Yesterday, King County released the precinct level results of the August primary. I’ve created a database of the results. Obviously, the most interesting race of all was the one that narrowed the large field of candidates for mayor down to the last two. Who, as we all know, are Mike McGinn and Ed Murray.
Though I’ve collected all of the data, I haven’t yet gotten into it very deeply. Eventually, I hope to create map representations of the results. More on that (I hope) later.
My first shallow dive into the numbers involves the 43rd Legislative District, in which I reside. Not only is the 43rd one of the two LDs that are entirely within the city of Seattle (the other is the 36th), it’s also Ed Murray’s home territory. Ed received the sole endorsement of the 43rd District Democrats, and you’d expect it to be the center of his electoral strength.
Overall, the official outcome of the primary was:
- Ed Murray ….. 42,314 (29.8%)
- Mike McGinn ….. 40,501 (28.6%)
- Peter Steinbrueck ….. 22,913 (16.2%)
- Bruce Harrell ….. 21,580 (15.2%)
- Charlie Staadecker ….. 6,288 (4.4%)
- Doug McQuaid ….. 2,546 (1.8%)
- Kate Martin ….. 2,479 (1.7%)
- Mary Martin ….. 1,498 (1.1%)
- Joey Gray ….. 1,318 (0.9%)
- Write-ins ….. 334 (0.2%)
Turnout within the city was 35.0%, but 2,535 of the 144,306 who cast ballots in Seattle didn’t even bother to choose a mayoral candidate. Murray led McGinn by 1,813 votes, 1.2% of the valid votes.
Obviously, then, Ed must have done much better in home sweet home than the rest of the city. Right?
In a word, no.
Oh, he pulled in more votes than McGinn, but not by much. Here’s what happened in the 43rd:
- Ed Murray ….. 10,959 (33.9%)
- Mike McGinn ….. 10,638 (32.9%)
- Peter Steinbrueck ….. 5,117 (15.8%)
- Bruce Harrell ….. 2,994 (9.3%)
- Charlie Staadecker ….. 1,173 (3.6%)
- Kate Martin ….. 448 (1.4%)
- Doug McQuaid ….. 342 (1.1%)
- Joey Gray ….. 304 (0.9%)
- Mary Martin ….. 280 (0.9%)
- Write-ins ….. 67 (0.2%)
Ed beat Mike in his home LD by a mere 321 votes, a tiny bit under 1% of the ballots. Mayor McGinn actually led the count in 118 of the 43rd’s 209 precincts, far ahead of Murray’s 83 precincts won. The two tied for the lead in another five precincts. The rest of the LD’s precincts were a Harrell/Murray tie (McGinn in third place) and a win apiece for Charlie Staadecker and Peter Steinbrueck (M and M were 2nd and 3rd in both).
From what I know of the distribution of precincts within the 43rd, it appears that McGinn was strong in Fremont and Phinney, perhaps Wallingford as well. But he also won precincts in Capitol Hill. However, my cursory examination of the 43rd doesn’t account for the magnitude of a candidate’s advantage in a particular precinct. In the precinct-level analysis, a one-vote advantage in a small precinct counts just as much as an overwhelming lead in a large one.
Along with mapping, I also plan to examine the pairwise comparison between McGinn and Murray, ignoring the other candidates. Concurrently, I might look at how the two did in precincts won by someone else — who did better in precincts where Harrell or Steinbrueck did best in the primary?
I’m not saying that these results show strongly positive indications for Mayor McGinn; it’s still Ed Murray’s election to lose. But what we see here indicates that the script of the one-on-one race for November may not match pre-primary (or even data-free post-primary) expectations.