These are random thoughts from last night that aren't in any order. They're mine alone, they're free-writing, and they are not the views of any party, PAC, or group.
- Elaine won by 9 points, which is impressive. I'm surprised that everyone else is surprised that candidates 3-6 got 37% of the vote - in 2008, candidates 3-5 got about 25% of the vote, and that year there was a heavily female electorate that saw many more NC-Sen ads - all for one candidate. Kay got about the same as Marshall and Cunningham combined.
- Marcus Williams is really good at winning Robeson County. This ain't the first time. State Senate 2012?
- The map of counties Cal won looks a lot like the Triad Media Market. Seems pretty clear where his money went. Also, Elaine was 3rd in Forsyth County.
- Ken doubled down in places like Mecklenburg and it made a difference, but not enough. I think he repeated the mistake of the Neal campaign - radio ads are cheap, but they don't do anything. I would have run cable during the Daily Show and Olbermann.
- Elaine cleaned up Down East. Of all the counties that contain or are east of I-95, Elaine won all but four. Down East is hard to cover, and some support there is really important for the General.
- I think Elaine without a runoff is the strongest possible candidate, because she could get a head start on institutional support and consolidating the advantages she needs to win in November. But I think that Cal may be the strongest of the two after a runoff.
- I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere, but Marcus, Ken, Susan, and Elaine outperformed their poll numbers. Cal was barely outside the margin of error. This may say something about the choices undecided voters make when they reach the ballot box. I don't know how to interpret this result.
- Speaking of undecided, the logical explanation behind the inflated Harris and Worthy polling - remember, Harris was (almost?) never on the campaign trail - is identity politics. That's why they break for Marshall in the runoff. I think this is pretty clear.
- Also speaking of undecideds, you won't have those in the runoff. The undecideds in this race were brought out by races down-ticket. Cal may not have a name that people pick out of the blue, but it's clear that his support is very solid. This runoff will come down to GOTV, pure and simple.
- If Cal doesn't take the Vinroot route - which I do believe is the way to go - both candidates need to make lemonade out of this situation. Be creative, and build an organization that can GOTV the runoff and then do it again in the general. A runoff is a prime opportunity to build an organization, and we're going to need something statewide if these NC-Sen candidates want to be anything more than dead weight going into November.
- Additionally, while you've got to handicap the race for Burr at this point, we still need a strong candidate who can build an organization that will help preserve our majority in the GA. It disgusts me that the Democratic Party in NC can't get together an organization that identifies the Dems in judicial races. Al Bain & Leto Copeley - and other judicial candidates - suffered this deficiency the hard way.
- The Shakir supporters won Mecklenburg County. There's some really good activists in that group, and I hope they're going to work for some GA candidates in the fall 'cause we need them.
- Speaking of which, we've got some great women who won their primaries and are running for seats in the GA. Support them!
- I'm sorry to report that Phil Gilfus didn't win his primary. Luckily, he still represents us on the DNC.
- Elaine is getting most of the action on the #NCSen tag today.
- Ken Lewis wasn't carrying water for Elaine - his only chance was to pull Cal down and make the runoff. It didn't work. Sorry to see their campaign manager handed his first loss - he's a great guy.
- I disagree with the argument that Cal should drop the runoff due to the financial crisis. We should always have enough money to fund our democracy, from voting to early vote to campaign finance auditors.
- You have to ask yourself how much better Elaine would have done with institutional support. That - and the belief that we need to start the coordinated campaign NOW - comprises my central reasoning behind Cal should step aside; feel free to disagree.
- If Cal got 36% and Elaine got 27%, I would want Elaine to step aside.
- Cal still has one of the most creative & talented people in politics - Mr. Bully - and I can't wait to see what he comes up with for the runoff.
- All of this could be moot depending on how bad the Easley mess gets. I think we might have to clean house at some point and give the GA to the GOP to flush out all of the people who are bringing our state government down. But not right now, when our legislature is faced with what may be the hardest term of our generation.
- Unlike the pundits on TV, I have no problem admitting that I may be off the mark in a couple of these not-so-deep thoughts. Feel free to point that out.
Hope everybody got enough sleep!
PS - more thoughts from other thread:
- In a runoff, 10-20% of the voters that voted yesterday will decide the election in the best case scenario. Seems undemocratic to me.
- If Cal wins the runoff, his combined vote totals from the primary and runoff will still likely be less than the 170K votes that would have represented 40% in the first primary.
- And instead of spending money to reach North Carolina's 6 million voters, the campaigns will use expensive microtargeting to reach the 50-100K voters who will vote in the runoff but will already be voting for the Dem in November.