Early Ballot Update: Independent Voters Leaning Democrat in Swing Districts?

We mentioned yesterday that despite a record number of early ballot requests, there were still plenty of hearts and minds for candidates to try to win before Tuesday’s primary. Only about half the voters who requested early ballots have sent them back in.

We’ve received an update on the number of independent voters who have asked to vote in the primary from Chris Roads at the Pima County Recorder’s Office.

A note to those who complain about independents voting in primaries (we’re looking your way, Tom Danehy): You don’t have much to worry about. Very few independents appear interested in meddling in the parties’ exclusive affairs.

Still, there are a few interesting trends, including the large number of independents who have requested Democratic ballots in Republican districts, even though the GOP races are far more competitive. Granted, the sample size is a little small to draw a solid conclusion, but that Democratic leaning could be bad news for Republican legislative candidates in November.

• In the GOP primary in Legislative District 26, where Rep. Pete Hershberger is facing Al Melvin, about 16,210 GOP ballots went out to Republicans in Pima County and 8,073 have been returned. (Keep in mind that additional ballots are being cast in Pinal County.)

Even though all the action is in the GOP primary, there are plenty of voters asking for Democratic ballots. Of the 2,321 indies who asked for primary ballots, 1,284 were Republicans and 991 were Democrats. A total of 440 of those GOP ballots have been returned.

• In the Democratic primary in Legislative District 27, where John Kromko is hoping to unseat either Phil Lopes or Olivia Cajero Bedford, 10,324 ballots went out to Democrats and 5,249 have come back in.

Kromko targeted independents in this race with a letter of support from Republican Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll, who seems to delight in creating political mischief as much as Kromko himself these days. So far, the master plan hasn’t yielded a big payback; of the 698 independents who requested a Democratic ballot, 300 have sent theirs back in.

• The Democratic Seven-Way Super Slam in Legislative District 29 features the most candidates and the fewest ballots. A grand total of 7,974 were mailed out and 4,087 have come back.

Independents don’t seem to have any more interest in this race than the Democrats do. Of the 539 who have requested a Democratic ballot, 233 have sent ’em back in.

• In the GOP District 30 House race between Sharon Collins, David Gowan, Frank Antenori and Doug Sposito, 16,960 ballots were mailed out and 8,309 have come back. (As in District 26, there are additional ballots being cast outside Pima County.)

The independents are especially weird down here. Even though all the action is in the GOP primary, the 1,155 indies who have asked for Democratic ballots outnumber 1,073 indies who have asked for Republican ballots.

That tells us that the District 30 independents are leaning toward Democratic this year, which should be good news for Democratic House candidate Andrea Dalessandro, especially if she ends up facing Gowan.

(For the record, 447 D30 independents have sent their GOP ballots back in.)

• In the GOP primary between Pima County Supervisor Ann Day and challenger Joe Higgins in District 1, 18,294 ballots were mailed and 9,010 had come back.

Of the 1,370 independents who have requested a GOP ballots, 473 have returned them.

• In the Democratic primary between Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez and challenger Robert Robuck, 8,432 ballots were mailed out and 4,267 had come back.

Of the 573 independents who have requested Democratic ballots, 254 have returned them.

• In the Democratic primary between Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson and challenger Donna Branch Gilby, 10,280 ballots were mailed and 5,104 have come back.

Of the 800 independents who have requested Democratic ballots, 333 have returned them.

Voters who have not yet mailed in their ballots can drop them off at the polls on Tuesday if they want to have their votes counted.

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