Monday, November 5, 2007

The Reality of the Challenger: Dan Gecker

We have a little bit of history here that we can use. The candidates seeking the Supervisor position for Midlothian will face off for the second time in a year. In 2006, Don Sowder the incumbant earned 11,741 votes to Dan Geckers 10,166 who back then running as a Democrat.

The challenge for Dan Gecker will be to overcome where his campaign misfired in 2006.

One of the major factors in his favor this cycle is there are no real issues outside of these elections themselves to draw out those who otherwise may plan to vote. In 2006, there was the hotly contested Senate race between George Allen (R) and James Webb (D) as well as the proposed Marriage Amendment that drew Republicans to the polls in the District.

The Gecker campaign may just be banking on lesser turnout in the three highly Republican areas; 503-Midlothian, 507-Salisbury, 510-Sycamore and 514-Watkins. That said however, one can not underestimate to role that Roseland, Watkins Center and the commercial growth west of Sycamore Square may have at the polls on Tuesday.

If you look at the 2006 results, the challenger must leverage the areas where he secured a potential base for this cycle:

Dan Gecker secured:

501- Huguenot (+60)
502- Crestwood (+225)
513 Beaufont (+12)
515-Davis (+200)

He must leverage these and not lose ground here if he is to offset some of the areas Sowder secured rather handily in 2006.

Don Sowder:

503- Midlothian (+600)
504- Robious (+100)
505-Bon Air (+200)
506-Greenfield (+10)
507- Salisbury (+300)
508- Belgrade (+150)
509-Cranbeck (+70)
510-Sycamore (+300)
511- Black Heath (+150)
514- Watkins (+250)

Don Sowder needs to consolidate his gains in the larger areas that have proven to be historically Republican if he is to hold onto his seat on the Board.

Dan Gecker's campaign seems to have focused on the corridor extending from his Crestwood base into Bon Air and up Huguenot as well as along Robious that would expose his message to Greenfield and Cranbeck voters. It seems as if he is playing these areas in a manner to offset the votes in the heavily 2006 Republican areas.

Whether or not this apparent tactic is successsful depends almost entirely on turnout. If turnout is higher than expected it turns out into a numbers game where the areas of Midlothian, Salisbury, Sycamore and Watkins have the advantage. If turnout is lower and there is enough apathy amongst voters than that would certainly benefit the Gecker campaign.

Another important thing to remember is there was a significantnumber of voters who voted in Midlothian last cycle in the Senate race but did NOT cast a ballot for Supervisor. For whatever reason these folks determined not to vote in the race last year. Will they return this time around and influence the turnout? The answer remains to be seen.

Canvassing seems to point that the race for the areas Gecker needs, especially in the Greenfield and Cranbeck areas along Robious Road that the race is tight, but with the unanswered questions regarding the erosion questions of Old Indian Road in Greenfield subdivisions and Settlers Landing along with the extention of Cranbeck Road for the future site of a Costco Store many residents are still undecided. There not many direct "growth"issues in this area that need to be addressed but these are two things that both campaigns missed in terms of an opportunity to take clear possession of the votes. It has been my experience that if folks are undecided at this point the eve before the election, they tend to vote their formed conscience, which in this case in this area normally means they will lean Republican. There is of course no real data on this and it is purely my opinion of voter personality from listening to citizens.

The simple fact is the challenger has to make the case for change and in Midlothian where allegiances run high you better have communicate a defined vision if you hope to reach the undecideds at the polls.

The challenger could in fact make in roads into Sowders top areas of 2006 and that certainly would help his cause as well in his bid to unseat the incumbant. I think however it is most likely that Gecker will gain some votes in 504-Robious, 505-Bon Air, 508-Belgrade, 509-Cranbeck and 506-Greenfield and performed better in these areas than in did in 2006 as a percentage.


Anonymous said...

Very light at the polls this morning in Bon Air compared to last year. Maybe due to weather early this morning with rain but voted same time last year and it was much heavier.

Bob Olsen said...

Light turn out this morning in Salibury I am usually the first voter. Last fall when the polls opened ther were 20 people waiting to vote. This morning there were 4

Anonymous said...

Co-workers at the hospital said there was a line to open the polls in Matoaca this morning. I voted at Midlo Middle and thought it was steady, not light but any means. As I was leaving there were about twenty more cars pulling in around the bus loop.

Anonymous said...

Loupassi seen at Salisbury polls early this morning. Turnout lighter than 2006 by 9am.

John said...


Did a drive by the polls and found Greenfield and Robious to be the heavier stations. Cranbeck was very light but is a smaller polling station by numbers of voters. Midlothian was full of cars as well and looked busy this morning. Belgrade appeared very light with just the pollsters outside.

Anonymous said...

A source said at 11:00 Thomas Dale voting was moderate according to poll workers

Anonymous said...

Watkins and Davis holding steady throughout the lunch time vote.
Democrats early Republicans late I guess.

Anonymous said...

At 2:30 Don Sowder was at the Cranbeck polling station where 300 people had already voted by that time.

James said...

The Cranbeck polling area had cast 834 votes in the 2006 election cycle in the Supervisor race.
It appears as though they have cast 35% of that total by mid-day.
Greenfield a little heavier with 42% of last years count already voted this time around by 2PM.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the polls are tappering off about 6PM or so.
Alot of Gecker support at Bon Air I think. If your point was accurate he may have ground some ground here.