For the purposes of this post, we’re going to look at the three candidates that ran in Super Districts last year. These three just did it, and with Election Day just over a year from the last contest they ran, this can be an inside look at their strengths and weaknesses.
To get a more complete picture of support base, I looked at the precinct-by-precinct totals of each contest. These are located here. The precinct-by-precinct totals for Districts 9-2 and 9-3 can be found on pages 561-640. It’s a long and inefficiently laid out document that I had to print to read, but it’s data.
Since I like picking on him so much, we’ll start with Kemp Conrad.
Conrad is strong in all the areas that one would suspect, east Memphis and Cordova. In last year’s election Joe Saino played spoiler. Had Saino stayed out of the race Conrad could have won.
In this year’s race, Conrad has more opposition but it is spread across the spectrum.
Brian Stephens has the potential to take a good deal of Conrad’s support, particularly in Cordova. Further his marginal support by some east Memphis Democrats won’t necessarily hurt a leftist candidate as much as the possibility of losing Cordova.
The John Willingham Experience™ may have only garnered less that .75% of the vote in last year’s mayoral race, but he’s got a bone to pick and plenty of money to pick it with. I suspect he’ll run an “Anybody but Kemp” style race. This will, far and away, be the most entertaining part of the race.
For Conrad, getting hammered from the left and the right is going to make life a little more difficult. He may have his substantial wealth to fund his campaign, but if he gets hit early and often enough he may just get punch drunk enough to screw up. Right now that’s the best strategy to defeat him.
Below is a map detailing the precincts that Conrad carried. He ran strong in many others, but these are the ones he won outright. I know they’re not as pretty as Polar Donkey’s, but it’s all I have right now. If nothing else, it illustrates the areas that Stephens and The John Willingham Experience™ need to target to take him down a notch.
To be honest with you, I’m not sure what Lit expects to accomplish by running. Sure, he has plenty of money, name recognition and friends to mount a campaign, but his last outing left much to be desired. Everyone may like Lester as a person, but I’m not sure if that applies as a candidate.
Last year he placed 4th behind Hedgepeth, Frankin, and Wilder, in that order. His core base of support is concentrated in just 3 precincts, though he drew well from other areas. Lit draws from both sides of the spectrum, so knowing just how steadfast his support is, or where they would fall if he withdrew, will be hard to figure. His withdrawal from the race seems unlikely, but if he did, three precincts with some of the highest voter turnout (3.6% of the total vote but only 2.8% of precincts) would be up for grabs.
Tread lightly on Lester. If he stays in, he might be able to siphon off support from Conrad. If he gets out, he could be an effective advocate for Newman or Wilder.
Mary Wilder’s decision to run again is, on one level surprising. Conversations with some of her more fervent supporters after last year’s election gave the impression that she amassed a good deal of debt to achieve her third place finish in the District 9 Position 3 race. To be honest, I haven’t had the chance to check disclosures, so I can neither confirm nor deny that. If this is true, it could hamper her prospects. As I said the other day, traditional campaigning will not be enough to win this one, lots of money will need to be spent on TV and other media to overcome with the shortened time frame.
From a campaign standpoint, there seemed to be a distinct lack of presence on major corridors throughout the district and at early voting polling stations. 9 is large district, and sticking to traditional support areas just plain isn’t enough. This may be perception versus reality, but while her signs were distinctive, I don’t remember seeing many of them around.
There were some bright spots. Wilder won precincts, as noted on the image below, in and around the Volentine-Evergreen District, as well as several others. Unfortunately, her margin of victory was never more that 45 votes over the second place finish in any one district. Further, these districts accounted for less than 20% of the total vote (18.5%) on this race. Now certainly, this math is a bit fuzzy, but in order for Wilder to win the race, she has to win in her area by a lot more than the 40ish votes she bested Desi Franklin by in her home precinct, as well as pick up some key support throughout the district to push her over the top.
Okay, these are the three people who ran for Super-Districts. Unfortunately, using any data on Stephens in 2 or “2-Shay” in 1 is scientifically flawed. They ran for those districts, not the whole enchilada. Information garnered may show signs of strength, but are not necessarily indicative of how they would draw in all of 9. As for Newman and Shaffer, none of the detail of their races from 2006 is available on the Election Commission site at this time. I’m working on getting that data as well as financial disclosures, but until I return from Seattle, and get to the Election Commission, this is what I’ve got.
Have a Bidenrific weekend!