In our 2011 predictions post, a reader chimed in to suggest that the old city council is the new city council—meaning members of the council up for reelection next year will win handily.

I think that’s bullshit.

Sure. Sally Clark is pretty invincible, and no one is going to beat Tom Rasmussen. Tim Burgess will probably sail. Bruce Harrell might have a fight, mostly because no one has any idea that Bruce Harrell is a member of the city council. (A caveat: Harrell got some good press during the John T. Williams protests as a mediator.) Regardless: the real council member with a bull’s-eye on her back is Jean Godden.

Now, Erica is going to come back at me and say, “But Bryce, she is BELOVED by the people that vote. She has the highest name recognition of ANYONE on the council.”

And then I will say, “Calm down.” It’s true. She was a columnist for approximately 115 years, and she’s got some followers. A poll that Erica ran back in August said Godden had the fewest “neutral or not sure” responses of any of the five candidates for re-election. So people know her better than the others.

The problem is that of the five candidates, she also had the highest unfavorable rating, and her unfavorable responses were within 0.6 percent of her favorable responses. So sure, Erica, people know her. And half of those people who know her don't like her.

And okay. I'm going to do this as tactfully as I can: Jean Godden is 79 years old. At the end of her next term (assuming her days writing about gossip carry her through this election), she will be 85 years old. She is five years older than John McCain who, you know, got absolutely no flak about his age as it relates to his electability.

Oh, and one more thing: Godden has the least cash on hand of any of the candidates—$30,000. Coming in second is—you guessed it—Bruce Harrell, and he has more than twice that amount at $73,000.

So if you ask me, Godden is in the weakest position. Does that mean she’ll lose? Not necessarily. But you've gotta concede that elections are about more than just name recognition, and the power of incumbency doesn't mean as much in city politics as it does in federal races. The reason we know this is because Mike McGinn is now our  mayor.

The bottom line: put somebody with an organized campaign who knows how to raise money up against her, and I’m willing to bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that Godden is over and out.
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