All of our ElectionNerds were scared to make the case for a suprise McGinn victory tonight. (If Murray's only winning by three points after tonight's count, he's in some trouble.)
So, as someone who was actually on record predicting both that Greg Nickels would lose the 2009 primary and that McGinn would beat Joe Mallahan in the general, let me give it a shot:
Last May, during the primary, we laid out all the possible head-to-head scenarios among the top contenders.
And predicting a Murray win in the (then possible) McGinn v. Murray showdown, we wrote this:
If Murray does win tonight, the McGinn camp's attack on Planned Parenthood last week—a clear sign of frustration from Team McGinn about turncoats against their cause—will be the surest sign that we were on to something.
However, there's a looking glass version of this analysis that could also determine the race—in McGinn's favor: McGinn splinters Murray's progressive base.
Murray's ability to divide and conquer may have been blunted and may bring some surprising numbers tonight.
Here's what I mean by that: Murray will only beat McGinn tonight if his campaign extended beyond the traditional older/wealthier voter equation that has failed over and over in recent mayoral races—the classic example being Mark Sidran's loss to Greg Nickels in 2001. Murray seemed poised to extend beyond the Sidran-era base by re-activating the R-74 (pro-gay marriage) campaign team which has serious connections and clout in the progressive community.
However, the key question for Murray's operation is just how much reach the gay marriage troops had into McGinn's lefty base.
What we predicted in May in Murray's favor actually cuts two ways. If McGinn's progressive support has sapped Murray's R-74 energy (and, for sure, some prominent proponents of the gay marriage effort are on McGinn's side—UFCW Local 21 comes to mind), Murray's ability to divide and conquer may have been blunted and may bring some surprising numbers tonight.
Of course, Murray does have more progressive support than just R-74 holdovers: SEIU 775, the activist health care workers' union, backs Murray and did a mass mailer hyping Murray's pledge to raise the minimum wage.
But, flip that: SEIU 925, a sister local, did phone banking for McGinn.