The Seattle Times has a post up today reporting that King County Elections is predicting a small turnout for the August 6 primary. The Times adds, based on who voted in the last mayoral election year primary in 2009, that it'll also be an older turnout.
They leave it at that.
I have a piece coming out in the magazine later this month that looked at the same data and drew a conclusion:
Winner, former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck.
Not only are older voters likely to be more in sync with Steinbrueck's message about moderating the supposed rush into urbanism, but they're also the voters who are familar with his once-iconic name.
While there may eventually be a ceiling on that bloc of voters—which means Steinbrueck's lagging position in fundraising could prevent him from building beyond that constituency—it's a constituency that could be enough to carry him to the second round against incumbent Mike McGinn, who seems likely to go through.
In its above-the-fold story yesterday, the Times boiled it down to a likely McGinn vs. Ed Murray matchup in November.
Murray, in particular, has hammered at McGinn for “the politics of division,” citing the mayor’s first-term fights with state officials over the waterfront tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and with the Department of Justice over police reform.
The fate of the candidates in a likely low-turnout midsummer primary is difficult to predict. But there are signs lately of a brewing McGinn versus Murray feud that could be a preview of a November matchup.
Murray has racked up a string of high-profile endorsements in recent weeks, including from former King County Executive Ron Sims, City Councilmember Tim Burgess and City Attorney Pete Holmes.
A political-action committee has been formed by civic insiders, including Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce CEO Maud Daudon, to raise cash in support of Murray’s mayoral bid. As a PAC, the group won’t be bound by the $700-per-donor limit to city candidates and can raise unlimited donations.
However, they should draw some conclusions from their post today about the primary data points and reassess.
My piece for the mag begins like this:
It’s mayoral primary season! Which, for the less civic minded of you (and, okay, some of us) begs the question, Who actually votes in those things? The answer: not young people. In Seattle’s 2009 primary, just under 10 percent of voters were between the ages of 18 and 35, while a full third were 65 and older.
So if you’re handicapping this election’s nine candidates, that fact greatly favors Peter Steinbrueck ...
Footnote: I'm not counting Murray or Bruce Harrell out. The fact that they've got a big cash advantage on Steinbrueck takes him down a peg. But it raises a real dilemma for them: Should they spend their money on likely primary voters who are already conducive to Steinbrueck's message or should they spend their money reaching voters who are more likely to go their way, but aren't proven primary voters?