Curious to see how other TT posters see this race shaking out. My thoughts:
- I see four main contenders (Finkbeiner, Bell, Drabik-Collins, and Hicks-Hudson) and two more distant outsiders (Ferner and Spang,) plus Opal Covey all by herself with a handful of protest/lunatic votes.
- I think Drabik-Collins and Hicks-Hudson will split evenly the majority of the Democratic diehards, with Finkbeiner drawing some and Ferner snaking a few.
- I see Carty drawing enough of the old Carty Army to make this a real horse race, but even his most diehard supporters have to question his energy. Still, in my neighborhood I see sh'loads of Carty signs, so he could end up squeaking this out.
- I think Bell will siphon the vast majority of Republican voters (maybe 75 percent), plus pulling perhaps 20 percent of the African American voters. Finkbeiner and Spang will carve up the rest of the GOP voters. Bell has also been getting a ton of radio promos from Andy Stuart on the airwaves; I have probably heard more Stuart ads for Bell than any other candidate.
- The TV ads for Paula Hicks-Hudson are odd, and they do not seem professionally produced. There is some strange music playing in the background, and the ads are uninspiring. Same goes for the Drabik-Collins ads: murky message and a lack of professional production value. Carty's ads are predictable, but they at least are focused, coherent, and relatively slick. The few Bell TV ads I have seen are reasonably effective, but not especially memorable. I do not think media buys are going to significantly affect the percentages, though in what looks like a close race, the eventual winner might lead by only 1,000 votes or so.
- I see the final percentages as follows:
- Bell: 23 percent
- Drabik-Collins: 22 percent
- Finkbeiner: 22 percent
- Hicks-Hudson: 18 percent
- Spang: 9 percent
- Ferner: 5 percent
- Covey: >1 percent (sorry Opal: looks like the Anti-Opal Conspiracy will steal another election from you. Better luck next time).
Bottom line: I think the dilution of the Democratic vote (three legitimate contenders plus Ferner) favors Bell.
(Note to partisan Kool-Aid drinkers: just forecasting here in this post, not shilling for anyone. If you did not see your favorite candidate winning in my projection, don't whine about how I am part of the effort to tear down [Candidate X])