If you’ve been watching SDWC, as well as seeing some of the postings from Watertown locals on Facebook, you’ll know there’s a heated election up in Watertown tomorrow.
There’s the Mayoral race which has gathered a bit of attention, as well as a City Council Race. The word out of the City is that there has been a strong early voting (or in-person absentee, if we’re getting technical) trend which might show strong interest in a race that would normally be decided on by about 2200 people in a good year.
So how is that going to all fall out? Your guess is as good as mine.
As I had written a couple of weeks back during this month’s Sioux Falls School Board election, early voting could account for up to 30 percent of the turnout:
When the number of votes coming in early ranges anywhere from 20% to 30%, it’s an indication that candidates need to pay very strong attention to a campaign where people are voting 45 days out – all the way back into September in a general election.
The Absentee/Early Voter needs to be part of any campaign strategy, and in light of numbers approaching 30%, they need to be courted and have sufficient resources devoted towards attracting their favor.
In other words, The Early Bird Catches the Early Voting Worm.
Where is that early voting bump going to land in Watertown? That’s a good question. There was a lot of turmoil right around the time early voting began.
The mayor had some negative press early on, and the local newspaper has crusaded against him constantly, but it is unclear whether the challenger was ever able to fully capitalize on it. Sarah Caron’s job was to convince voters that they made a poor decision in electing the current mayor a few years back, and they needed to rectify that error.
All the Mayor has to do was to convince people they made a good choice before, and to stay the course. Which is why the power of incumbency is so powerful. OF COURSE people made the right choice. Ask anyone if they make bad decisions – they’ll always tell you that they’re right!
I’m hearing from people on the ground in Watertown that the sign wars were about equal, but in her campaigning, Caron’ was seemingly gaining some steam…. but peaked about 2 weeks ago, and then fell off the planet. Right about the time Caron was fizzling, the Mayor’s campaign efforts were continuous and ongoing, and last week a multiple postcard barrage as well as a door-to-door push arrived from Rushmore PAC in support of his candidacy.
I had one local political prognosticator tell me they see the vote potentially shaking out as 50%+ for Thorson, maybe up to 40% for Caron, with the rest for Mike Davis. Although, they also thought Davis might pull more strongly than 10%, fracturing and dividing the anti-mayor vote, and ensuring the incumbent returns to office.
With a race that close, as noted, depending on whose message was able to penetrate the most effectively in the early stages of the election, the 20-30% of the electorate who participated in early voting in the contest may play a significant factor in determining who walks away a winner, and who will be licking their wounds after tomorrow night.
Could it be close enough that it goes to a runoff, if no one gets over 50%? It’s possible. But if I were to guess, which I am since I’m not in that town, I think the stronger money is on the incumbent at this point.
So, if you’re wondering how it will all turn out, hop on Al Gore’s Internets tomorrow night and keep an eye on the 2017 Watertown Municipal Election!