Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Indianapolis City-County Council At-Large Math

To further illustrate the point I was trying to make in my last post, here are the at-large Indianapolis City-County Council election results from 2007, a year that turned very favorable to Republicans due to Mayor Peterson's last minute tax increase and Democrat scandals on the council:

Kent B. Smith (R) 80,708 12.94%
Barbara Malone (R) 77,485 12.43%
Joanne Sanders (D) 73,180 11.74%
Ed Coleman (R) 72,495 11.63%
Michael Hegg (R ) 71,782 11.51%
Rozelle Boyd (D) 71,267 11.43%
Ron Gibson (D) 70,130 11.25%
Lonnell (King Ro) Conley (D) 10.24%
Allison R. Maguire (L) 12,735 2.04%
Timothy J. Maguire (L) 12,275 1.97%
Kevin R. Fleming (L) 9,349 1.50%
Webster J. Smith (L) 8,260 1.32%

The percentages are skewed because a voter can vote for up to four candidates. But when a voter does that he or she dilutes the power of simply voting for one candidate on these list type of races where more than one candidate is elected, in this case four. The strategy of only voting for one candidate in a multi-field election is often employed in slating contests. The general public doesn't know the strategy. People who understand the political process do.

Why it is extremely foolish for Republicans to retaliate against former Republican and new Libertarian Ed Coleman is contained in these numbers and an understanding of the "one vote" strategy. All the Libertarians have to do is put up one candidate instead of four and inform their folks and disaffected Republicans to simply vote for that one candidate. Imagine now that one candidate is Ed Coleman and he spends the next three years speaking out about the problems at the Capital Improvement Board, criticizes the Mayor for pushing for tax increases and addresses the multitude of conflicts of interest on the council. You don't think Ed Coleman will pick up a lot of Republicans who are angry at the current direction of the administration and the lack of leadership on the council? Of course he will.

I do not in my wildest imagination think Ed Coleman has a chance of winning running in 2011 as a Libertarian. I think he'll do better than any Libertarian ever in the county but even doubling that number would still probably leave him in single digits. I would have counseled Ed to stay in the Republican Party and work for reform. But one thing I do know inside and out is how to crunch election numbers. All Ed Coleman needs, even in the best Republican year, is a few thousand Republicans to defect to him and Republicans lose every at-large seat and control of the council.

Do not think for a second that the Democrats on the council don't know this. I believe the happiest person in the council meeting where Coleman was stripped of his committee seats was Joanne Sanders, now minority leader. She seemed to be fighting to keep from smiling. She absolutely knew what Republicans on the committee were doing and how it would almost certainly ensure that all of the Republican at-large candidates go down to defeat in 2011 giving the Democrats a majority on the council and making her Council President.

So many of my colleagues who teach or study political science have expressed disbelief why Marion County Republicans leadership would so deliberately shoot themselves in the foot. Having been involved in Marion County politics for over 22 years, I understand completely the mentality. Those folks would rather lose with candidates they can control 100% of the time than win with candidates who dare express independence and will only vote 90% of the time the way leadership wants. It is a mentality that dooms the Marion County GOP to electoral failure.


Sean Shepard said...

There is a great quote which can be adjusted to fit many situations:

"Pride and ego will cost a man (person) more than any other thing in his (or her) lifetime."

Sean Shepard said...

One other thing that is worth mentioning that I was recently reminded of is that the Indiana Voter's League that was a non-partisan group, did have a fair libertarian contingent and they endorsed a lot of candidates and worked to get some of these folks vote totals higher.

There at most a .7 % gap between the Maguire(s) vote totals and the lowest Libertarian on the list. I know for a fact a lot of those ".7%" votes went to two or three of the Republican candidates thanks to the efforts of pro-liberty Republicans like Liz Karlson (Washington Twp GOP).

Looking at the numbers, it is clear to me that at least Ed Coleman got elected with Libertarian support (that he probably didn't know he had at the time). And I know a couple of the other Republican at-large folks got varying levels of votes from libertarians and some crossover Democrats who were aghast at the tax increases and expected any new regime to fix the problem(s).

Endiana.com said...

Greg Dixon received double digits in his 3-way City Council race. In a split district a well-funded and well-organized campaign could pull off a win.

We had funds and workers; covered every precinct on electon day; walked much of the district; did all the right stuff.

Sadly it was a dominant Republican district.

-- Kenn

Endiana.com said...

(Alas, Sean, "person" is gender specific; as opposed to "perdaughter.")


And that non-partisan Indiana Voters League PAC was created on this Libertarian woman's front porch in 2007.

Many of the elected council members would be wise at this juncture to recall the support they once received from this hard working Libertarian woman. I think I've proven what I'm capable of doing. And I'm only getting smarter, with bigger networks as I get older and more experienced.

I don't think I've ever been so mad as I am right now. I've got a taste to publicly humiliate a few disgraceful people on our city council.