Hello, fellow Newtonians (& others).
So we had our primary, a little late, and the results & data have been very, very interesting. I was able to get my hands on the complete, unofficial report, all 433 pages.
Let's talk the big picture first.
A total of 27,989 votes were cast last Tuesday; that's pretty impressive for a primary.
The big takeaway was this - the number of democrat ballots pulled eclipsed the GOP by a number of...
upwards of 50%
So, is it time to turn out the lights on the GOP in Newton Co.? Maybe not quite necessarily yet. I'll talk about that more at the end of the piece.
Let's talk countywide races first, specifically the Constitutional offices.
Both Probate Judge & the Clerk of Superior Court races were uncontested with both the Hon. Melanie Bell & Madam Clerk Linda Hays garnering 10,077 & 10,246 votes, respectively. Both of these ladies are the incumbents, and both qualified as Republicans.
It gets really interesting in the Sheriff's race.
On the GOP side, as this publication has already reported, it was just a bloodbath of a massacre as Ken Malcom eviscerated Ivey by a margin of 84% to just 16%. The severity of this beatdown surprised almost everyone. Total votes on the Red Team side: 10,784.
On the Dem side, to no one's surprise, 3-term incumbent Sheriff Ezell Brown ran unopposed. Total number of Blue Team votes: 15,347.
Again - Dem 15,347 / GOP 10,784
I'll do the math for you. 42% more folks voted for Ezell than Malcom & Ivey combined.
With the race for Tax Commissioner, it was 15,163 (D) vs 10,141 (R)
Tommy Davis, the Newton Co. Coroner fared the best of any of the incumbent GOP county, constitutional officers w/ 10,407 votes.
At first glance, this doesn't bode well at all for the elephants.
The primary did confirm that BOC 1 is still very much a Republican stronghold as Stan Edwards, running unopposed, collected twice as many votes as the combined total of both the Dems running.
The numbers are naturally tighter in the in-town 5th district as incumbent Ronnie Cowan garnered 17% more votes than the aggregate amount of all three Democratic candidates.
We discussed BOC 3 last week, but again - it's surprising that political newcomer Alana Sanders won w/ a 59/41 split over a 3-term incumbent that was at least fairly liked, seemed to work hard & by all accounts really cared about the job & her constituents. However, there have been grumblings about Nancy over the years for maybe being a little timid at times, waiting to see which way the wind was blowing. And, honestly, that's a fair point.
The Final Analysis
So going back to the lede (and I'm sure there at least a few folks cussin' me for click baiting), I'm not ready to say the goose is cooked for the GOPers in the home county just yet, and there are a few reasons for that.
In two races this primary, BOC 3 & BOC 5, on the Dem side you had a concerted effort of trying to get traditional republican voters to cross over to vote for both Nancy Shulz & Casey Duren, respectively. I've spoken with folks who did this personally, and it was very much a thing.
Didn't help Nancy though (don't think anything would've; politically speaking, she was a dead woman walking. Very interested, though, to see how much the Sanders campaign spent on this thing), and probably was key for Duren.
Regardless, this lowered the total GOP vote by at least a few hundred votes, I'm pretty positive. So, let's say 300 votes. This would make the difference more like 35%, rather than around 45%.
GOP Don't Absentee
As a rule, Democrats vote absentee more than GOP. There's no way to really quantify this number, but traditionally this is the case, and after looking over the data & reaching out to a few folks, I think it's very safe to say that this may have led to upwards of an additional 500 votes. If so, this makes the Dem advantage more like about 20-25%.
Lack of Competition
This, I believe, was the biggest factor. On the blue side, you had four hotly contested races, including US Senate. On the Red side - just one. Also, with the Sheriff's race on the GOP side, most folks felt like Ken was a lock, and I just think a whole lot of folks who normally always vote, but because of Covid 19 & the unique situation the country is in currently, just didn't feel like getting out & voting. I'm thinking this could be in the neighborhood of around a thousand votes or more. That would get the numbers much closer.
In terms of November 3rd, it's hard to say. There are so many variables. Up ticket races, especially POTUS & both Senate races, will have a major impact.
Also, what will be the reality of the situation in five months? At this rate, there's no telling what we might see. Aliens? SMOD (Sweet Meteor of Death)? The four horsemen?
It's just too early to tell, so much can happen between now & then.
You know I'll be keeping an eye on it.
Thanks for reading.
- MB McCart