Sunday, June 05, 2005

The End is Nearing

The Express-News has published a tri-focused set of stories that outline the current campaign, the narrow victory the winner will enjoy, and a close win for Castro. The stories are well thought out and I couldn't agree with them more.

First some interesting background. The Express-News clarifies:

In two of the last three mayoral runoffs, the second-place finisher in Round 1 has come back to win the final battle. And the last time a Hispanic front-runner ran against an Anglo, the Anglo candidate won.

It is very clear what both candidates need. Hardberger needs more than half of all the voters to come from 8, 9, and 10. On the other hand Castro needs huge early vote numbers and turn out from 6 and 7.

During the May 7 election, 43 percent of the 114,071 votes cast in the mayor's race came from Districts 8, 9 and 10 — districts won by either Hardberger or third-place finisher Carroll Schubert, who didn't make the runoff. That bodes well for Hardberger, who has received Schubert's endorsement and the support of many of his former backers.

Castro also has the advantage of a loyal base, which even Hardberger acknowledges is formidable.

"Clearly, getting out the vote is very important for me because I've never had the slightest doubt that Julián will get out his vote," Hardberger said.

Castro also benefits from Tuesday runoffs in two of his strongholds: Districts 6 and 7.

Turn out aside, Carlos Guerra of the Express-News predicts a very close campaign. This is an obvious statement. I don't know many Castro or Hardberger supporters that think Tuesday will be a blow out win by either candidate.

Runoffs, especially in local elections, don't always follow the conventional wisdom. They aren't always continuations of the first elections with fewer choices, and they don't always attract significantly fewer voters. And often, runoff campaigns can give the candidates with the lower-vote totals fresh campaign starts.

Immediately after the first election, it was reasoned that a runoff victory for Castro was within easy reach since he would need to win over only one of every three Schubert supporters. Hardberger, on the other hand, would need more than twice as many Schubert voters, which seemed unlikely since Schubert aimed virtually all of his campaign fire at Hardberger, characterizing him as a greedy liberal trial lawyer intent on raising city taxes.

But shortly after that first round, Schubert swallowed his pride (and his venom) to endorse the liberal trial lawyer nemesis he had campaigned against.

And with unusual unanimity, Schubert's strongest developer and business community backers seem to have followed his lead.

In the one public poll released during the runoff period, Hardberger held a narrow lead over Castro, though his advantage is well within the margin of error.

But all indications are that the contest is likely to be unexpectedly close, and is one that will likely be determined by the effectiveness of the campaigns' election-day get-out-the-vote efforts.

Of the 115,194 votes cast in the May 7 election, 56,284, or almost half, were cast early. If this predictor of overall turnout remains constant, don't be surprised if 94,300 voters — about 14.5 percent of those eligible — cast ballots in Tuesday's election.

Ken Rodriguez goes down the check list and sees it as a very narrow Castro win, and it is hard to say he is wrong.

It would help if there were a City Council runoff on Schubert's turf. There isn't.

It would help if there were no runoffs in Castro's backyard. There are two.

It would help if Castro had a weak grassroots organization. He doesn't.

It would help if Hardberger and Schubert were not political opposites. They are.

It would help if Hardberger could count on a heavy turnout of Schubert supporters. He can't.

The candidate who probably can count on a heavy turnout is Castro.

The last time there were runoffs in Districts 6 and 7, more people voted in Round 2 than in Round 1.

These are the hard facts and I am predicting that Tuesday Castro will win with a tight 52% of the vote. Hardberger will spend most of his time in 8, 9, and 10 on election day and focus on getting Schubert voters out again. Castro will work in 1, 2, 4, 5 and let the runoff mobilize his voters for him in 6 and 7 and this will be just enough.


At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julian Castro Has the Momentum:

I couldnt agree more with your post. Castro seems to have gained clear momentum heading into the home stretch, as he is coming off an impressive victory in the debate with Hardberger. Base mobilization will be absolutely crucial, and it will be interesting to see whether conservative Republicans will support the ultra liberal, pro-choice Hardberger.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am scared to say this (for fear of being totally wrong!), but helped bw this weekend and i have never felt more confident that castro will win... and i looovvve pro-choicers, baby!


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