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Post-Election Aggreblogging, Round 1

December 4, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

A few items here that I wouldn’t want to let fall into the ether without a comment or two. This is just me doing a poor job of keeping up with interesting news items as I come across them, so if there’s anything particularly out of date among the items I ultimately post this week … now ya know why that might be.

» TPM: Nate Silver: Politico Covers Politics Like Sports But ‘Not In An Intelligent Way At All’
The Bill Simmons podcast that Silver’s quote is from is worth listening to in full. There are plenty of other useful insights from it … just be sure to not make a drinking game out of the number of times Silver uses the word “Right?” to end his points with. You’ll be drunk in 5 minutes regardless of your Body Mass Index. Depending on how productive the holiday trek to DFW is this season, I’ve got Silver’s book on my list of things I’d like to read during that time.

» Dem. Strategist: States with Election Day Registration Led Turnout in ’12
It remains to be seen whether this is a causal issue or merely coincidental. But I think getting same-day voter registration enacted in Texas would certainly help determine whether high turnout is a more of a function of midwestern historical voting habits or laws that enable more people to vote.

» NY Times: Beyond Black and White in the Mississippi Delta
There’s a lot for me to like in an article such as this: political coverage of town I lived in (Indianola) and the intersection of demographics and elections. But one flaw remains: you can’t adequately cover demographics and elections by comparing total population counts to who wins elections. There’s nothing in the story that adequately proves blacks in the towns mentioned supported the white mayors (though I’d suspect that they might have) and there’s no mention of the fact that just because a demographic group makes up 65% of the town’s population doesn’t mean they make up a similar amount of the electorate. Ignoring that difference is what tends to send me looking for a 2×4 to smack against my skull.

The Lovers, The Dreamers … and Maps!

October 1, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

» Washington Post: For Maryland Democrats, redistricting referendum forces a look in the mirror
» Washington Post: Maryland ad war coming over same-sex marriage vote
» Washington Post: Costs, benefits of Md. Dream Act hard for voters to measure

I foresee a lot of interesting post-election analysis out of Maryland this season. That is all.

DNC12: Day One

September 5, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

I’m sure it was an impossible job living up to the billing as the “Next Obama”. Be that as it may, but I’m still underwhelmed …

Ryan Lizza speaks for me on this matter.

His speech started with a compelling and promising premise. He talked about how he was “of a generation born as the Cold War receded, shaped by the tragedy of 9/11, connected by the digital revolution.” But he never returned to these generational touchstones or explained what they meant to him. Instead, he told a very heart-warming story of his grandmother’s immigrant experience. Despite a tribute to his mother, Rosie, that brought delegates to their feet, he left out the most interesting details of her life: that’s she was a prominent radical Chicana activist who was a leader of La Raza Unida in Texas in the nineteen-seventies. The closest he came to mentioning his mother’s fascinating political background was a reference that she “fought hard for civil rights.”

Much of the rest of the speech consisted of well-written and well-delivered attacks on Mitt Romney and praise for Barack Obama. “Mitt Romney, quite simply, doesn’t get it,” he said of the Republican nominee. “I believe in you. Barack Obama believes in you,” he said about the President.

But there was no new idea about what Obama’s second term might offer and no attempt to explain this moment in American politics in a fresh and compelling way. Instead, Castro ended with a touching story about taking his daughter to kindergarten and sending her off with the same words his grandmother once told him: “Que Dios te bendiga. (May God bless you.)” It was a poignant moment, but one I doubt many will remember years from now.

Tonight, it’s Bubba’s turn.

ADD-ON: Via AtlanticWire’s liveblog from last night:

“Is O’Malley the Democrat Tim Pawlenty?”

Possibly. His speech certainly wasn’t a wake-up call to his Presidential prospects. But he still starts off as my default, non-”Hillary 2016″ candidate. I just wish there was a little something there that suggested “Yeah, this is the guy that’s gonna win!

Primary Mapping: GOP County Attorney

August 29, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Long time no blog. I’ve pretty much got the remainder of primary contests mapped out that I’m interested in seeing. But I do need to relocate a moment of free time to get everything uploaded and web-ready. Some of the larger fields of candidates made for some interesting research and I’m not sure they tell an easy story in one map. So those will probably get a side-by-side treatment. And by the time I’m done with all of that, I’ll be able to go through the runoff elections. I don’t know what your hobbies are, but surely they can’t be this much fun. Right?

