Thursday, August 19, 2010

Council At-Large Geography, Part Four

The bottom line in any election is who wins and who loses. We’re not ready to make that call for 2010, but we know in excruciating detail how the 2006 contest played out. And now we reveal all!

Here are 2006 at-large Democratic primary results for the top five candidates for all voters casting ballots at precincts by Congressional District, State Legislative District, Council District and locality. Our statistics are limited by the fact that precinct-level data excludes absentee and provisional voters. But we are using the precinct data to zero in on the geographic areas where each candidate ran strong and weak. That information is indispensable for evaluating possible results in 2010.

We understand that there is a tremendous amount of data in the chart above – too much to be digested in any one sitting. And we will break it down further in individual analyses of the four incumbents later in the series. But for the moment, we offer a few notes.

1. George Leventhal was not only the top vote-getter, he was also the most reliable performer. Leventhal finished first in five of eight State Legislative Districts and four of five Council Districts.

2. Marc Elrich and Duchy Trachtenberg were nearly tied, with Elrich barely capturing the second spot. But as we shall see, their votes came from very different places.

3. Nancy Floreen and Mike Subin were the two incumbents left off the Apple Ballot. Even though Subin had served five terms while Floreen was a freshman, Floreen had more money and worked much harder to win reelection.

4. Sixty-five percent of the at-large votes came from four areas: Silver Spring (31.2%), Bethesda (12.8%), Rockville (11.7%) and Gaithersburg (8.9%). Any candidate who runs weak in any of those areas risks a loss.

5. The Apple Ballot included Leventhal, Elrich and Trachtenberg in 2006. The latter two were challengers but these three candidates finished at the top in that order. In 2010, the Apple Ballot includes two incumbents – Leventhal and Elrich – and two challengers – Hans Riemer and Becky Wagner. Two incumbents – Floreen and Trachtenberg – have been excluded. Despite the Post’s best efforts to destroy MCEA, that change will impact this year’s at-large race.

We’ll look at the individual candidates in greater detail next week.