This year's Council Race has many unknown variables to it. Turnout will drive who wins and who loses as much as how well a particular candidate has run their campaign. Conventional wisdom says that 2011 was an outlier year, where Dems won big. This year when the GOP could have picked up seats, they only endorsed two credible candidates. The battle will be along the varied voting fault lines in the city. How deep will Republican voters go, will they vote a short ticket of five or six? Will the conservative African-American vote rally around Charlie Winburn and Chris Smitherman and build a bridge to the GOP or with other more liberal/moderate African-American voters? Will African-American voters in general stay home? Will the moderate GOP/Dems support the Charter backed group pushed by the Enquirer or will they splinter?
The biggest question this year will be how much will the Streecar & Parking issues out weigh traditional party based voting? Secondarily: will the average number of votes per ballot drop this year below six?
Here are my gut feelings on who stands the best chance of winning next Tuesday. This breakdown is based on my review of the candidates: strengths, weaknesses, and performance thus far. In 2011 I was way off. This year I generally followed similar logic as used two years ago and gave much deference to incumbancy, which threw off my predictions back then. If things turn out differently, there is not much out there to predict the results. The turnout question likely could affect this most, with low turnout favoring the both the incumbents and the Republicans.
In the Mix:
My take is that there is only one candidate who will breeze into a victory and that is Sittenfeld. There are 12 others with varied levels of significant possibility. Who makes it from that group is up to the campaigns, the voters, and the weather. The rest of the candidates have large hurdles to over come to win. Several of the them are first time candidates who normally would be paying their dues this year as a set up for another run in two years. With the unwise change in the length council terms, we are losing out on our ability to create new candidates. I hope those candidates can hold on and run again in four years with more experience and resources.