Last night the tea leaves were read and Matt Hayek, Mike Wright, Terry Smith, and (barely) Dee Vanderhoef came through a voter-light Iowa City Council primary where an abysmal 7.7% of eligible voters (3,181 of 41,169 registered) turned out.
From the Press-Citizen
First the trends:
- Matt Hayek, with 70% of the vote is a force to be reckoned with. He was the hands down favorite in 22 of 25 precincts. With a centrist message, strong name recognition factor, and well-oiled campaign organization, it would be very surprising if he
wasn't elected next month.
- Mike Wright and Terry Smith's campaigns are going to have their work cut out. While it is clear that Hayek is "the force" -- Wright and Smith are on opposite ends of the spectrum, albeit both support more police officers and building and staffing a new firehouse. Past trends would favor Smith whose war chest (and potential "volunteer" corp) is likely to be higher than Wright's, but with the uncertainty of who will turn out to vote on November 6th and the Hayek Express moving fast and taking votes equally from the other candidates, Wright with focused effort could edge Smith out. Smith did well on the Southeast side of Iowa City, while Wright found his support among the more densely populated central district neighborhoods.
- Dee Vanderhoef is in serious trouble for her re-election bid. As the incumbent, Vanderhoef going into the primary had an edge over her challengers--she doesn't any more.
What Not to Conclude:
- The general election will yield the same conclusion: While it is very unlikely that the Hayek Express will be derailed, with two referendum items, one of which (the 21-only referendum) may highly impact the type of voter that turns out, it is anyone's guess who will be number two.
- Dee Vanderhoef is cooked: Mike O'Donnell in 2005 was in a similar situation and came in second. Vanderhoef, not known as a hard campaigner, will have to do more to earn the chance for another run on council.
- Brandon Ross is out of touch with voters. He got out of the gate later than the front-runners and almost made it through the primary with very limited campaign support and funds. He has a future, but will need to organize his efforts much better.