Anyway, the reason I wanted to post this one from the last batch of primaries was simply because I found it to be the most interesting of all the GOP Primary maps. The final results of this contest weren’t really all that close:

Robert Talton: 64.6%
Leslie Johnson: 35.4%

What the map below demonstrates, to me, is that Talton essentially ran the table outside of the River Oaks-Memorial region. Or, as I’ll call it, “Establishment Row” for GOP voters. You’d expect to see Talton do well in the southeastern area of the county since his old State Rep district covered Pasadena and surrounding areas. Johnson, as far as I can tell, seemed to have evident support inside the Loop. I don’t know enough about how this campaign played out to suggest that it was a true case of Insider vs Outsider or Establishment vs Tea Party style choice. Talton certainly has his social conservativism ducks in a row, but he’s also been thought of as a bit too friendly to trial attorneys for most GOP tastes.

Whatever the case may be, the contours definitely show up for something vaguely resembling the social vs business conservative breakdown. It’ll be interesting to see how closely this map resembles the runoff map for the US Senate seat. Till that gets posted, feel free to click, poke, and explore. Oh, and download if you’re into that sorta thing.

ADD-ON: Also, I tweaked the color-coding to make the different reds a bit easier to sort out visually. In this case, the dark red is Talton, the light red is Johnson, and white means there were no votes cast.

ADD-ON 2.0: Grrr. One point of clarification that eluded me while posting this: the map indicates where Talton won over 60% of the vote, not simply where he won. A won/loss map was more of a wipeout for Talton. So the outline here for “establishment” support for Johnson should be viewed relative to areas where she performed under 40%. In short: the outline is still interesting. But the nature of the contest was certainly a lot more muted in terms of how much of any “establishment” vs “non-establishment” differences existed between candidates. This is what I get for leaving maps on Google Earth for several days without blogging about them.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem CD7

August 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Here’s a muddled picture since all three candidates came out of the first round with a decent-to-good showing.

Lissa Squiers – 39.9%
James Cargas – 33.8%
Phillip Andrews – 26.3%

I went with color-coding for the ultimate winner again, so the coding is: dark blue = Cargas; light blue = Squiers; purple = Andrews.

There weren’t many areas where Squiers was winning a majority in this map, so the ocean of aqua blue is a bit misleading here. Had I been interpreting this in realtime, I think it’s safe to say she was getting her benefit of being the only female in the race at this point. Viewed in isolation, that might make a runoff either a tossup or a slight advantage for the female candidate. But with Squiers running a shoestring campaign and Cargas loosening the purse-strings for a little mail in the runoff, that calculus didn’t quite hold up in July.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem Constable 1

August 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Here’s one of the more muddled Primary contests I’ll be mapping out – the six-way election for Constable, Precinct 1. This would go to a runoff between Alan Rosen and Cindy Vara-Leija, but the first round settled out as follows:

Alan Rosen – 28.0%
Cindy Vara-Leija – 23.8%
Grady Castleberry – 21.8%
Quincy Whitaker – 19.7%
Jaime Tellez, Jr. – 3.7%
Richard Talamantez – 3.1%

The map below is coded as follows: dark blue = Rosen; light blue = Vara-Leija; purple = anyone else. That purple basically broke down to Castleberry and Whitaker splitting much of the African-American vote in Acres Homes, Independence Heights, and the Fifth Ward.

All told, the breakdown is a pretty good overview of the district’s demographics. What jumped out to me from this view is Rosen’s showing in the Anglo Dem dogleg from the Heights to Meyerland. Rosen did exceptionally well in Montrose, pushing close to 70% of the vote there. Ditto for much of Rosen’s home base of Bellaire. But in the River Oaks – to – West U area, Rosen only got anywhere from a near-majority to a bare majority. That left a lot of room for improvement in the runoff and I think it would be clear where those votes would go regardless of who was in a runoff. That might account for the overwhelming showing that he’d see in the runoff.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem HD131

August 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Picking back up from where I left off with the mapping and whatnot, the first batch of maps today are going to be Democratic district contests and the second batch will be some more of the Statewide and Countywide GOP contests.

In this case, HD131 had a bit of a surprise Primary contest, with the decision of Houston Council Member Wanda Adams to challenge incumbent Alma Allen. This one went about as expected, with Allen winning 59.4 to Adams’ 40.6%. There was a bit of new territory to the far west of the district, which provided many of the closer outcomes. The precincts in Hiram Clarke and Sunnyside weren’t close and that was enough to make things easy for Alma on Election Night.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem HD144

August 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Another Democratic district contest here. This one was a bit of a surprise in that it was won in the first round by Mary Ann Perez. The final results were:

Mary Ann Perez – 52.2%
Ornaldo Ybarra – 26.8%
Kevin Risner – 21.0%

Color coding is: dark blue = Mary Ann Perez; light blue = Ornaldo Ybarra; purple = Kevin Risner. And in case it’s indecipherable, I’ve outlined the precincts shaded white in the Ship Channel area where there were (predictably) no votes.

