Updated 5:15 p.m.:
The conventional wisdom about what fueled the Democratic beatdown of Charlotte Republicans on Tuesday comes up short.
Scott Stone, the Republican who lost badly to Mayor Anthony Foxx, told the Observer, “It really came down to turning out their vote. We didn’t turn out ours.”
Wrong. Republicans turned out fine. There just aren’t enough of them, and they aren’t as unified around their candidates as Democrats are around theirs.
Get this: Of the 10 Charlotte precincts with the highest percentage voter turnout Tuesday, nine are considered Republican-friendly. And of the 10 Charlotte precincts with the lowest turnout, nine are friendlier to Democrats.
UPDATE: The Board of Elections is still totaling the official numbers, but unofficial totals suggest the turnout rate for Democrats was 19.2 percent; for Republicans 18.9 percent and for unaffiliated voters, 11 percent.
The problem for the GOP is that there are almost twice as many Democrats as Republicans within the city limits: 236,657 to 121,765.
Republicans’ other problem: Democrats tend to vote more loyally for their party. In precincts that had twice as many Republicans as Democrats, Stone beat Foxx by 50 votes here, 80 votes there. But in precincts that had twice as many Democrats as Republicans, Foxx beat Stone by 200 votes here, 300 votes there.
The same pattern hurt Republican City Council member Edwin Peacock, who was blindsided by one Beth Pickering, who raised almost no money and about whom most voters knew little. To take just one example, in Precinct 13 in First Ward, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-1, all four Democrats crushed Peacock. By comparison, at Republican-dominated Precinct 18 at Eastover Elementary, Democrat Patrick Cannon beat one Republican, almost beat another and was only 127 votes out of second place behind Peacock.
Winning by a little in Republican precincts and losing by a lot in Democratic precincts doesn't add up for the GOP.
Voter turnout was low. But it was low across the city. There's little evidence that even double the turnout would have done anything to help Republicans.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Updated 5:15 p.m.: