Prediction of Dunn, Baca primary victories actualized in council election; Randall and Bowcutt round out top four
By Josh Warburton
I’m proud to say my statistical analysis of this year’s primary election for St. George city council was pretty accurate. As I predicted one week ago, both Tara Dunn and Ed Baca successfully passed through this first round in a narrowing down from 12 to four candidates, which now continues on to the Aug. 5 general election. Dunn and Baca ended up in fourth and second positions, respectively, with first-time candidates Joe Bowcutt and Michele Randall in third and first place, respectively.
Additionally — patting myself on the back even more — I can tell you I accurately wrote down (but didn’t publish) Baca, Dunn, Randall and Bowcutt as the four winning candidates, and I have a witness to prove it. 🙂 I didn’t have the correct order but I did get the winning four out of a field of 12 … not too shabby, as my dad would say. So, on to the results.
Randall led with 1,590 votes as of the unofficial count on election night. Ed Baca was just 183 votes behind Randall at 1,407, Joe Bowcutt had 1,345 votes and Tara Dunn ended up with 1,224. More votes are still to be counted, as absentee voters had until yesterday to have their ballots postmarked, and there are likely a handful of provisional ballots, as well. But these represent a fairly small number; in 2011, they made up about 6 percent of the total votes cast, and they are generally in line with the overall trends of the rest of the vote. Those final numbers will be released at the time of the canvas, about two weeks from now. Turnout was still quite dismal at just 14.2 percent, but it was up from the 12 percent of two years ago, as I predicted it would be yesterday.
Using these uncertified results, the spread between first, Randall, and fourth, Dunn, is only 366 votes. That’s a very narrow margin compared to other St. George elections historically. Or, to put it another way, for every 100 votes received by Randall, there were 89 votes for Baca, 85 for Bowcutt and 77 for Dunn.
That’s pretty tight compared to the 2011 primary, when the top vote-getter, Jon Pike, garnered 1,889 votes and the fourth-place candidate, Ed Baca, received some 689 fewer votes than Pike. Dunn was sixth with 785 votes, so she had only about 42 votes for every 100 in Pike’s pile. Dunn continued through the primary in 2011, as the election was for three council seats (the primaries narrow the number of candidates to two per seat). That year, incumbent councilwoman Gloria Shakespeare was unseated by Jimmie Hughes and by just 110 votes — a very thin margin. Dunn went on to finish sixth in the general election — 601 votes from getting elected. Baca was fifth, losing by just 201 votes.
Comparatively, this primary was a much tighter race, which will give us fewer predictable results. It’s likely to be a very interesting and eventful campaign season, which will largely determine the results of the general election. I’d like to make an early prediction on the outcome of the council election … but really, I just can’t. Nov. 5 is too far away and so much can happen in three months. I have my suspicions, but I’ll keep them to myself for now …
Again, I’ll go on record saying I think Councilman Jon Pike has a good chance at beating sitting five-term Mayor Dan McArthur; and, again, that’s just going by my analysis of past election numbers. So many outside forces influence voters’ decisions in these elections, and anything is possible. Pike will have to rally much support to beat McArthur, but he has shown he can do that. The better question is if the beleaguered mayor can motivate his supporters in the volume Pike has shown he can. It may come off as an attempt to flatter a candidate but, statistically speaking, I like Pike … and that’s my prediction. 🙂