Ybarra obviously did very well around his Pasadena Council district. Risner got a few nice returns in the southern part of Pasadena. But the scope of Perez’s win was the biggest surprise given the negligible overlap with her HCC district along the far southwestern border of the district. It’s also pretty clear that Perez was the candidate of choice in the more traditional bastions of Hispanic vote closer to the East End. Perez picked up several of those boxes with over 70% of the vote.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem HD146

August 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

One of the more pleasant outcomes to watch outside of my own HD137, Borris Miles fended off two-time previous incumbent, Al Edwards, 57.6% to 42.4%. One tidbit that gives some of us hope that this will be the last go-round for Al Edwards: this was the first of the four matchups where Borris Miles has won the Sunnyside half of the district. In fact, the areas where Edwards did best this time, were the newer precincts to the far west.

On the whole, the scope of Borris’ win is pretty broad. Edwards didn’t have a lot of help from his previous enablers, so his campaign was on far more of a shoestring. I’ve got to think that if he still sees a State Representative in the mirror, it seems likelier that his former constituents don’t.

Color-coding is: dark blue = Miles; light blue = Edwards.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem SBOE6

August 20, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Here’s another modest surprise – a three-way contest that didn’t need a runoff to decide the nominee. And, as was the case with HD144, it was a female candidate who ended up winning.

Traci Jensen – 51.5%
Patty Quintana-Nilsson – 29.7%
David Scott – 18.8%

This was a district that Obama only won 40.8% of the vote in, so it’s not the most significant in terms of viability or changing the culture (or, for that matter, existence) of the State Board of Education. But since it’s an open race in a Presidential year, there’s hope that we’ll see some improvement on the Dem baseline in this district. There wasn’t a lot of communication in this contest, but what there was, it was all Jensen that I saw. A pretty good example of how to shut out the rest of the pack in an otherwise low-information contest.

Color-coding is: dark blue = Jensen; light blue = Scott; purple = Quintana-Nilsson. Not sure why I coded Scott and Q-Nilsson opposite, but I’ll live with the break in pattern.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: GOP Senate

August 16, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Another big, important contest here to review. Obviously, the US Senate contest would need a runoff to decide on the winner, the outcome in May was enough of a two-person race to see some patterns at this point. The final outcome in May, just to refresh, was as follows:

David Dewhurst – 45.9%
Ted Cruz – 43.6%
Tom Leppert – 5.8%
Everyone Else – 4.7%

I basically broke the precinct returns into Dewhurst, Cruz, and Other. The only identifiable blip for where “Other” broke 15% was in Pct 529 in Tomball. That was due to a highly localized boomlet of Glenn Addison voters showing up to the tune of 7.1% there. That compares to his 1.1% showing countywide. I’d love to hear that precinct’s story. But even there, Dewhurst pulled 47% to Cruz’s 38%.

UPDATE: After a little bit of poking around other Tomball precincts, I notice that three others gave Addison a bigger-than-normal share: 127, 726, and 1036. The results were enough in those four boxes to give Addison 7.4% of the vote in Tomball. Addison was a trustee for the Magnolia School Board before resigning to run. Who knows … maybe that good of a showing in his home turf will translate to some other future run for office.

In the case of this map, I opted to color-code it by the winner of the ultimate victory – Cruz – rather than the candidate that led the pack in May – Dewhurst. So dark-red = Cruz; light-red = Dewhurst

I think the most interesting map to compare this to is the Chang/Detamore map for County Court 2. In both cases, the establishment candidates win a good share of everything from River Oaks to the westside/Memorial and even more of the southwest area. Dewhurst appears to have polled better in the Kingwood/Clear Lake areas. A neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis might be instructive here, so I’ll put it somewhere on my to-do list. In particular, I think it would be interesting to see how both the overall map and the ‘hood number-crunching look in this race compared to the final Runoff outcome.

Feel free to poke and prod this map and let me know of any further analysis that you think might be warranted here.


full pageGoogle Earth

Last one for today. District races should be next. I’ll have to do some creative coding to show the Constable Precinct 1 race in a meaningful way.

