While primaries in special elections are legendary for low turnout, fewer voters cast ballots in the general election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of David Dill than in the primary.
Update: After a query on twitter, a friend mapped out the difference between primary and general election turnout in the special election:
We suspect those voters will return to the polls for the November 2016 election. [end update]
Yesterday, 7190 people cast ballots, a dip from the 7629 people who turned out for the hotly contested primary. The difference likely reflects the high DFL voter index in the district; Aaron Brown break it down in his LIVE BLOG: MN House 3A Special Election today at Minnesota Brown.
At the Pioneer Press's Political Animal, David Montgomery takes a look at Mapping Ecklund’s landslide. Hop over for his signature interactive maps (fun stuff). He reports:
The only real race in the District 3A special election Tuesday turned out to be for second place.
Republican Roger Skraba held off independent Kelsey Johnson by 255 votes to finish in second place, but both candidates were far behind runaway winner Rob Ecklund, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate who won with 63.85 percent of the vote.
Ecklund racked up huge margins in his home base of International Falls, but he didn’t need his 80 percent vote shares to win. Ecklund came out on top in all but three of the 83 precincts in the district.
The money race
While Ecklund raised at least $51,137.87 for the bid (pre-general campaign finance reports cover the period from August 24 through November 24), his cost per vote received was less than that spent by third-place finisher Johnson, who raised $19.910 by the reporting deadline.
Reports are embedded in our earlier post, MN03A special election: a look at fundraising reports, endorsements and news coverage.
Skraba, the second place candidate, received 1399 votes, and had spent $1879.65 of $5578.29 raised by the pre-general campaign finance reporting deadline of November 24. That's a minimum of $1.34 spent per vote, and $3.99 if Skraba had spent all he'd raised by the deadline and took in no more money after the deadline.
For the 1144 votes she received, Johnson spent a minimum of $15,012.39 in cash and in-kind contributions, of $19,910 raised by the pre-general campaign finance reporting deadline of November 24. That's $13.22 per vote as of November 24, and $17.40 per vote if she had spent all she had and raised no more.
It's a bit more work to break down Ecklund's spending per vote, since a good portion of the spending per vote occurred before the primary, although the $9550 in party money and $5456.87 in state subsidy came after the primary win.
But if we cheat with our math and count primary dollars as earning name recognition and good will toward the general, those 4591 votes cost a minimum of $9.70 per vote and at least $11.19 if Ecklund spent all of the $51,137.87 he took in by the pre-general deadline.
By way of contrast, in the uncontested primary in 46A, 3254 ballots were cast and counted, with Peggy Flangan collecting 3137. The cost per vote for Minnesota's second newest state rep? $6.80 if she spent no more than the $21,402.82 spending reported in her pre-general report.
Or a whopping $12.44 per vote if the entire $39,017.30 raised by her committee was spent before the early November special election. We suspect that some of that cash and the good will it represents will be banked for the 2016 election.
Photo: Rob Ecklund in duck hunting gear, via Facebook. Congratulations for bagging the seat.
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