Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Primary Election Breakdown

The primaries are now in the books, and my wife owes Matt Richard an apology. You see, she was leaving town for work yesterday afternoon. I reminded her, several times, to go vote for the KIKS endorsed candidates, Mr. Richard being one. I spoke with her at around 5 last night, and asked her if she voted. Of course she hadn't. She assured me it wouldn't make a difference, and I told her that with the expected low turnout (I was pretty spot on with my "at best, just under 10%" prediction) that it might well matter. Of course, Mr. Richard was eliminated by one vote. Recount? Congrats to all who moved on to the general election.

My other predictions were as follows:

Predictions: All four incumbents finish in the top 4, with Lovely first, Sargent second, Pinto third, and Furey fourth. Teasie five again. Seniors love to vote and turnout elsewhere will be minimal. Carr sixth, Barcikowski seventh, Richard eighth. See ya later Matt Fraser and Ken Sawicki. That doesn't mean that I see the general election going remotely like this. I wouldn't be shocked if one of the incumbents falls in the general. Most likely candidates are Furey and Pinto. Most likely to make it from outside are Barcikowski on the strength of his campaign, and Carr on the strength of his name recognition and past service.

More predictions: My previous predictions will be nowhere near correct.

So I was correct about the incumbents finishing 1-4. I was right about Lovely first, and it was by a hefty enough margin that when it repeats in the general, it will send a message to any of the other councilors considering challenging her for mayor, if Kim decides this is her last term. Lovely also recently told the Snews that if Kim were out, she'd seriously consider running. So here's a prediction. Not sure when, but Joan Lovely is the next mayor. I know, way out on a limb there. Her challenger in that election? Matt Veno. Just a hunch. Anyway, I flubbed the order of the other incumbents. I had a bad feeling about it when I was driving around the polling places and Pinto had more than one sign holder at wards 1, 5, and 7. That said, the three remaining incumbents were separated by a whopping 36 votes. I overestimated Teasie. Her seventh place finish is a poor showing for a second-time candidated. I was correct that Carr would finish just ahead of Barcikowski. I had Fraser finishing 9th, with Richard 8th. I missed that by one vote (thanks dear). Unsurprisingly, Sawicki finished last as predicted.

So what do we learn from this, besides Lovely is a powerhouse? She is the only candidate who was named on a majority of the ballots cast, appearing on 54%. Jim Fleming, who just barely topped the school committee ticket, was selected on 35% of the ballots. People are happy with the status quo? Seems weird to me, but how do you argue with it? We also learn that Teasie's ship may have sailed. She finished more that 100 votes behind Kevin Carr, who is clearly the front runner to unseat one of the incumbents. I won't count Barcikowski and his extremely active campaigning out either. Honestly, the only one we can say is really safe is Lovely. We can also say that Matthew Fraser has basically no chance to win. He would need to quadruple his level of support to be a threat. You have to feel bad for Mark Lee, who finished behind "the homeless guy."

The other thing that we learned from this election is that Salemites are apathetic. Seriously? 8% participation? Do people just not care about prelims, where only 2 out of 10 will be eliminated? The participation was worst in the point. In ward 1, precinct 2, which is most of the point, and not much else, only 20 voters showed up. Why? Apathy? Hopelessness? Laziness? Is the Bentley School too far to go to vote? Should precinct two go back to voting at the senior housing building on Charter Street? How many of the 20 voters actually live in the Charter Street building, and not in the point? Was it less than 20 in the point? Doesn't this tell us, yet again, (sorry Misty) that pointers just don't give a crap? It can't be that they're happy with the status quo, right? Why isn't anyone talking about the numbers there? They stick out like a sore thumb. Is it that the powers that be don't want them voting?


  1. I was hoping to come in 5th. But given that top four spots went to incumbents and Carr's name recognition, I was satisfied with 6th and the proximity to Carr in numbers. Could have been a wider gap. I was somewhat disappointed that the need for change everyone in the city seems to be talking about was not reflected in the results. Perhaps some of the change proponents did not vote. Now one has to remember that out of the 8 who made it I am the only one who has never held or run for public office before. On top of that I have lived in Salem for a short time versus remainder of group. The numbers, for many, are a cumulative result of years or decades of public service; for me they are the results of 3 months’ worth of work. Our campaign strategy for primary was simple: build enough name recognition and momentum to make it through primary. Goal accomplished. Today we shift gears to our post primary strategy which not only sets out different goals but different means of accomplishing them. I really enjoy your analysis, feedback and commentary. You should have a column in the paper.. perhaps which one, you would ask...

  2. You're on the ballot. That's all you needed out of the primary. Keep working like you are. Make sure you're digging into the outer wards. Contact the neighborhood associations, Ask to meet with them. Your message is a good one.

  3. Hello Klassy, I think primaries without a mayor's race will forever be low turnout entities. Many people were against a 4 year term back when the charter was changed, and I feel it is becoming exactly what was feared.

    Yes, it does allow the mayor to focus more on the job, I grant that. But at what price? A sitting mayor can raise huge money for 4 years, which in effect makes it an 8 year term.

    One of the reasons the council would turn over every few years or so back then was because of the fact that most mayoral candidates come from a current seat on the council. If you want turnover, then this system in place now is not one that will produce it.

  4. It's a mixed blessing. I like having the mayor focused on the bigger picture. Mayors tend to be more tactical and focused on short-term bumps when they have a 2-year turnaround. It does increase the incumbency advantage, though.

    That said, we did a pretty good job of dumping the last two mayors when they messed up, term length regardless. Stan didn't even make the final election when Kim was voted in.


Don't forget, keep it klassy!