Wednesday, November 05, 2008

McCarthy in lead for Pierce County Executive race

In the hotly contested Pierce County Executive race, Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy (D-Tacoma) has a solid lead Pierce County Councilmember Shawn Bunney (R-Bonney Lake) after the allocation of the second choices of Pierce County Councilmember Calvin Goings' (D-Puyallup) and Tacoma City Councilmember Mike Lonergan's (E-Tacoma) supporters.

The vote count had a couple of surprises in the preliminary Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) results. Lonergan, running as the Executive Excellence candidate, had a very strong showing of 14+% of the first choices in the four-way RCV race. This is quite a strong showing for a third party candidate in such a crowded field.

More surprising was that Lonergan supporters gave more second choices to McCarthy than to Bunney. Since Lonergan made a valiant effort to run as a Republican, many guessed most of his supporters would list Bunney as a second choice. In early results, this was not true. If McCarthy continues to receive most of Lonergan's supporters second choices, she is the likely winner.

Calvin Goings endorsed Pat McCarthy as his second choice, but many of his more active supporters bashed McCarthy for accepting the endorsement of the Master Builders Association of Pierce County. Despite the animosity between the two camps, McCarthy is receiving 79% of Goings supporters' second choices.

The combination of Lonergan and Goings supporters' second choices looks like it will be enough for McCarthy to overcome Bunney's lead in first choices. More votes need to be counted, but this is a strong lead.



At 12:55 AM, Anonymous Joseph Lonergan said...

It would seem many didn't read your message about throw-away votes. It will take some time for people to change their mindset on that issue as they adapt to the RCV world. So many people I have talked to have told me of friends or family (and some have admitted to it themself) who really liked Mike Lonergan the best, but didn't think he could win, so they didn't put him first. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. But they were afraid of casting a throw-away vote. The News Tribune seemed to do it to when they pointed to concerns about their two endorsement choices and only could point to Lonergan's lack of a major party backing as their reason for not endorsing him.

That way of thinking makes sense in traditional voting like the presidential contest - Ralph Nadar is likely not worth voting for, not because he isn't a good candidate per se, but because your vote has virtually no chance of going anywhere - there aren't enough others voting with you and you don't get a second chance to impact the outcome. But in the RCV setting it doesn't get a second and a third (and in time, fourth, fifth, sixth...) choice.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Kelly Haughton said...

Joseph - While I agree it will take time for voters to adjust to the new system, Mike Lonergan, a third party candidate, received over 14% of the first choice votes in a four way race. This is an impressive showing for a third party candidate in this state.


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