Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ashdown points out my error

(Photo Credit:
(from left to right: fmr. US Sen. candidate Pete Ashdown, St. Rep. Christine Johnson (D-UT-25), SL County Mayor Peter Carroon)

I have tooting my own horn in terms of prognostication and analysis and rarely anyone has called me on it when my predictions turn out wrong. Partly this is because I admit them before someone can, and partly because I don't have as many readers as say Matt Stoller.

The once and future US Senate candidate Pete Ashdown, however, noted that I thought on balance that Carroon's endorsement of Jenny was worth more that his was for Ralph. Of course, Jenny failed to make it past the primary and Ralph won a surprisingly large victory on Tuesday.

In my defense, I had been worried that my friendship with Dave Everitt and my support of Ralph stemming back at least since 2003 would bias my predictions of the race and lead me to undervalue Jenny. I was hypersentive to saying negative things about Jenny because I didn't know her that well but she is a good Democrat and ran a good campaign to knock of a Republican for an at-large seat on the SL County Council.

Ashdown was right though, even if he was classy enough not to say it outright, in a primary election, the base matters. And Ashdown excites activists and frequent voters.

The proof I overlooked? Ashdown beat Hatch in early Salt Lake County.

Check out this graphic by the Salt Lake Tribune:

People who vote early are not just those who will be out of town on Election Day, but committed voters who tend to be more activist--the same type of people who vote in mayoral primaries. 2006 was a great year for Democrats nationaly, so Utah Dems (many if not most of whom live in SL County) voted early in larger numbers than Utah Republicans.

Not that Ralph sought out Pete's support over Carroon because of this fact, Ralph would have loved both I am sure. But since Jenny was on the County Council and Peter is the County Mayor, it makes sense he would support the one who he has worked with so much more than Ralph, who Peter knows from his days on the Avenues community council.

While it is impossible to tell what sort of impact either endorsement had on the actual voters, it is clear that Pete Ashdown came out of this looking much better than Peter Carroon. This is true even if it is more the SLC mayoral candidates' "fault" than the endorser's, but politics isn't fair. There is a reason why people wonder how much Al Gore's endorsement is worth after Howard Dean flopped in 2004.


Pete said...

Thanks for the article.

Dave Everitt and Ralph were persistent but not obnoxious in seeking my endorsement. I gave money to Jenny early on and what came back is that the campaign expected my endorsement even before she returned my questionnaire.

I was also pleased that Dave took my advice on the proper way to build an email list and also did not use robocallers. As you stated previously, your own household received four robocalls from the Wilson campaign. I firmly believe that robocalls are for sucker candidates and they do more harm than good.

In the end, solid person-to-person politicking prevailed over money and consultant-style advertising. Even though the outcome of my race wasn't a win, I'm proud that I ran on the same principles.

David said...

I thought your commentary on the graphs was insightful:

"People who vote early are not just those who will be out of town on Election Day, but committed voters who tend to be more activist."

I think that holds true, not only for Democrats but also Republicans. (You suggest that Asdown's early lead was a result of Democrats voting early.) I don't think I will ever be called a Democrat (except perhaps by a firmly entrenched Republican) but I am very politically active and voted early for Pete.

I doubt any politically aware person would support Hatch for any other reason than that he is likely to win.

Bob said...

Personally, I put much more weight in Ashdown's endorsement than Corroon's.

Pete and Peter are both political friends of mine, having spent much time with both of their campaigns. I first met the Mayor while working on the campaign for his cousin, Howard Dean.

However, Corroon's endorsement of anyone BUT Wilson would have been a shocker, given that it is a norm when someone in an office close to yours runs for annother office, you give them the endorsement, especially if, should they lose, they'll still be in office with you. Same goes for Becker's long list of Democratic Legislators.