Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Halvorson not in the Top Two?

UPDATE: From this, it looks like there are about 10,000 more ballots to count, so maybe Halvorson isn't sunk yet. Too damn close for someone who spent that much though.

Wow. Have to say the surprise of the night so far is Jon Halvorson seemingly packing his bags early from the county commissioners race.

I think everyone sort of assume that it would be Halvorson and Romero facing off in November and the nominally funded Republican and Independent would head home. But, despite spending the most of any candidate ($39,000) and raising the most ($51,000) it just goes to show that money isn't everything.

County Commissioner District No. 2
Vote for One 1
Sandra Romero . . . . . . . . . 3,885 31.49
Robin Edmondson . . . . . . . . 3,792 30.74
Jon W. Halvorson . . . . . . . . 3,245 26.31
Bill Pilkey. . . . . . . . . . 1,059 8.58
Lucius Daye. . . . . . . . . . 342 2.77
WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 13 .11
Total . . . . . . . . . 12,336


Just a few thoughts:

1. Halvorson was running for a really long time. If memory serves, he announced in February of 2007, even before most city council candidates had gotten on the ground. Were people just tired of him?

2. He was endorsed by the local builders and well-liked by other local conservatives, but he failed to get the nomination of the local Dem party. I don't think this had anything to do with it exactly, but...

3. Despite fears by some that Thurston County would be the prototypical "Top Two" locality with two Dems in the running in November, maybe voters really do sort themselves by party.

You have to admit that with the endorsement of the builders, Halvorson was cutting to the right of Romero. Maybe voters who wanted to vote for a more conservative candidate just couldn't bring themselves to vote for someone who preferred Democrat?

Maybe Halvorson was just plain bad at spending his money and people just voted the labels and Romero just did a plain better job getting her name out to people who vote the Democratic label. I think that's likely.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is a disconnect between the article from the Olympian you linked to and the Secretary of State's web site. As of this morning (20 Aug) Sam Reed's office reports there are 25,000 un-tallied ballots. The Auditor's office reported at 8:00pm on election night it had tallied 41,000. The discrepancies are significant and unusual when compared to the rest of the counties. What is going on atop Courthouse Hill? Laurian

matthew green said...

The second batch of results is in. Halvorson is toast.

My analysis: Halvorson's "insider-ism" just caught up to him.

He thought his endorsements from Democratic county officials and his "elder statesman/enforcer" role in local Democratic politics would win him the Democratic vote. But most Democratic voters saw his big contributions from the building industry and his chuminess with lots of Republicans and went for Sandra.

(Note that Sandra even had the supposed disadvantage of serving on the Olympia City Council and in the 22nd Legislative District, which only slightly overlap with the county commissioner district. In other words, she had to win votes in Lacey that she’d never won before.)

Also, Halvorson thought taking conservative positions and having conservative friends would win him the Republicans. But Republican voters preferred an actual Republican in Edmondson, even if they had never heard of Edmondson.

Finally, I think Halvorson paid the price for supporting the jail ballot measure a few years ago. That whole effort, which he ended up leading as campaign manager and major spokesperson, was the epitome of the poor political judgment among most of the county government political establishment. That thing got pummeled from all sides of the political spectrum, and lost 61%-39% – and those folks never saw it coming.

That said, I didn’t see this one coming. I expected Halvorson to win the primary, mostly because it is his Lacey base, and to face Sandra in the general. Though I would have placed bets on Sandra in the general – and I certainly will now!