Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Council District 4 Special Election by the Numbers

Just as we did last year, MPW presents our exclusive analysis of the precinct breakouts for the special election.

In terms of total margin, this election was closer than last year’s. In 2008, Don Praisner defeated Nancy Navarro in the precinct counts by 3,288-2,940 (44.2-39.5%). In 2009, Nancy Navarro defeated Ben Kramer in the precinct counts by 3,557-3,479 (44.5-43.6%). The 2009 total precinct margin of 78 votes, which is unlikely to be overcome by the remaining absentees, is smaller than the 2008 total precinct margin of 348 votes. But in many important ways, this election was not close at all.

Mr. Praisner’s victory was tight but broad. He carried 22 precincts to Navarro’s 21. He won Leisure World by 153 votes, but he also won the rest of District 4 by 195 votes. He won 4 of the 11 precincts that had a black population percentage of 30% or more in 2000, 8 of the 15 precincts other than Leisure World that had a white population percentage of 60% or more and carried his own precinct handily (176-62). That proves the value of the Praisner name, a name fortified by seventeen years of constituent service.

Ben Kramer outperformed Mr. Praisner on only two metrics. First, he racked up a MUCH bigger margin in Leisure World. Mr. Praisner’s 153 vote margin in Leisure World equaled a 47-32% edge over Navarro. Kramer outpolled Navarro by 798-280, a 518-vote margin and a whopping 67-24% lead. Navarro lost 43 votes compared to 2008, while Kramer won 322 votes more than Mr. Praisner received. Second, Mr. Praisner won the 15 non-Leisure World precincts with a white population percentage of 60% or more by 44-40% over Navarro. Kramer won the same precincts by 47-41%. Navarro received 8% more votes from these precincts in 2009 compared to her 2008 total, but Kramer received 14% more votes in these precincts than did Mr. Praisner.

In every other respect, Nancy Navarro defeated Ben Kramer handily. She won 33 precincts compared to Kramer’s 12. She won the home precincts of Ben Kramer, Rona Kramer and Ike Leggett. In the non-Leisure World precincts, she beat Kramer 3,277-2,681 (48-39%). Navarro held onto 18 of the 21 precincts that voted for her in 2008. Kramer only held 8 of the 22 precincts that voted for Mr. Praisner. In 2008, Navarro lost the precincts in Congressional District 4 1,238-1,078 (45-39%). In 2009, she defeated Kramer in these precincts 1,310-1,128 (48-41%). Finally, in the 22 District 19 precincts other than Leisure World, Navarro defeated Kramer 1,434-1,372 (45-43%). Other than in his performance in Leisure World, Ben Kramer’s service as a District 19 Delegate did not help him against Navarro.

Navarro won all 7 precincts with a Latino population percentage of 20% or more and 10 of the 11 precincts with a black population percentage of 30% or more. In both instances, she increased her margins in these precincts by substantial amounts in 2009. The black precinct results are particularly telling. In 2008, Mr. Praisner won 4 of these 11 precincts, received 509 votes and trailed Navarro by a 47-41% margin. In 2009, Kramer won only 1 of these precincts, received 479 votes and trailed Navarro by a 54-36% margin.

One set of precincts performed differently in the two special elections: the 10 precincts along the alignment of the Intercounty Connector (ICC). Marilyn Praisner was a longtime ICC opponent. In 2008, 7 of these precincts voted for Mr. Praisner, who won the 10 precincts by 982-810 (47-39%). In 2009, 9 of these precincts voted for Navarro, who won the 10 precincts by 1,111-740 (51-34%). Kramer de-emphasized his prior support for the ICC during the campaign, but the people who lived near it were not fooled.

Kramer’s strategy of focusing on Leisure World made sense, especially in a special election. In the 2006 District 4 Democratic primary, only 9.7% of the County Council votes came from Leisure World. In the 2008 special election, 13.6% of the Democratic primary County Council votes came from Leisure World. In the 2009 special election, 14.9% of the Democratic primary County Council votes came from Leisure World. Because turnout in Leisure World held up better than the other precincts in the special elections, its impact was amplified. But Kramer could not hold onto the rest of Mr. Praisner’s vote and that is why he lost.

This election will have significant political consequences for the County Council, for Ben Kramer and for Nancy Navarro, as well as a few other figures of note associated with their campaigns. We’ll explore those consequences in the near future. In the meantime, here’s our complete datafile for the real addicts among you.