Friday, April 17, 2009

Yet another reason it looks bleak for Brian Moran

NLS has a very interesting look at the state of the Gubernatorial race. I just don't know enough to comment on a lot of it, and some of it is just speculation that no one can evaluate. The bottom line -- that Terry McAuliffe, the guy with the most money by far, is clearly the best positioned, is fairly conventional and hard to argue with.

But the following point caught my attention:
Creigh's only real chance to win is with low NoVA turnout, and Brian's only road the nomination is with high NoVA turnout and winning a huge share of that vote.

Ben doesn't define low NoVA turnout, but elsewhere he states, with respect to high NoVA turnout:
Brian needs Northern Virginia to be over 40% of the vote in this primary[.]

So, will NoVA be 40% of the vote?

In part, it depends how one defines NoVA, obviously, I thought for voting purposes, the following jurisdictions were fair to include in NoVA:

Arlington Co.
Fairfax Co.
Loudoun Co.
Stafford Co.
Prince William Co.
Alexandria City
Falls Church City
Fairfax City
Manassas City
Manassas Park City

I then looked at Democratic voter participation in these five jurisdictions as a percentage of total statewide Democratic voters in the following five elections:

2008 General (Democratic voters for President only)
2008 Presidential Primary
2006 Senatorial Primary
2005 General (Democratic voters for Governor only)
2005 LG Primary

In only one of those elections did the percentage of Democratic voters in NoVA, as I defined it, exceed 40% of the total Democratic voters -- the threshold Ben says Moran needs. And in the other four elections, the percentages were significantly below 40% -- 33.6%; 31%; 31%; 33.6%. I'm not going to tell you which one was over 40%, but if you think about it, it can be divined.

Perhaps Ben is defining NoVA differently than me, including a few of the exurban counties to the South in calculating his 40% threshold for Moran. If so, then fine. I suppose I could have asked him, but that would be too easy and less fun.

But I think I'm using a pretty reasonable definition of NoVA. If Ben is right that Brian Moran needs this vote to constitute 40% of the total before he even gets to the percentage Ben said he needs to win to prevail in the election (which at this point seems utterly impossible for him to reach), I don't see where Moran stands a chance in this election. I would argue that NoVA, as I defined it, is more likely to be toward the low to mid 30s as a percentage of the total primary vote, given the ubiquitous presence of three candidates -- Creigh, Jody Wagner and Jon Bowerbank -- from other areas of the Commonwealth.

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