Election Day prognostications
Story by Chris Graham
We’ve come to that time of year when I try to show you how smart I think I am by efforting at making calls in local election races.
OK, so what I’m really trying to do is give us all something to chew on until the numbers start rolling in around 8 p.m. tonight.
In either case …
Local General Assembly races
24th Senate: Emmett Hanger wins laugher
Well, maybe not a laugher – a few weeks back, I saw Hanger, the Republican incumbent, breaking the 60-percent mark in his three-way race with Democrat David Cox and Libertarian Arin Sime.
I think he’ll still end up somewhere in the mid to upper 50s tonight, but I expect turnout will be pretty weak as many voters avoid the polls out of the assumption that the race for the 24th ended on June 12 when Hanger beat back the GOP primary challenge of Scott Sayre – and a weaker turnout, in this case, should in my mind benefit the challengers to a limited degree.
I say to a limited degree because it won’t be enough to throw the election into either of their favors.
I’m saying Cox ends up somewhere in the mid-30s, leaving Sime to the 10-percent area.
If I had to criticize Cox and Sime for one thing, it would be that neither of them to me made the case that we the voters should vote for them and not for the incumbent. I know all about their positions on the issues of the day – but that’s only a small part of what you have to do to unseat a pretty well-respected incumbent like Hanger.
Treat it like a job application, and tell me why I should hire you instead of one of the other guys.
Cox and Sime, in my estimation, almost treated Hanger with a kind of reverence due someone who should be worthy of re-election by acclimation.
26th Senate: Mark Obenshain breezes
Nothing against Maxine Roles – she just couldn’t get enough going to get the state party to back her and get any kind of decent media attention.
Her goal tonight should be to break 30 percent.
26th House: No contest – Matt Lohr
Carolyn Frank’s goal might be better set at 25 percent.
27th Senate: Too close to call?
I’m hearing from my sources that the polls had Democrat Karen Schultz taking this one in a squeaker, but I just can’t get over the fact that the district is rather strong Republican.
I see Jill Vogel taking it by a small margin – and maybe maintaining control of the Senate for her party as a result.
Greater Augusta races
I’m going to stick with the Augusta and Waynesboro races and forego trying to make calls in Rockingham and Charlottesville-Albemarle – because I’ve had to devote a lot of my time to covering the nuts and bolts here in my backyard.
That’s what happens when you have a lot going on …
Beverley Manor Supervisor: Jeremy Shiffett
Upset special here – the 23-year-old whose age made him the subject of what I viewed as mean-spirited criticism from local Democrats beats back political veteran Lee Godfrey.
This is the only hard call to make tonight in the county – and even as I make this one, I’m torn, if only because I know how much effort Godfrey and local Dems put into their door-to-door effort in the Beverley Manor.
The local Republicans have been active as well – so there might be a cancelling-out factor there to consider.
Another factor – The News Leader endorsement for Shifflett. I just wonder how much of an impact that will have in the end. I think it will carry more weight given the tossup nature of the campaign.
North River Supervisor: Charles Curry
That Curry is even on the ballot is a sign of how upset people are in the North River at the position that incumbent Larry Howdyshell took on the megasite issue last year.
Pastures Supervisor: Tracy Pyles
See above regarding how this is a job-application process. Travis Smithdeal, God love him, just didn’t get across why he should get the job instead of the other guy.
Riverheads Supervisor: Nancy Sorrells
I was impressed with Michael Shull in the candidates forum that we had a couple of weeks ago – but I give the nod to Sorrells because of her supreme campaign organization.
Waynesboro Bond Referendums: All five will pass
I agree with something that bond foe Frank Lucente said to me yesterday – that low voter turnout is going to benefit the Yes cause because the special interests who want to see library improvements and a new youth baseball-softball complex, in particular, are going to make sure to get their voters to the polls, while there doesn’t seem to be a countereffort ongoing on the No side.
What will be interesting to watch is what kind of impact a Yes vote would have on next May’s city elections …
Stay tuned there.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.