Jul 21 2006
08:17 am

Yesterday we noted that turnout through the first five days of Knox County early voting was up 85% over the May primaries. We were wondering if this is normal, or if there were other factors at play such as heightened interest in the term limits issue or concerns about long lines related to new voting machines and a long ballot. Or the Corker attack ads.

The Mrs. and I were also thinking that good voter turnout favors the challengers, and particularly challengers of possibly term-limited candidates in the county commission races.

Then, I got an e-mail from the Tom Salter campaign which notes that turnout in the 5th commission district is way out of proportion to the size of the district, with 1493 of the 5569 total votes (26.8%) through five days of early voting coming from 5th district voters. Coincidentally, that early voting precinct had a 180% increase in turnout as compared to the May primary, the largest increase of any early voting location.

You may recall that Salter ran a successful write-in campaign to get on the ballot and now faces a possibly term-limited candidate for County Commission seat 5-C. The Salter campaign has been working hard on getting out the vote. Are these early voting numbers a result of that effort? Can this be interpreted as an indicator of voter sentiment regarding term-limited candidates? Will other challengers benefit?

(Over in the 9th district, there is some purely anecdotal evidence based on a tiny and statistically insignificant sampling that Pleasant and McGill have both achieved name recognition and earned some votes. Is this another possible indicator of voter attitudes towards incumbents?)

We'll know the answers to these questions in a couple of weeks. Until then, it's interesting to speculate whether any court decision on the charter and county commission term limits will be rendered moot by Knox County voters.

Number9's picture

Three scenarios.

Three scenarios.

1.) Can't we all just get along? The Ragsdale machine is hitting on all cylinders. The phone bank, postal mail, and email machine is spreading the word and the word is harmony. Griess wins, Corker wins, and Martin wins. Ragsdale understands politics and has the money and the team. The Ragsdale teams motto is vote early. Most likely scenario.

2.) Corker baby. Money talks and District 5 Repubs are buying what Corker is selling. Fear of Ford drives them to vote. The Grey Panthers strike.

3.) Rage against the machine. Tom Salter and Thomas Deakins's work is making a difference. Least likely scenario but possible. Voters take their frustration out against Griess for suing against the Charter and this provides a catalyst for a large vote.

Thomas Deakins shows the new Republican viewpoint. Deakins is what Ragsdale wishes he could be. Smart, independent, and selfless, Deakins may prevail even if the rest of the Ragsdale machine wins. Expect a full court press by team Ragsdale against Deakins. They fear him more than any other candidate. The other wildcard is Randy Sadler who is running against Mike Hammond as an Independent. Hammond has been caught in several half-truths about the hated roundabout at Northshore and Concord. Hammond should win comfortably but who knows in an election like this?

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