Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gigi McClure didn't do well enough in Jeff Davis' territory to win


Other than Renata Rollins winning a seat on the Olympia City Council, Gigi McClure doing so poorly is probably the most surprising result of the last election. Her military logistics background easily translated into an argument for an institutionalist kind of candidate that would bring peace to the port commission. From one angle she looked like a sort of proto Bill McGregor, whose decades in port operations across western Washington is the main element of his campaigns.

But, as McGregor seems to be squeezing out a close win in his race, McClure was beaten handily by incumbent E.J. Zita. While Zita herself had a close race against institutionalist Joe Downing Jerry Farmer (who is also this guy) two years ago, two years on the commission obviously gave her at least a small incumbents edge.

But, most interesting is the geography of where McClure essentially lost this race, where she did a poor job recreating McGregor's map.




On this map, the darkest colors are where McClure did worse compared to McGregor. When you zoom in you see a lot of the same precincts that McClure did the poorest in compared to McGregor are the same ones that Jeff Davis won in against Sue Gunn four years ago. In the same way that McClure was the institutionalist against Zita, Davis was the institutionalist against Gunn in 2013.

Davis' best precincts were in a band of suburban neighborhoods around the more dense areas in northern Thurston County, these are the areas around Yelm Highway and College that make a broad loop around the older parts of the county.

During the recent episode of The Olympia Standard, I made a quick assessment of why McClure didn't match McGregor, but I'm not totally sure I was right. I said that her penchant to equate port protestors with terrorists probably didn't play very well in the suburbs. I think this is still true and I'm also sure that Zita's incumbency had some play in results too. But I'm expanding my thinking. I'll let you know when I get back anything interesting.

Monday, November 13, 2017

2017 election lesson number 2: How the Oly Progressives boxed them in


This post will play off my last one where I talked about how the power elites (a term coined by Steve Salmi at Green Pages to describe non-progressive or transactional candidates) could not expand their geography after the August primary. What was the most important geography for the slate of progressive candidates in Olympia, especially compared to other recent progressive candidates?

Before I start (again), here is some deeper reading for you (again):

Here are all the spreadsheets and map I've been working from. The data is from only a day or two after the election, so as counts march on, things will change obviously. But in terms of making maps, I think these will more or less stand pat.

For further reference, Adam Peterson did some really great shapefile based maps that he posted to Thurston Progressives.

Marco Ross ran for mayor against Cheryl Selby in 2015. He is the most recent progressive candidate for city council and I'm using his results to compare to this year's successful slate.

Literally, the answer to where they did better is: everywhere in Olympia. The smallest margin of difference between the average progressive percentage two years ago and this year was 14 percent. But even taking that into consideration, there is still a geographic story to tell.


So what I did with this map was isolate the top 14 of 57 precincts (in total) by how much better they did this year than two years ago:




What I see is a band of precincts above the SE Olympia core along the highway on the Eastside (extending to a couple on the westside. Then a series of precincts running up the spine of the upper Eastside and then a few out on the rim of the city.

Progressive candidates this year did do well everywhere, but where they did best was not in their core areas along the water or inside the SE Olympia bubble of their opponents. They carved out their greatest success between the two geographic powerbases along the interstate and then in far outside neighborhoods.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

2017 election lesson 1: Olympia power elites really were boxed in

Where atmforcouncil failed
After Tuesday's election, I did my typical copy and paste job on the precinct-level data and came up with a handful of lessons on local Thurston County politics. I talked about these maps in the latest episode of The Olympia Standard. But because visuals like maps don't play well over the podcast, I'm putting them up here.

Before I start, here is some deeper reading for you:

Here are all the spreadsheets and map I've been working from. The data is from only a day or two after the election, so as counts march on, things will change obviously. But in terms of making maps, I think these will more or less stand pat.

For further reference, Adam Peterson did some really great shapefile based maps that he posted to Thurston Progressives.

Back in August, after some concern that the progressive candidates really wouldn't have a good time in November, I predicted that "power elite" candidates like Allen Miller and Jeanine Roe (and likely Max Brown) wouldn't be able to break out of their friendly SE Olympia neighborhoods to find a majority in November. By "power elite," I'm borrowing a phrase coined by Steve Salmi over at Green Pages when he described the August results.

And, this happened because most of the places were Miller in particular picked up better percentages in November were places he already did well, as illustrated by this map.



Miller picked up more votes along the edges of town, places similar and including his SE Olympia power base. He lost support as a percentage throughout most of Olympia, towards the center of town in older, more walkable neighborhoods.


Compared to Brown and Miller, Jeanine Roe did better, but still not well enough to keep her seat. This map shows where she did better than Miller and Brown, which was slightly further in than the edge of town, making second ring neighborhoods more competitive.