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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

District 1: spoiler alert!

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Obviously, anyone can see that city council district 1 incumbent Darlene Harris survived yesterday's election largely because her opposition was split three ways. The county's unofficial vote tally reads thusly:

Bobby Wilson: 490
Vince Pallus: 1,487
Darlene M. Harris:1,591
Steven P. Oberst: 279

So Pallus, the mayoral-backed contender, lost by just over 100 votes. If you assume that Oberst and wilson's supporters would find a way to vote against Darlene Harris one way or the other, then Pallus probably wins this race if either Oberst or Wilson drops out. To win this race, in fact, Pallus would need only half the voters that either of the other candidates got.

When you drill down into the ward-by-ward totals, the anguish must be even worse for Team Ravenstahl. In most of the district, Oberst especially was almost a complete non-factor. In 32 out of 38 districts, he polled in the single digits, getting a goose-egg in three of them. The one exception was in Ward 27 -- particularly the portion of that ward that lies in Brighton Heights. Oberst got three-quarters of his votes -- a total of 206 -- from Ward 27 alone. The vast majority of those were from Brighton Heights. 

That was bad news for Pallus, who lives in Brighton Heights, and whose political strength was concentrated there. Ravenstahl has both personal and political roots in the area; Ward 27 chair Kevin Quigley is a Ravenstahl employee.

Not surprisingly, Pallus did do well there -- by my count he won 10 out of 13 precincts in the 27th ward. But with Oberst bleeding off votes, Pallus couldn't generate enough support on his own home turf to carry the district. Just getting half of Oberst's Ward 27 support, plus one vote, would have put Pallus in a tie with Harris. That's how close Team Ravenstahl came to toppling her.

Of course, Bobby Wilson earned a lot more votes than Oberst, but his impact was much more evenly distributed, geographically speaking. 

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