Primaries elections are strange political devices that can be awful hard to predict. Especially in a district that where a primary is rare. Especially with a party which where a primary is rare. Especially when the race has five qualified candidates.
For a campaign which arguably started more than a year ago, a majority of the democrats in the district can not name any of the candidates. Yes campaigns will be in high gear this final week before the election and try to change that:
- Be prepared for knocks on the door.
- Be prepared for phone calls–some with a real person who can answer your questions, and robo calls where you can’t.
- Be prepared for slick mailing listing endorsements and websites.
Don’t expect a high turnout. According to the NYS Board of Elections only 37.5% of the democrats in the NY23rd voted in the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary. Voters will not come out on June 26 unless they really believe that one candidate is decidedly stronger than the other four. Many newspapers articles have pointed out that the candidates’ views on the issues are very similar. That means it is not the message that is important, but the messenger.
It is hard to read the political tea leaves. Is the number of signatures on the nominating petitions an important factor? Is where the candidate lives in the district an important factor? Are the endorsements the candidate receives an important factor? Probably yes, yes and yes.
How many of us believes that the winner of the primary will get 50.1% of the vote? I hope that happens, because if winner received only 30% of the vote then 70% of the voters voted for one of the four losers. Will the losing candidates, after a long campaign, help the winning candidate defeat Tom Reed? We should remember that Leslie Danks Burke, right after Nate Shinagawa defeated her in the 2012 Democratic Primary, went to Nate’s campaign office and phoned constituents asking for donations for Nate. Having the four defeated candidates hit the phones on June 28 would be a signal to all voters of the NY23rd.
After the Primary, the 19 week real campaign begins. We’ve only just begun.