1. Primary Voters – Which primary ballots voters choose will be important, but not necessarily 100% instructive. County voters don’t see a large partisan divide in most county-wide races. Candidates that have tried to “reach across the aisle” have been generally successful county-wide.SNIP
4. Contact Matters – In 2010, only two Democratic candidates sent a mailer to my home. Two. No one in this house has ever voted in a GOP primary…ever. Yet I received three to four mailers from Mark Luttrell. So did most of my neighbors. My precinct is a 60-40 Democratic split in November, but in August, when the candidates are not as well known, it can shift. The lesson: don’t depend on partisanship winning out over courtship. If you don’t contact your voters, don’t expect them to vote for you. (It should be noted, the two that did send mailers to my precinct, won the precinct 60/40 as expected.)
5. Turnout, turnout, turnout – Lower turnout doesn’t help County Democratic candidates – Over a whole bunch of August elections, a pretty specific number range of GOP voters that is consistent. I’ve talked to local Democratic groups about this number…but won’t reveal it here (its a state secret). That doesn’t account for crossover voting, which will happen. With over 300k in his coffers, GOP nominee Luttrell has the means to push turnout in traditionally GOP areas and appeal to ticket splitters. Democrats be warned. You will need to work hard and together to whip up turnout against the deep pockets of GOP incumbents.
6. Proficiency vs. partisanship – Go back to #1 and read that again. For County-wide candidates, your job is to reach out beyond your comfort zones, and show voters that you are as, or more proficient at the office you seek than your opponent. Those ticket splitters are looking for confidence of competence more than the letter next to your name. The lack of a clearly defined partisan difference in many races (what’s the difference between a Democratic Court Clerk and a Republican one?) is part of the cause here, especially in races where key social/fiscal issues of the day may not be relevant.
You just need to go read ALL of it.
This has been another edition of WHAT STEVE ROSS SAID.