Paul's Picks Part 2

I'm back from O'Hanlons and a few post-election drinks. Thus fortified, I can now crack open the envelope containing my election picks and you can all see just how clueless my guesses were.

Below, I've copied them out. The actual election results are in brackets and italicized....

Mayor - Fiacco (winner: Fiacco)

Ward 1 - Browne (winner: Browne)
Ward 2 - McIntyre (winner: Hutchinson)
Ward 3 - Clipsham (winner: Clipsham)
Ward 5 - Findura (winner: Findura)
Ward 6 - Murray (winner: Murray)
Ward 7 - Bryce (winner: Bryce)
Ward 8 - O'Donnell (winner: O'Donnell)
Ward 10 - Flegel (winner: Szarka)

Subdivision 2 - Bourgeois (winner: Young)
Subdivision 3 - Davis (winner: West)
Subdivision 4 - Anderson (winner: Anderson)
Subdivision 6 - Conlin (winner: Gagne)

Okay, some breakdown on what I was thinking....

On the council side, when in doubt I went with the incumbent unless I had a compelling reason not to. I figured that as this has been such a good-news year for Regina, it'd be tough for challengers to get much traction.

Picking Fiacco for mayor, for instance, was pretty much a no brainer. As much as I think Jim Elliott is an eloquent defender of marginalized people and sidelined issues for Regina, I really didn't think he had a hope of denting Fiacco's support. It didn't help matters that this was such a low-key election and thus he had few opportunities to challenge the status-quo.

As for where I guessed completely wrong... there's Ward 2, for starters, where I picked Heather McIntyre to unseat Jocelyn Hutchinson. McIntyre's a communications professional and I'd heard some very good things about her on-the-street organization. I reckoned she'd be very good at mobilizing support in the ward and the issues she was running on -- recycling, transit, sustainable growth -- were specific and seemed to be the kind of things that would resonate with a lot of voters. In the end, it was an extremely close race, with McIntyre losing by only 191 votes. Clearly, she did connect with voters, just not quite enough to overcome the incumbent advantage.

After that, there's Ward 10 where my pick, Jerry Flegel, was unseated by the football player, Chris Szarka. You know, people keep telling me about the irresistible force that is Rider Nation but I just keep ignoring them. At my peril, it would seem. Yeah, I considered this outcome a possibility but when I checked the Rider Fans forum earlier today and didn't see a single mention of Szarka's council race anywhere in the first few pages of the messageboard, I just assumed Rider Nation wasn't really paying attention to the election. I think I may still be correct in that assumption but that doesn't change the fact that Szarka won Ward 10.

The one upset I did guess right was Findura taking Ward 5. The thing that tipped me on this one was the fact that long-term councillor Bill Gray announced his intention to run for re-election so late in the game -- it was the second last day of nominations, in fact. By that point, Findura had a votefindura website up and running, a votefindura email address and a phone number that spelled out his first name. Findura just seemed hungrier for this win than Gray did so I had to give him the edge.

Meanwhile, on the public school board side, I was so terribly wrong.

I figured -- incorrectly, as it turns out -- that the two incumbents, West and Young, would have a tougher time than their council counterparts as they were having to defend a policy many were highly critical of -- the 10-year renewal plan. Plus, as I wrote in the prairie dog, I had been impressed by the level of organization I'd witnessed coming from the Real Renewal crowd. It was a potent mix of factors favoring the challengers, I thought.

Even still, I was kind of inclined to think that the incumbents would be tough to unseat. It just seemed like a stick with the familiar kind of year. So in that draft list of picks I'd written up in my head I had Young down to win Subdivision 2 and had left Subdivision 3 a blank.

And then all hell broke loose on the blog.

That's it, I thought. School board elections are always second banana to council elections. And this council election is a complete bore, we'll be lucky to get 30 per cent voter turnout. But for the school board race, you have a really passionate group who feel they have a lot to lose if the candidates they're pulling for don't get in. Those guys are totally coming out to vote in droves and will completely drown out all those other voters who have no idea what's going on on the school board side. And maybe they did come out in droves. But clearly, in Subdivisions 2 and 3 at least, support for the incumbents -- and, likely, support for the 10-year plan -- is strong.

Subdivision 6 I also got wrong. It was one I was really stuck on for a while because I knew so little it seemed about the people runing. There was no incumbent here so all three candidates had little name recognition, I figured. Why'd I pick Conlin then? To be honest... her video profile on the city's YouTube site had the most hits. I figured that might be a sign she had a lot of supporters backing her. I really didn't have a better reason than that. (Katherine Gagne had a better website, though.)

Okay, that's it. My picks and excuses for the 2009 Regina Municipal Election.

Many thanks to all the candidates for contributing to the prairie dog's election profiles and for enduring my inane questions leading up to and in the immediate aftermath of the election (and, a preemptive thanks for enduring all the inane questions yet to come). Also, many thanks to Kaeli Madill and all the fine folk in the city's communications department for setting us up in Henry Baker Hall with a desk, comfy chairs and an internet connection so we could blog our way through this. (And apologies to the city managers whose chairs we were borrowing and who will no doubt be catching prairie dog cooties as a result.) And props to Phillipe from the city hall (whose last name I don't know) who seems to have been the mastermind behind all the twittering and youtubing the city's been doing. Very handy, that.


Illuminations said...

Hey, What the Hell ever happened to that leftwing party slate that ran in 2006, got their asses kicked, but vowed to build and come back bigger and better in the future? I mean, I'm sure Jim Holmes had some seriously dark moments following that drubbing at the hands of the one brain-celled Fiacco, but WTF? They just give up and you guys forget all about them? Jesus, what were they even called? The New Politics Initiative or something?

The love affair the braindead Regina media has with Fiacco is just phenomenally disgusting.

Pat said...

That's a pretty good slate of picks, for Council at least. Hold your head high Paul!

And to the above, check out this link: http://www.newstalk980.com/story/20090911/22242
The coalition was out before the campaign even started. And I'm fairly certain a paper issue of the dog mentioned that the CCFR wouldn't be fielding candidates if the blog didn't.

Barb Saylor said...

Philippe Leclerc, I believe, is the name of the person responsible for the topnotch, comprehensive social-media info service offered by the City of Regina; kudos for sure. As to picking winning candidates on the basis of YouTube hits: beware of "hit inflation". There was a lot of that going on in a number of wards/subdivisions. The only "YouTube poll" that I felt was indicative was Ward 5's.
Actually, the CCFR did run candidates this time around: they went under the name "Real Renewal". There was a lot of recrimination in the blogosphere after the CCFR's shortfalls in 2006 - some even blamed the electronic voting machines - but one intelligent observation made by the failed CCFR aldermanic candidate in Ward 3 was that the coalition had too large a target and too broad a focus. The school board, he said, was where they should have started.
Thanks, prairie dog and Dog Blog, for your work in this civic election. Looking forward to the print analysis.