Strong finish by Jefferson Smith

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Once the candidates for mayor had given their speeches on Tuesday night, most folks stopped paying attention to the vote count. But if that includes you, you've missed out on one of the big stories in the mayor's race.

Check it out. Here's a chart that shows how the vote count shifted from the initial 8:01 p.m. count on Tuesday night to the eighth count late last night.

That's right. The initial count was Hales 38.5, Smith 28.8, Brady 24.1 The eighth (and very nearly final) count has it Hales 37.3, Smith 32.8, Brady 21.8. As the count progressed, Charlie Hales's margin over Jefferson Smith collapsed from nearly ten points to less than five points.

Everyone went to bed on Tuesday night thinking that Charlie Hales had sole ownership of frontrunner status - with Jefferson closer to Eileen than to Charlie. It's clear now that this is going to be a lot closer of a race heading into the fall campaign.

Clearly, two things happened: 1) Late-deciding voters broke hard for Jefferson Smith (and against Eileen Brady.) 2) The Smith campaign did a great job turning out their vote.

In the fall, the electorate in Portland will trend younger, more diverse, and even more progressive.

Anyone who thinks this is a slam dunk for Charlie Hales need to think again.

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    Full disclosure: My firm built Eileen Brady's campaign website. I speak only for myself.

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    I think you have graphed cumulative percentages. If you have the data, did Jefferson's votes exceed Charlie's votes in any of the later batches tabulated.

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      Yes, I think it was a very unstable electorate. And exactly the sort of race where something could cause it to tumble in a single direction.

      It was that "something" that every campaign was trying to find.

      Obviously, whatever it was, Team Jefferson found it.

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        For a lot of people, it was the magic phrase "first mayor East of 82nd." It was obvious quickly that phrase had appeal to people...east of 82nd. If Jefferson can pull more than a typical number of votes out of Outer East, he can overcome deficits in other areas. When you've got people knocking 200+ doors in a single day, it's possible. Jeff is the classic info-voter's candidate. If you let him have a foot in the door, you're going to buy that vacuum cleaner.

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    Kari, I admire your post election spin, and am not surprised to see the sudden love for Brady among the Smith supporters. A few days makes all the difference!

    But if course, you have no idea how the late deciders actually decided. They may have cast an "anti" Brady vote, they may have broke "for" Smith.

    But there are many other possibilities. It may be that Smith voters may just generally be the kinds of voters who hold their ballots until the end. It may be that they weren't paying attention until the last few days. It may be that they tended to hand deliver to libraries rather than mail.

    I find thus just as likely as your implicit claim of last minute voters choosing between Brady and Jeff.

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    Interesting analysis - and it agrees with what I was seeing over the past couple months, which was Jefferson gaining, Brady falling, and Hales staying steady. With Jefferson's climb, the late votes turned in his favor. Take a look at the Fritz/Nolan race, you also see late votes breaking for Fritz. The first returns actually showed Nolan ahead, but later ballots reversed that giving Fritz the lead. Many of the same statements about the Mayor race could be said about the Council 1 race, including a strong GOTV effort by the Fritz campaign. The make up of the voters who will vote in the General Election as opposed to the primary works in Fritz's favor.

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      Well, analyzing the post-election vote counts doesn't tell you anything about what happened over the "past couple months". Since everything turned in before election day is included in the first count, the later counts only really tell you about the ballots that were turned in on election day.

      In other words, it ain't about the last mile of the marathon, it's about the kick at the finish line.

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    For some reason I gained a couple points in the late voting - not as much as Jefferson, but I went from seventy-three something to seventy-five something. So if anyone's building a unified theory of late voters, that's another data point to throw into the mix.

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