Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brad Chism's Post-Runoff Analysis

From Brad Chism of Zata 3, a political consulting firm serving Democrats and progressive organizations, here is an interesting analysis of the Democratic runoff for Jackson Mayor:


We’ve had lots of calls and emails asking for a post election analysis. Attached are maps that tell the story well. Here’s our Monday-morning quarterback analysis about the margin of victory. And yes, here too is my admission that I had no clue that the margin of victory would be so large.

We started with two credible candidates in the runoff—Black AND White voters would agree that both were capable of running the city (as contrasted with several other candidates on the ballot on May 2nd) No matter who won, we would be better off.

Frank Melton had been vanquished in the Primary. One cynic observed to me that NE Jackson “had won” already. The anti-Melton angst was satiated. White voter turnout lagged in the runoff.

Harvey Johnson had been Jackson’s first Black Mayor. He wasn’t beaten four years ago because he was too close to White business leaders or had embarrassed the city. Johnson lost to a rock star financed with a wad of cash from NE Jackson.

Johnson was, and continues to be, a likeable fellow. Black voters didn’t despise Johnson in 2005. They just thought they had traded up.

Harvey Johnson had a very compelling stump speech and a theme that resonated. “I believe in second chances. I believe in a second-chance God…” How does one counter that without coming off as cold and unforgiving?

Johnson could point to several tangible projects that began under his watch that had come to fruition, mitigating the criticism that he had been ineffective.

There wasn’t enough of a visual contrast between the “Old vs. New” between Johnson and Crisler. The former mayor was 62 years old, not 82. He had a great line to deflect the criticism. “I know I am sixty two because I do 62 push ups every morning…”

In the end, the vote was more racially polarized than any of us would have hoped. But I suspect that over the past four years Mr. Johnson has thought a lot about the necessity of an inclusive approach to governing.

All the best



Kingfish said...

no one saw it coming?

right. That is BS.

Jim Craig said...

Fair enough, Kingfish.

Kingfish said...

He does 62 push-ups every morning. 62 times he pushes up a piece of bacon or biscuits & gravy to his mouth every morning.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Chism poll the two Fridays before the runoff? Let's see if you greenhorns can figure it out.