With seven days to go before election day the auguries in Senate District Three look bad for incumbent State Senator Loranne Ausley. The stars are aligned for Republican challenger Corey Simon to take the win.
There are thirteen counties in Senate District Three. All but one county, Wakulla, have a higher percentage of Republicans voting when compared to the percentage turnout by Democratic voters. Why do I use turnout figures for analysis? It shows the eagerness to vote among the members of the two parties. It also often reflects on the organizational skills of the respective parties get-out-the-vote efforts.
We also can look at the Democratic and Republican performance numbers of the counties within the Senate District. While Gadsden, Leon, and Jefferson counties have the vast majority of voters in the District, Democrats must really turn out to offset the up to 75% to 80% a Republican will receive in the remaining ten counties.
Republican turnout among early voters is accelerating and has far surpassed Democratic turnout. Most Republicans prefer to cast their ballots at early voting locations or in person on election day. Republicans once dominated absentee ballots but have recently shifted to in person voting.
In Leon County the Republican turnout on election day is three percentage points higher than Democratic turnout. When you add the Republican early voting advantage it means close elections may end up as a Democratic loss.
The Leon County Democratic Party has focused its attention on the Mayor’s race to the exclusion of other offices. What it should have been doing is motivating Democratic voters to turnout. Instead, they are relying on an approach which has proven ineffective over the last nine election cycles.
With seven days to go and with the likelihood of a higher Republican turnout on election day, the local Democratic Party organization will have one of the worse voter turnouts per thousand voters, when compared to Republican turnout, going back to 1968.
Currently Republican turnout in Leon County is running 23 voters higher per thousand party members over the Democratic turnout. Over the last twenty years the local Democratic Party organization has relied solely on its near two-to-one voter registration advantage over Republicans rather than work to get their voters to the ballot box.
The current county Democratic Party Chair, Erik David, may actually podium as being the Chair for one of the worse Democratic turnout performances compared to the Republicans going back over the last twenty-seven elections. He already holds the 22nd worse spot but due to a lack of effort and foresight he probably can hit the 25th worse or even lower among the last 27 general elections. Of course, this disgrace will be shared among every member of the current Leon County Democratic Executive Committee (LCDEC) who sat back and allowed this to happen.
As an aside, the LCDEC when I was Chair occupies the top three podium positions in gubernatorial elections for turnout per thousand party voters over Republican turnout per thousand. The members of the LCDEC in the 1980s and 1990s were focused on turnout and winning elections. The current LCDEC seems more interested in writing policy statements while ignoring the fundamentals of effective electioneering.
Jon M. Ausman is the longest serving Chair of the Leon County Democratic Party in Leon County’s history (April 1980 to January 2000). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 850-321-7799.