Landslide Lyn

LewisLynwood Lewis leads Wayne Coleman by just 22 votes after yesterday’s special election in the 6th Senate. While I said on the radio last week that I expected a close race, I didn’t expect it to be this close. In fact, my Election-eve calculations had Lewis winning 56% – 44%. Obviously, I need to spend some time trying to figure out what happened.

The big takeway, as I compare my estimates to the results, is that turnout was much, much higher than I thought it would be. I figured just over 10%, but it ended up being almost 20%. And while I accounted for the differences between turnout in the various localities, I was surprised by the lack of turnout in Norfolk.

If the outcome holds, you can best believe Lewis will have a huge target on his back in 2015.

In the meantime, keep those recount rules handy.

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13 thoughts on “Landslide Lyn

  1. Norfolk turnout was down and Mathews turnout was up. I knew Coleman would get a ton of money since the GOP wanted to win this seat to keep their slight majority, and that would keep it closer than 55-45, but had no idea it would be a nailbiter. Lewis should be better in a normal off-off year election turnout in 2015, but sure he’ll have a target on his back. He may want get to know folks in the Ocean View area a bit better as well.

    1. I don’t know how you get that turnout in Norfolk was down. The much more likely explanation is that a good number of the swing voters who went for Jim McDonnell in November (he won Ghent/Larchmont) decided to go for Wayne Coleman as well. Barclay Winn’s endorsement definitely played a roll in that.

      1. My little OV precinct (507 Pretlow) flipped between the Nov 13 general for his House of Delegates seat and this special. Lewis got 57.7% of 868 in November versus 47.4% of 365 yesterday, with participation down from 37% to 14%. Troubling, and probably can’t blame it all on the weather.

  2. One explanation could be that the Coleman campaign got off quickly, used paid media to attempt to define Lewis, while the Lewis campaign was all but invisible, aside from a few mailings from Planned Parenthood and related groups speaking to women’s health issues. Would also agree that Barclay Winn’s endorsement letter helped Coleman in Norfolk.

  3. I figured Lewis would underperform in Norfolk, since he only got 59% against an independent (who raised no money) there last year, but wow, this was a pitiful performance overall. I can’t believe Lewis, the Accomack County native, lost Accomack County, and he barely did better in Norfolk than Creigh Deeds did in 2009 when he lost the district 54-46.

    1. One factor may have been that the final bullet in his TV spot was (paraphrasing) “he worked to eliminate the death tax.”
      The “death tax,” of course, is a Republican framing. I doubt that it shifted many (any?) Republican-leaning independents. It’s also not something that will fire up the base to get out to vote in a special on the coldest day of the year. To the contrary, the base’s reaction may have been “Oh, so he’s that kind of Democrat. Meh.”

  4. My thoughts are that Lynwood did not exactly thrill the world with his bi-partisan message in his tv ads. he should have ran a two headed campaign. a rural and an urban message. The Norfolk voters needed to know he would vote more progressively and lean liberal. they had no reason to be thrilled when a commercial airs and says he is bi-partisan and not a Democrat. The red counties do not buy into the bipartisan ship so why should the democrats. This almost cost us the Senate and based on my experiences with recounts in Newport News and around the state the 10 vote lead is fragile at best. We will be counting red votes, not blue ones. Norfolk used the DRE which doesn’t allow for finding many votes. Look for those counties who used optical scan to pick up votes for one of the candidates. I’m praying

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