Back in July I had written about Neal Tapio’s chances against now incumbent Congressman Dusty Johnson, and thought Tapio’s chances of success were fairly poor at the time given little things ..such as statistics and history:
Dusty had nearly 20 points over his nearest contender in the 2018 primary. Moving to a two-way contest, he’d only have to pick up less than 5% over his prior total to call it a decisive win.
If he pulls the trigger, Neal would have to pick up an additional 26% over his prior total. Not to mention that he’d be running against an incumbent who won the general election with 60% of the popular vote in the fall.
How would that same data set apply against former State Representative Liz May’s new candidacy against Congressman Dusty Johnson? I believe she would have even less of a chance than Tapio would. And that does not bode well if you look at the numbers.
Understand that under no circumstances will an incumbent receive 100% of the vote, because of the fact that there are contrarians in our society. If you say the letters on a page are black, they’ll disagree with a long and drawn out explanation why. Not to mention people who refuse to accept the earth isn’t flat. And, those people will vote in quixotic ways as well.
The “Dead Cat” number – as in how many votes might a dead cat receive if they were on the ballot against the incumbent, can be said to be in the neighborhood of 13-15%. That’s where Liz May is starting her campaign.
When Lora Hubbel ran in the Primary for Governor, she received about 19% of the vote, meaning she was only able to convince about 4-5% of voters to vote for her over the incumbent, Governor Dennis Daugaard.
If we’re really generous, we might say that Liz will start with a contrarian vote of 15%. If all things are equal to 2018, that means she would have to convince 35% (plus 1) of primary voters that she is the better choice than Dusty. Where Dusty would only has to move fewer than 5% if we’re basing it strictly off of primary numbers.
But they’re not equal. In fact, almost staggeringly unequal.
Starting from zero, Liz May will have to spend a tremendous amount of money to purchase the same name ID that Dusty Johnson has been able to achieve after running on a statewide basis 4 times – twice for Public Utilities Commission, Once in the Congressional Primary and once in the Congressional General Election. And he won all 4 of those elections.
Once she achieves that name ID, or concurrent with that, she’s going to have to go hard, hard negative to try to prevent Dusty from retaining the votes he received in the primary (47,032), as well as those who might have voted for someone else but followed him into the general election. And the general election is also key in this because of what Dusty picked up in November 2018.
Because while Dusty received 46.8% in a three-way primary, Dusty received an even more massive 60% of the general election vote in a 4 way general – 202,446 voters in that election cast a positive ballot for Dusty Johnson, meaning as he picked up a number equivalent to all of the 100,454 primary voters, he added over 100,000 more voters who endorsed him in the general election.
When Liz May finally gets around to launching her campaign, watch for a lot of money to be spent, as well as her making hard negative attacks against Dusty Johnson. Because there’s literally no way that Liz May can peel that many voters away from Johnson in the short 125 days until the primary election.
I’m not sure who has an upside in taking on a race against Dusty Johnson except for the consultants. Which brings me to an interesting item.
On a post on Liz May’s facebook page, when former Legislator John Teupel praised her campaign as ‘refreshing,’ Texas based political consultant James McIntosh was right there on the spot tagging his approval. Not saying the two are related.. but we don’t know they’re not.
So stay tuned. 125 days until the June primary, and counting down.