Primary Mapping: GOP Party Chair

August 16, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

This contest seems to have been under-emphasized based on the closeness of the outcome and some of the issues aired out by Republican bloggers. But in case you missed it, Party Chairman Jared Woodfill almost lost. The final outcome was 52.6% Woodfill to 47.4% Paul Simpson.

And yet, unlike the County Court 2 outcome, the geographical pattern here is more of a scatter plot diagram. Woodfill certainly seemed to struggle a bit in the River Oaks/Anglo Dem corridor, but split a lot of turf in the westside/Memorial precincts. On the whole, it just looks like it would have been a challenge to have a good feel for the outcome. If it were a more important contest, I’d probably want to pick about 20 or so neighborhoods, grab 3-5 big precincts from each, and see what those results may show in terms of relative strength around the county. But this was still a fairly low-profile race that didn’t seem to revolve around Establishment/anti-Establishment issues and I’m not sure I’d equate Simpson as being a challenger from the mythical “Tea Party” wing of the GOP. There were personal issues, to be sure. And Woodchip’s background as a trial attorney usually comes up in some negative contexts when he’s not looking good. But those don’t often translate into clear geographic divides.

Anyways, poke and prod the map to your heart’s content. Again: dark-red = Woodfill; light-red = Simpson; white = no votes.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: GOP County Court 2

August 16, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

In stark contrast to the first GOP map, this one was the closest countywide result, with Donna Detamore defeating appointed County Court judge Theresa Chang, 50.1% to 49.9% … or, 735 votes out of 123,941 total votes cast. Close enough to call it one per precinct (at least, among precincts with voters).

It’s generally interesting to see how GOP Primaries break down by how the Establishment Row of westside, River Oaks, and other areas generally within the Anglo Dem region stretching from the Heights to Meyerland. Chang performed well there, even adding a decent showing in the southwest and Alief areas where Asian GOP voters could be counted on to support her. Outside of that, however, it looks like strong areas were hard to come by, as Detamore performed well in Clear Lake, much of the Baytown/Highlands area … and she pretty much ran the gamut of disparate W/NW areas like Champions Forest, Spring, Tomball, Cypress, and Katy.

On the surface, it looks a bit similar (albeit, much closer) to Steve Kirkland’s challenge: voters outside of Houston city limits may not be moved on the same basis as those within. That could be a function of personal networks or other communication channels. But the outline here is clear in terms of demonstrating where any Establishment vs non/less-Establishment campaign may break down in GOP circles. It may be interesting to see how the Medina/Devine Supreme Court contest compares to this one.

As is the pattern: dark-red = Detamore; light-red = Chang; white = no votes.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: GOP District Attorney

August 16, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

It looks like the next round of maps I’m doing will be the countywide/statewide results for the GOP side. And for no other reason than it being easier to work with the code I’ve written before re-writing some code to deal with the districts within Harris County for smaller contests.

First up is a pretty “blah” map to interpret – the blowout win by Mike Anderson over incumbent District Attorney, Pat Lykos. Anderson would win this race with 62.8% to Lykos’ 37.2%. I’ll refer you to this map as a reason why I’m not likely to map a lot of the contests that weren’t close in the primary. I’m sure there are some small examples of precincts won by the losing candidate. But, by and large, this just demonstrates what a blowout looks like.

Again, darker color goes to the victor. So: dark-red = Anderson; light-red = Lykos; white = no votes.

You can compare this to the 2008 GOP Primary mapping I did for the Siegler/Lykos contest.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem President

August 15, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Picking up from yesterday’s map-related posts of Primary and Runoff election outcomes ….

The one big enchilada to look at from the May Democratic Primary was where any latent “Not Obama” vote may have been demonstrated. Kuff broke this down by House District when the news was a bit more timely. His take upon seeing the results was that much of the “Not Obama” vote may have corresponded to the “Bubba Vote”. Mine, looking at the very same results, was that I’d be quicker to suggest Hispanic voters not totally in love with Obama. There was also a comment suggesting that it may be most accurate to view these results against Total Ballots rather than Total Votes since it may demonstrate a few more “Not Obama” sources due to voters simply not wishing to cast vote. I will get around to that, but my early guess is that the results don’t change.

