Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Post-election non-post-mortem

Yup, it's not the end--it's the beginning, summarized by the Eagle-solicited reaction statement just now sent to self-desccribed reporter, Dale:

For someone who never ran before and who got into the race too late to build a political machine of a size competitive with Team Wilson, the resulting vote isn't surprising, but at least during the campaign, I discovered the root of why even Team Wilson couldn't drive voter turnout, nor, for that matter, did all the big ad buys and political trinkets bought by Team Vanhooser.

When I address my supporters, that will be the key thing I mention as well as urging them to work to turn that around for elections to come.  Voters are thoroughly convinced that no matter who is elected, the City fails to change in a better direction, and turning around that long ingrained fatalism takes more than a few weeks to accomplish.

Voter turnout is key, and it's clear that even newspaper endorsements fail in that area. There's a bright side to the result, though: as I said at the launch of my campaign, I decided to run, even at essentially the last minute, because I realized that I did have a voter base, and it was Vanhooser that gave me that base, and that the base was city-wide.  Judging from the Vanhooser result, it's safe to say that if the entirety of my voter base had lived within Ward 5, I would have won.

My campaign had two goals: defeat Vanhooser, and improve Ward 5 from the neglect it suffered under Wilson. Achieving one out of two goals ain't bad.

What follows is a statement submitted to the pro-Wilson pro-Vahnooser Route 60 Sentinel:


I'm not surprised at the election results, actually, because of the turn-out figures. Talking to the people in Ward 5 gave me the impression that there's a strong belief out there that no matter who is elected, the streets will always get neglected. That's a tough conviction to overcome, especially after decades of this pattern.  Part of what figured is the turn-out of the well established Wilson machine, reminiscent of the old Mayor Daly phenomenon in Chicago. Put that up against a newbie with no machinery and it's not Goliath v. David, it's Goliath v. infant David with a deep-rooted voter despair complex.  Still, for my first time at this, it's not bad considering what was put into it, dollar for dollar.  I was able to cover about 1/3 of Ward 5 with the campaign, and got slightly less than 1/3 of the vote with that expenditure.  Not a bad return on expenses totaling considerably less than $300.

Past election records show that spending on campaign trinkets doesn't drive turnout--all the money spent by the incumbent didn't drive turnout either.  Nor did Vanhooser's big radio, newspaper, and trinket buys. The voters weren't crazy about those guys, clearly, but their respective support machines were, and that's something I just don't have.  That's the kind of thing I moved out of Illinois over.

Turnout was key, and if I couldn't convince people that I could succeed in breaking the usual expected inner city neglect Ward 5 had become accustomed to, no amount of campaign spending could change that mindset either.  It's become that deeply ingrained.

There's another aspect to my campaign that is much better news, though, which leaves me happy about things all the same.  That aspect is something I mentioned in the debate: I was running because I had a voter base that Vanhooser gave me.  However, that's a city-wide base that would have put me in the victory column if they had all resided in Ward 5, but I took that into consideration when I campaigned equally for Shewey as I campaigned for myself.  Somebody somewhere cited early polls showing Vanhooser leading Shewey by 60%, but if the polling company was the same one that showed a wide margin of support for that grand city parks master plan that failed the vote miserably, well, you can see the huge credibility gap in that one. 

And you can see the bright side of my campaign, too--the voter base that Vanhooser gave me didn't work within the confines of Ward 5, but it paid off for the mayor.  I'm not out the cash that Vanhooser is out, having applied strategy in the spending of limited resources, but all that big spending Vanhooser did failed to drive turnout as well.  What I spent per vote that I got was pretty good; Vanhooser, not so much.

It's all good, I've got new friends, and from what I hear, I've made a difference in how the City does business.  It's all good
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