate would have been bunched closer together, but instead Mark Winckler ran well ahead of the other two.

University Heights may finally be settled. 2011 was a dead heat split decision in 2011, with a one vote margin for the last seat. This year the Build It Bigger side swept all five seats, knocking off three incumbents, and the winning margin on the last seat was 26 votes. Unbelievably, turnout increased yet again.

Two Republican legislative candidates lost city council seats last night. In Tiffin, Senate 39 candidate Royce Phillips finished a weak fifth of five, though I think Tiffin's internal politics had more to do with that than partisanship. In Muscatine, Mark LeRette, running for House District 91, lost his seat.

Close race of the night was Shueyville. With record turnout, Markus Cannon ousted mayor Bryan Bredman by two votes.

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