It is what it says it is.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The first attempt to untangle the mess (D)

First, a point about the R side. While I refer to the race as Foltin and the seven Dwarfs (or Dwarves?), do not take this to mean that Foltin can just waltz to the nomination. Between the geographical distribution, some somewhat recognizable names, the ideology thing (assuming there's at least one wingnut in the bunch) and the sheer number of names on the ballot, he will have to put in some effort and money to make it through. He is clearly the favorite, probably 1-3 or 2-7 in horce racing odds, but not a sure thing. Maybe his jockey will fall off or something.

Now for the adventure of the D side. Our first thoughts are that the huge field, for being a huge field, is not a weak field by any means. Discounting Lyons and Goulder for the time being, the other seven candidates should be able to pull at least six percent of the vote, which sounds a lot easier than it is in a nine person field. Figuring that the two no-names gather 2 percent between them, that is 56% of the vote accounted for. essentially, this election is how the other 44% are distributed, and what factors lead to its distribution.

Dennerrl probably maxes out between 6 and 8 percent total; he may have some base left from his 2004 Senate run, but not much. Likewise, Wolfe will do slightly better than Dannerll, due to his hard work so far and better geographic base, but it's tough to see him much above ten percent.

So, that's four candidates, about 19% of the vote. Gary Kucinich throws a monkey wrench into the plans of Sawyer and Sutton, in our opinion. A recognizable liberal name who will, as an esteemed friend and interested observer noted, win some "uninformed" votes based on last name alone. He will be a factor among the liberal base. Plus, if he is able to tap into brother Dennis' financial support network, he will have the money to have a presence. Still, things would have to break very oddly for him to threaten victory. We figure him around 11 to 13 percent. Then comes Tom Sawyer, who we project to finish a disappointing fourth. Too much of his base support has been eaten up by other candidates, and that NAFTA vote will continue to hang around his neck. His name ID will be worth about 14 to 16 percent of the vote, but he is, in many ways, less likely than Kucinich to win. If Sawyer was a real threat, the unions would put on the full court press to ensure that anyone else outpolled him.

So, six candidates, 46%. We project that the top three candidates will split just over half of the vote. Bill Grace would be in our early third slot; he has an geographic electoral base (which is difficult to say for Sutton and Cafaro), and will have at least some money, as well as the credibility that being a current office holder entails. However, he is not necessarily a skilled "people person," and should he become a threat, expect him to be labeled with the Walmart Willie tag. Still, we could see him ranging from 15 to 20 percent. If he comes in around twenty, and things break right, he can win.

Our two favorites right now are Cafaro and Sutton. This will be a battle, and if it gets too dirty, they could end up battling for second and third, should the acrimony shift votes to Grace and others. Sutton has the DC establishment behind her, some union support, and will have a decent warchest. Cafaro will have a ton of money, more union support, and (in an untold story of the campaign), is doing a good job building local establishment support. We will not hazard to make a prediction, as so much will depend on the quality of the field operations, and the resonance of each campaign's message. Our thoughts are that Sutton, although she may want to get dirty, should not, for the same reason Gephardt shouldn't have gotten nasty against Dean in Iowa 2004. Yeah, Gephardt killed Dean, but managed to destroy himself in the process. Winner will be first to 25%, we'd guess.

So in reality, we see this as a three person race for first (AS OF RIGHT NOW). Sutton and Cafaro co-favorites, with Grace there to pick up should Sutton and Cafaro bloody themselves too much. We'll post an analysis such as this from time to time as events and circumstances change. And obviously, we expect to be most wrong about the exact numbers... so feel free to have at our analysis, and suggest where we may be wrong.

Otherwise, consider this the weekend open thread. This week's question is, which candidate will overperform our estimate by the biggest margin? Underperform by the most? And generally, tear apart this analysis, and let's figure out, from the junkie's perspective, what this race will bring.

Have a good one,

Ohio 13 blog editors

we can be reached at ohio13 at gmail dot com

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