Precinct analysis: 2023 Mayoral runoff

You might want to hide your children’s eyes, these numbers are quite ugly if you were a Sheila Jackson Lee supporter:

Dist  Whitmire    J Lee
A       12,578    3,807
B        2,625   11,199
C       29,030    8,769
D        5,012   14,150
E       20,469    4,140
F        4,693    3,093
G       29,819    4,308
H        9,713    5,436
I        6,183    4,491
J        4,066    2,273
K        7,710    8,633
Dist  Whitmire    J Lee
A       76.77%   23.23%
B       18.99%   81.01%
C       76.80%   23.20%
D       26.16%   73.84%
E       83.18%   16.82%
F       60.27%   39.73%
G       87.38%   12.62%
H       64.12%   35.88%
I       57.93%   42.07%
J       64.14%   35.86%
K       47.18%   52.82%

As I have said, when an election is a blowout the precinct data usually isn’t very interesting. One is to compare these results to the 2015 Mayoral runoff, in which Sylvester Turner cobbled together enough votes to hold off Bill King (doing us all a big favor in the process). Unlike this race, that was nominally a D versus R race, though King has always claimed to be some kind of post-partisan whatever. He still carried Districts C, F, and J in addition to dominating the Republican districts, which was very nearly enough to win. But look at Turner’s margins in B, D, and K, where he was ten points or more ahead of SJL’s pace, and racked up much larger absolute margins. Turner had a net 40K vote lead in those three districts – and he needed every one of those votes – while SJL netted fewer than 16K votes in those districts. Turner’s performance was the minimum of what she needed to win, and she fell far short of that. That’s the ballgame right there.

There is one other point to note. SJL got fewer votes in December in her three strongest districts than she did in November. To some extent that’s expected, as runoffs tend to draw fewer total voters. John Whitmire also got fewer votes in districts B and D than he drew in November, though he increased his total in K. He also picked up more votes in the districts where he ran the strongest, and flipped districts F and I into his column. This is how you go from a seven-point lead to a thirty-point romp.

I went back and looked at the 2009 runoff as well, just to see what I could glean. You can’t make a straight comparison since 2009 was before the Council redistricting that created districts J and K, but this was also a contest between a white Dem and a Black Dem, and the overall pattern of who won where is familiar. The main thing I noted in that writeup was that both Annise Parker and Gene Locke netted an extra 27K votes in December over November. That was true even though the total number of votes cast in December (about 150K) was less than November (about 180K). Both picked up votes from the other candidates in the race. This year, Whitmire netted an extra 20K votes, but SJL finished with about 18K fewer votes. Whitmire won the second place votes from other candidates, while SJL didn’t hold on to all of her initial voters. It’s brutal all the way down.

I’m sure some of that was because of Whitmire’s crushing cash advantage – I don’t know about you, but I could not escape Whitmire ads throughout the runoff period – while SJL had no cash as of November election day and didn’t raise much more after that. Some of that was probably vibes – I don’t know what anyone was expecting going into November, but trailing by 20K votes is rarely where you want to be. Whatever the case, Whitmire had the advantage, he pressed it, and you can see the result. I’ll have more of these as we go. Let me know what you think.

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3 Responses to Precinct analysis: 2023 Mayoral runoff

  1. David Fagan says:

    2015 runoff? Turner had a lot of help, wonder what happened to those people?

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