Obama won the county with 95.3%, so it took some code changes to highlight that vote. The color-coding was changed to the following:

dark-blue: Obama over 80%
light-blue: Obama over 50%
white: no votes

I believe there were 2 or 3 precincts where Obama did not win and I seem to recall all of them having less than 5 votes total, possibly as little as 1 or 2. The only respectable-sized box that stands out as being “Oklahoma-esque” for Obama results is Pct 531 along the Chambers County border. Obama won 27 of the 51 votes cast. Feel free to poke around at some of the light-blue boxes and see what your conclusion is.


full pageGoogle Earth

That’s the last one I’ve got for today. Not sure whether I’ll do the GOP Primary results next or edit some code to do some district races in the Dem Primary. Either way … more maps tomorrow and I’ll eventually get to them all.

Primary Mapping: Dem U.S. Senate

August 15, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Picking up from yesterday’s map-related posts of Primary and Runoff election outcomes ….

This one’s not terribly revealing for the Primary contest. I’m pretty sure the outcome of the Runoff map will be easy to ascertain from this, however. The final outcome of the Primary round in this race tells why:

Paul Sadler: 28.5%
Grady Yarbrough: 29.9%
Addie Allen: 23.4%
Sean Hubbard: 18.2%

I went ahead and color-coded this as dark-blue/Sadler, light-blue/Yarbrough even though Yarbrough finished first in May. What makes the map hard to tell a story in a 2-color format is that Allen basically won much of the African-American areas. Given the relatively low level of importance of this contest (someone feel free to prove me wrong!), I’m not sure that I’ll go so far as to do an individual candidate color-coding to show where they did best. It might be interesting to see how well Hubbard did in the Anglo Dem areas and whether Yarbrough’s strength was a fairly even distribution of voters who gravitated to the Yarbrough name. But the reality that I see in this contest is that it was Sadler’s to win as soon as someone figured out that he needed money to win it. That’s not terribly different than the 2006 scenario where Barbara Radnofsky needed some second-round help to beat Gene Kelly in a runoff.

For now, the map just is what it is. Be sure to compare it to the Runoff map if you’re truly interested in how this contest played out among voters. I should have those up later in the week.


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem Harris County Board of Education

August 15, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Picking up from yesterday’s map-related posts of Primary and Runoff election outcomes ….

For a contested primary to run against an incumbent for the privilege of holding a non-paying elected gig, the At-Large spot for Harris County Board of Education ends up being pretty interesting. This was an outcome that went 59% to 41% in favor of Diane Trautman. What makes it interesting is that both candidates were Anglos. It might have been a good insight into a generic male/female split, but Trautman had run countywide before and David Rosen had a few advantages going for him in the Anglo Dem corridor of the county. I don’t put a lot of credence in any possible name confusion with Alan Rosen running a very visible campaign for Constable in that Anglo Dem area. But I do think there was a big benefit from there being a lot of Jewish and Young Professional type voters in that area to boost Rosen’s showing.

In the end, it just looks as if Rosen needed somewhere else to go to add a constituency. It appears that some of that may have come from voters on the northside. I’d have to do some research to see what the demographics are there among voters, though. Just because it’s an area known to be heavily Hispanic doesn’t mean that that’s who represents the majority of voters. Especially in a Primary.

The map below is a return to form: dark blue for the winning candidate (Trautman); light blue for the losing candidate (Rosen).


full pageGoogle Earth

Primary Mapping: Dem Sheriff

August 15, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

Picking up from yesterday’s map-related posts of Primary and Runoff election outcomes ….

So I’m falling a bit behind the timeline I set for getting more of these done. Such is life. But to continue on with some Primary and Runoff maps, here’s the outcome of the Sheriff’s primary. Basically, I tweaked the code to tell a fuller story about where any non-Adrian Garcia vote may come from. So instead of a binary, who-won-what color-coding, I show the following:

Dark blue: Garcia won
Light blue: Garcia under 60%
Yellow: Garcia under 50%

What you see is a mix of some African-American boxes where voters are looking for another candidate and an assorted scattershot of odd precincts here and there. About the only things I conclude from this are that: a) Hispanic candidates still generally run into some issues among Afr-Am voters, even if they’re incumbents; and b) when you don’t run much of a campaign, you run into some vote loss here and there. Garcia really didn’t have to take much of any time to campaign for the primary. I think it’s a safe assumption that this will be very different for the General, though.


full pageGoogle Earth

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In Session

January 5, 2013

Today, I’m off to settle into a new workspace and a temporary residence in order to work with my new State Representative, Gene Wu, in Austin. Before anyone thinks to call, comment, or text about how exciting any of that is, you should be reminded that I was raised to loathe all things Austin. While […]

2007-11 Citizen Voting Age Population Update

December 31, 2012

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