Predicting the Danville election results

There are a little over two weeks before Danville, KY voters go to the polls to choose a new mayor, city commission, and a slew of county officers. Political science research can help shed some light into who might win next month.

While research on local elections is not nearly as extensive (or definitive) as research on national elections in the U.S., there are some clear trends that have been discovered. The three largest factors that determine the results of local municipal elections in the U.S. are: 1) incumbency, 2) endorsements, and 3) fund-raising. We can use these to make some tentative predictions.

First: incumbency. Currently, Commissioners Caudill, Hamner, and Crowley are the incumbents running for reelection. Commissioner Gay is not technically the incumbent in the mayoral race, but he’s currently serving on the commission. Bernie Hunstad, on the other hand, is the newcomer.

Second: endorsements. While The Advocate-Messenger has yet to make any official endorsements this election cycle, I am aware that Commissioner Gay has been endorsed by both the Danville Professional Firefighters Association as well as the Centre College Democrats. Perhaps there are other endorsements out there, but I am not aware of them.

Third: fund-raising. In local elections, the number of yard signs is usually a pretty good indicator of fund-raising. If that’s the case, it’s safe to imagine that Commissioners Caudill, Hamner, and Crowley, as well as Norma Gail Louis, hold the edge in the fund-raising battle. My impression is that J.H. Atkins has a lower level of financial resources devoted to the campaign, and that James Cline, T-Y Isaacs, and Ryan Montgomery have little, if any, resources to speak of, as I have yet to see a yard sign or advertisement for any of the three of them. On the mayoral side, my impression is that Gay and Hunstad are about evenly matched.

Finally, there are the results of the May primary vote. In a three-way race, Jamie Gay received 50.2% and Bernie Hunstad received 47%.

Based on these four factors, I tentatively predict that Gay will win the mayoral race, but by a fairly close margin. I am also going to more confidently predict that Caudill, Hamner, Crowley, and Louis will win the four city commissioner seats by a wide margin, with J.H. Atkins coming in a distant fifth.

Don’t forget to show up to the candidate forums this week being sponsored by the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce: http://www.amnews.com/stories/2010/10/16/loc.269151.sto

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