Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Gadzooks, what an election!

I have slices of four posts in mind.  I have skeletons for some, nervous systems for others.  I am hoping to roll those out over the course of June.

This is more of a “Did you know?” piece based on the 2016 Howard County Board of Education Primary Election Results.  Based on the data available on the Maryland Board of Elections website:

-       Kirsten Coombs finished in first place among the 11 candidates.  We knew that.  But did you know that she won 92 of the 118 Election Day/Polling Place precincts?  She also won among Early Voters and Absentee/Provisional Voters.  What about the other 26 precincts where she didn’t win?  She placed second in 19 and third in 7.   This indicates wide and deep support, countywide, for Ms. Coombs.    
-       How big was the win?  Coombs, with 35,298 votes, shattered the previous high-water mark for recent Board of Education primary elections, which was 28,320…which was set by one J. Siddiqui in 2008.  More on her shortly.
-       Fun fact: there is higher turnout in General Elections compared to Primary Elections, but Coombs’ vote tally, in the 2016 Primary Election, would have been sufficient for her to win a Board of Education seat in the 2010 General Election, ahead of Brian Meshkin and Cindy Vaillancourt.   
-       Who failed to finish in the top three in every single Election Day district?  Ellen Flynn Giles and Ann DeLacy.  It is not my intention to be cruel here, but rather to point out that this election cycle constitutes a referendum on the direction of the Howard County Public School System.  DeLacy and Giles finished second and third respectively in both the 2012 Primary and General Elections.  For them to be swept across the board four years later with 8th and 9th place finishes demonstrates the strength of positive, change-oriented, reform-minded platforms.
-       Dr. Janet Siddiqui is in serious trouble.  As the last incumbent standing in this election cycle, she becomes the WHOLE poster child for a failing status quo.  She managed to win only six election day precincts.   Of the top six vote-getters, there were 123,369 votes for challengers compared to 24,660 votes for the “strongest” incumbent: Siddiqui, so 83.3% for reform candidates against 16.7% for Siddiqui.  There might not be enough orange paint in the County to vault her out of fourth place. 

What will come next?  The Presidential Campaign? Thoughts on Downtown Columbia and Sensible, Civic-Minded Growth?  Shenanigans in Wilde Lake? Adventures with Slats?
Stay tuned, as more will follow.

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