March 09, 2008
The Richmond Rail effect in the County Judge primary

Last week, Christof sent me a note asking if I would consider revisiting my Richmond Rail Effect concept with the GOP primary for County Judge, since Metro in general and Richmond rail in particular were issues in the race thanks to challenger Charles Bacarisse's stated positions. It wasn't as big an issue - from where I sit, Bacarisse campaigned more about taxes, immigration, and ethics - but it was there. Did Bacarisse do better in the precincts that contain the stretch of Richmond Avenue that will be affected by the light rail construction than he did elsewhere or not?

Thanks to the efforts of Greg Wythe, who got the draft canvass report on Friday and used it to generate a countywide precinct map for that race, I can now answer that question. At my request, Greg also created this Google map of the precincts in question, with their respective votes tallied. Here's how it worked out:

Pcnct Emmett Bacarisse
39 54 38
60 32 39
123 18 24
139 57 91
177 67 96
178 117 147
233 143 156
569 15 26
802 5 12

Total 508 627

The good news for Bacarisse is that he did win these precincts, by a decent margin. The bad news is that there were only a little more than a thousand votes there, and Emmett pretty much kicked hit butt everywhere else. There were unsurprisingly more votes available in the four reliably Republican precincts (177, 178, 233, and 569). The other, reliably Democratic, precincts (plus 139, which is a swing precinct) were voting in the Democratic primary; if there were any crossovers there to support Bacarisse and his anti-Metro stance, they were pretty lonely.

Thus, I think you can reasonably say that Metro-bashing may still play well in this area among Republican primary voters, but the appeal would seem to be limited. I wouldn't draw too much of a conclusion here, since as I said there were more high-profile issues in this race, and perhaps Bacarisse's name ID wasn't as good as he thought it was, but you can say there's nothing in the data here to suggest that this small number of folks have given up this battle.

So there you have it. My thanks again to Greg for the data and the map-drawing.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 09, 2008 to Election 2008