Today’s special election in Occoquan is expected to have significantly lower turnout than the November 2007 General Election, and pits the ‘get out the vote’ effort of the Tom Davis political machine against a somewhat fractured push by Prince William County Democrats, with assistance from a few other Northern Virgina localities. There’s been a little bit of coverage by the local papers, but today’s edition of the Potomac News online doesn’t seem to mention that there’s an election today. Now the last minute ground game kicks into high gear, to try to push the results in what’s probably going to be a low turnout election.
In the November ‘06 election the Occoquan District was pretty solidly Republican. The Davis/Hurst and Stewart/Pandak races showed five precents pretty solidly Republican (Lake Ridge, Old Bridge, Rockledge, Bethel and Chinn), one toss-up (Mohican), and two Democrat (Occoquan and Springwoods). What makes this hill even harder for Democrats to climb is that one of their relatively strong precincts, Springwood, turns out about one-third of the number of voters as are seen in some of the Republican bastions like Lake Ridge and Rockledge. If this becomes a race based on party label, which is quite possible given that there are few defining issues which have gotten any coverage with which to differentiate between these candidates, this could easily become a twenty point blowout for the Republicans.
I’m going to give a little more credit to the campaign by the Democrats, who generally have done a pretty good job promoting their candidate, ducking tough questions, and trying to smear Mike May as a developer’s candidate. This district did go to Jim Webb, so Democrats can potentially win given the right circumstances. But with this behaving more like a Davis/Hurst race than a Allen/Webb race, with the Republicans running a solid campaign that has been error-free and generally positive. So I’m splitting the difference somewhat and projecting a seven point victory for Mike May.
If you’re an Occoquan voter, don’t take that to mean it’s not worth your time to get out there and actually vote. The potential for a surprise result is a lot higher in low-turnout elections, so make sure you get to the polls today and cast your ballot for Mike May.
UPDATE: Too Conservative is tracking turnout, and so far the turnout is pretty respectable for a special election, especially in Republican strongholds. This might be trending more towards the “blowout” scenario of a 15 point or better Mike May victory. If you’re an Occoquan voter, make sure you get to the polls to help show what a great turnout you can deliver after so many have written this off as another instance of an underwhelming 5% turnout for a special election. Prove ‘em wrong!
UPDATE 2: Not Larry Sabato projects Mike May as the winner at 3:28 PM. Looks like it must be a blowout.
UPDATE 3: Indeed, it is a blowout. Mike wins by 57-43%, fourteen percentage points, and twice the margin I anticipated. Congratulations Mike May for a great victory!
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
You can follow the discussion through the Comments feed.