Turnout in the 25th, and the projected winner

The media coverage is wrapping up. The endorsements seem like they’re done coming in. It’s time for the select few of us to do our duty and trickle out to the polls on Tuesday to choose a 25th House District Democratic Party nominee.

I’ve been projecting turnout in the 25th primary at around 500 or 600 voters, but after taking another look at the numbers from the last couple of Democratic Party primaries I’m wondering if even that might be wishful thinking.

Turnout in the 2005 Democratic Party lieutenant-governor primary in the Valley was in the .70 percent to 1 percent range, which would translate to between 350 and 500 votes in the 25th based on the current total of registered voters in the district at 52,000 here four years later.

It should be noted that there was a competing Republican Party primary in 2005 that drew closer to 3 percent of all registered voters to the polls to vote for GOP candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

In 2006, the turnout for the Democratic Party Senate primary between Jim Webb and Harris Miller was closer to 2 percent, which would get us up to the 1,000-vote mark in the 25th if we were to see a similar turnout tomorrow.

I’m not getting the sense that we’re going to have an ’06 turnout here in the Valley, given the relative lack of interest of the statewide candidates in campaigning in Western Virginia this primary season, and the utter inability of 25th District candidates Greg Marrow and Jim Noel to get any traction in the local news media until the last few days.

Maybe the last-minute flurry of attention will get us to … ahem … 2 percent. Even then, we’re deciding our nominee on the strength of 1,000 voters, with 500 or so being enough to send either Marrow or Noel to November to face incumbent State Del. Steve Landes.

The worry for the campaigns has to be that the few of us who make our way out to the polls on Tuesday will be decently versed on the gubernatorial candidates, a little less so on the people running for the lieutenant-governor nomination, and less so or not at all on the 25th race. Expect a signficant percentage of undervotes, maybe 10 percent or more, and an otherwise indeterminate number of guesses.




The call on this one I think is obvious. Marrow in a landslide. He’s the only one of the two who has taken the race seriously. Noel left town for a planned vacation a couple of weeks ago. I would say famously left town if anybody had been paying attention.

The Marrow side has been doing all the little things – canvassing, phone banks, etc. – and doing them well. If he doesn’t get 90 percent of the vote in the primary, I’d be surprised.



– Column by Chris Graham

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