Election Analysis: District 1

An analysis of the District 1 run-off election on June 11 between Ann Morgan Lilly and Lyda Ness Garcia has some interesting trends worth examining. District 1, generally tends to have a better educated and more affluent electorate than the rest of the city. Therefore, the notion that education and affluence plays a part in electoral participation can be discarded in this case as the electorate in the district is best representative of having these items on their resumes.

Below is a comparison of the May and June votes cast for each candidate. The conditional endorsements are the votes received by Hinojosa and Peinado. The other are the rest of the candidates.

Candidate May 26, 2011 June 11, 2011 Difference
Ann Morgan Lilly 1,813 1,946 +133
Lyda Ness Garcia 1,014 1,567 +553
Conditional Endorsement 858
Other Candidates 1,064

Mobilization of the electorate

The first item to explore is the concept of mobilization of the electorate for a candidate. In the case of the run-off elections for District 1, the candidates mobilized an additional 686 voters to vote in the runoff.

During the May 26 election, 1,813 voters turned out for Ann Morgan Lilly with 873 votes cast in early voting and another 940 on Election Day. During the run-off on June 11, Lilly received 964 votes in early voting and an additional 982 on Election Day giving Lilly a total of 1,946 votes.

This represents an additional 133 votes for Ann Morgan Lilly during the run-off.

On the other hand, Lyda Ness Garcia received 438 votes during early voting and an additional 576 votes on Election Day in May, giving her a total of 1,014 for that period. During the run-off in June, Lyda Ness Garcia attracted 1,567 votes, divided between 775 votes cast in early voting for both periods and 792 on Election Day.

Lyda Ness Garcia mobilized an additional 553 voters for the run-off.

Is political mudslinging detrimental or effective?

Both candidates mobilized 686 new voters to vote for them with Lyda Ness Garcia receiving the majority. As the District 1 run-off election was characterized as “dirty” politics with accusations flung from one candidate to the other with Ness Garcia generally accused of generating more controversy against her opponent the notion that mud-slinging in politics is not effective appears to be mute as Ness Garcia attracted the lion’s share of the “new” voter in the run-off. Although the argument can be made that the additional voters for Ness Garcia were an anti-Lilly vote, the fact remains that more voters participated in the run-off then in the general election, regardless of the mud-slinging or in spite of it.

Did endorsements count?

The question then becomes on whether Ann Morgan Lilly’s strategy to pander to Manny Hinojosa who garnered 605 votes and Abe Peinado who received 253 in May elections was a wise strategy. On May 16, Hinojosa and Peinado bartered their combined 858 votes with an endorsement of the candidate that would “pledge” their vote on the health benefits fiasco for unmarried couples, among other things. Lilly agreed and she received their “endorsements”. In the end, Lilly’s strategy failed as she only received an additional 133 votes, short of the 858 expected votes, assuming that Hinojosa and Peinado voters actually voted in the run-off and, if they did, voted for Lilly. In the end, Lilly’s strategy failed as she failed to garner a significant number of mobilized voters to her side.

Are unpaid taxes a voter issue?

Lyda Ness Garcia has acknowledged a significant debt to the IRS. The revelation was made a center piece by Ann Morgan Lilly during the runoff. From the results of the run-off votes cast, where Ness Garcia received an additional 553 votes, to Ann Morgan Lilly’s 133, it can be deduced, that at least for the voters who voted in the run-off election the tax situation for Ness Garcia was not a factor. This is especially true when the difference between early voting in and Election Day results in May are compared to the run-off election. Ann Morgan Lilly, attracted an additional 91 votes in early voting during the run-off as compared to the May election and 42 new votes on Election Day. Her 133 additional votes were less than Ness Garcia’s additional votes in early voting of 337 and 216 on Election Day for a total of 553.

Elections are over in early voting.

This latest run-off election has once again demonstrated that once a candidate is behind in early voting their opportunity to make up lost ground and claim victory with votes cast on Election Day is generally impossible. Therefore, for future candidates, the election cycle is early voting and Election Day voting patterns tend to mirror early voting results. By 7:00 pm, on election night the outcome is generally assured.

Unfortunately for Lyda Ness Garcia, she was unable to muster enugh additional voters in the run-off to overcome the 799 votes that Ann Morgan Lilly had going into the run-off, thus she lost the election.

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