Smile Politely

Spoiler Alert: Dem voters like to vote for Dem candidates

It was about a year ago when I first compared Kristin Williamson’s chances of winning the 103rd State Rep election to Team USA’s very unexpected victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Obviously, Kristin would need a miracle of her own to pull off the upset, but that obviously didn’t happen. To my surprise and enjoyment, the race generated a lot of interesting discussion and both sides treated it as a contested race after Carol Ammons won the primary in impressive fashion over the her Madigan-backed opponent.  

Since the election, I’ve heard and read several comments from activists and hecklers that made me smile. The one thing that finally pushed me to post something was from Urbana resident Aaron Ammons. Aaron stood in front of the Unit 4 school board and spoke on behalf of all Chamaign voters who voted for his wife while speaking out against the group working to keep Central central effort (formerly known as REWIND). So a guy from Urbana is speaking on behalf of Champaign Democrats on a non-partisan school issue? Obviously he knows that not all the precincts for Unit 4 were represented in the 103rd State Rep election, right? At any rate, I thought it might be worthwhile to share some election analysis. 

I performed a precinct-level analysis before and after the election. It’s very easy to do as our Champaign County Clerk conveniently shares election results on excel spreadsheets. It’s rather simple to conclude that when it comes to electing policy makers, Dem voters generally vote for Dem candidates. In the Champaign precincts of the 103rd District, here are how other Dem candidates performed (%of vote):

Ammons – 58%
Ann Callis – 56%
Mike Frerichs – 62%
Dick Durbin – 61%
Pat Quinn – 52%

Since Jakobsson won these same precincts with 63% of the vote in the last non-presidential election (2010), there is nothing really notable about a Dem candidate winning in a Dem district with similar vote percentages to other Democrats. While the primary victory was certainly impressive, the general election results do not support the chest pounding I’m seeing and reading. Did Team Ammons run a good campaign? Absolutely. Was Kristin Williams able to convert Dem voters into Rep voters? Nope. Was the Ammons campaign able generate an exceptional level of support in any way and/or impact other races?  I just don’t see it. 

At the end of the day, it’s good to be a Democrat in a district that was gerrymandered for Democrats and vice versa. I thought it was awesome how Team Ammons treated Williamson like a legitimate threat every step of the way and I thought it was equally great how the Williamson campaign treated the campaign as if they intended to win. Isn’t that what campaigns are supposed to do? I just don’t get why people are so eager to talk smack over the Ammons victory and/or treat the Ammons victory in the general election as something extraordinary. I’m much more impressed with Mike Frerich’s and Gordy Hulten’s performance in the general election.  

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