Thursday, May 08, 2008

Robin Ficker Joins the County Council Staff

Of course this has not happened, but it might. Here’s how the Stella Werner building’s worst nightmare could come true.

Let’s put aside the ideological differences between County District 4 special election candidates Don Praisner and his Ficker-backed opponent, Mark Fennel. All elections boil down to mathematics in the end. And it is mathematically possible for Fennel to beat Mr. Praisner.

Consider the following statistics. In the District 4 special primary, 7,658 Democrats voted, of whom 3,391 voted for Mr. Praisner. The Republicans attracted 1,919 primary voters, of whom 926 voted for Fennel. That means Fennel has a chance if three things happen:

1. Democrats who voted for one of Mr. Praisner’s opponents do not show up for the general election.
Nancy Navarro’s supporters are still fuming about the negative attacks against their candidate. Steve Kanstoroom and Pat Ryan were both asked to leave early in the race by Mr. Praisner’s allies. None of these three has much incentive to encourage their people to vote for Mr. Praisner unless they hope to earn his endorsement in 2010 (and that will not happen for Navarro).

2. Only half of Mr. Praisner’s primary voters show up for the general election.
One of the things that stood out from both the phone banking and door knocking was that the vast majority of District 4 Democrats did not know there was a special primary. Who is reminding them that there is a special general on May 13th? MCDCC is stepping up with a mailing on behalf of Mr. Praisner. But we see less activity from his organization now than we did a month ago aside from a recent ice cream fundraiser. One anonymous but influential Praisner supporter told me, “Dem complacency now is very dangerous.”

3. Every Republican shows up again to vote for Fennel.
This possibility cannot be dismissed. Fennel’s de facto campaign manager, Robin Ficker, is the all-time MoCo champion of sign-planting and petition-gathering. Love him or hate him, no one has more energy than the maniacal Ficker. And the Republicans were never as divided as the Democrats in this race. Anti-tax Republicans would love to grab any elected office in the county regardless of whether the candidate is Fennel or someone else. A low-turnout special election may be their best opportunity.

If every one of the above events occurred, Fennel would defeat Mr. Praisner by a 1,919 to 1,696 vote, or a 53-47% spread. It would be the ultimate royal flush in MoCo political history.

So could it actually happen? The chances are extremely low, but they are greater than zero. It’s time for the Democrats to get back to work.