Election 2013 Results!
The results are in! And show why party designation for municipal candidates should be scrapped...
So, the (super unofficial) election results are in, and there weren't many surprises:
- Kathy Dahlkemper beat Don Tucci 56-42 (tho' I'm surprised Tucci had so much support).
- Andre Horton won the County Council District 2 seat (46 percent) over Ned Smith (27) and "write-in" – presumably Lisa Austin – (25).
- Dave Brennan (21 percent), Curtis Jones (20), Kaz Kwitowski (20), and Jim Winarski (20) won city council seats. The odd man out was John Evans, who garnered only 16 percent of the vote.
- John Loomis (68 percent) won the Sheriff election over Eddie Whiteman (31).
- And there were, of course, all the unopposed candidates. Erie County Council, 4th District (Brenneman), Count Council 6th District (DiMattio), Erie Mayor (Sinnott), Corry Mayor (Migliaccio), etc & co.
- The judge race between Bob Sambroak and Bill Kelly was close until the end, when Sambroak pulled out a relatively easy victory, winning 57 percent to 42. But maybe the evening's tightest race saw John DiPlacido edge out Lou Aliota for the fourth and final Millcreek School District spot.
All-in-all, things went pretty much the way you thought they would...with some exceptions. To wit:
- Was anybody else surprised that John Evans didn't win a seat in the city council? Evans, a Republican, was an appointee to the council – and by all accounts exemplified himself in understanding and dealing with city finances during his council stint. And he was certainly and obviously better qualified for the job than some other candidates on the ballot.
Evans in this case would seem to be a victim of party politics. Erie is a Democratic town, and Evans is a Republican. Which irks me. I'm a firm believer that municipal candidates shouldn't have party designations – after all, potholes have no party affiliation. Ridding our city candidates of party affiliation might force people to actually scrutinize candidates' records, abilities.
- Which brings us right to that ridiculous voting option, the "Straight Party" button. Basically, a voter can select the party of their choice, have the machine select all the candidates running under that party, and then be finished. The problem here is obvious: good candidates don't always conform to party. And nearly 13,000 Erie county voters selected that button – that's out of 55,000 total voters, which comes to about 1 in every 4 voters.
Not only does the Straight Party option hurt good Republicans in this town, it also hurts write-in candidates.
- Which brings us to the next surprise: Lisa Austin's impressive showing as a write-in candidate in the Erie County Council District 2 race. Horton won the race handily, but Austin nearly beat out the Republican in that race, Ned Smith. Write-in votes for the District 2 race totaled 1,442 -- Smith won 1,563.
Austin's campaign was essentially doomed from the start. Write-in candidates just don't win major elections. There are too many factors working against them. It's hard enough to get the name recognition you need when your name appears on the ballot -- but getting people to actively remember your name as they head into the polls, expecting them to understand how to write in a name on the ballot, and having them spell your name correctly...those are too many hurdles. That Austin got upward of 1,000 District voters to do so was impressive.