New Castle News

November 9, 2013

John K. Manna: Taking a look at Tuesday’s election results

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — What to take away from Tuesday’s election in Lawrence County.

Maybe not much, but let’s try.

Voter turnout was awful — just below 20 percent. Based on records of the county Board of Elections, it was the worst turnout for a general election within the last 30 years.

While it’s impossible to get into everyone’s mind — unless you work for the NSA — we can surmise that the low turnout can be attributed to the lack of contested races throughout the county.

In six of the eight school board races, for example, all of the candidates won both party nominations in the primary and, therefore, had no opposition.

Plus, candidates for district attorney, sheriff and register and recorder had no opposition.

Turnout in New Castle was higher than the rest of the county by nearly one percentage point. This was perhaps because of contested city council races and one school board seat.

Contrary to what some may say in the national media, there are no upsets in elections. However, there are probabilities based on voting trends. And there was the probability that Democrats would sweep the three council seats.

This isn’t rocket science, but based on the fact that Democrats hold a wide registration advantage in the city. There have been rare occasions, but it’s been difficult for Republicans to win council seats over the years for that reason.

Mayoral contests are a different story. Voter registration enters into them as well, but Republicans have shown an ability to win given the right set of circumstances.

Home field advantage played a role in the council race. Anthony Adamo, a newcomer to politics, received the most votes by virtue of him carrying the Seventh Ward, his home area, by a wide margin.

Tim Fulkerson, who won the other council seat for a four-year term, received the most votes overall in seven of the city’s eight wards. Adamo, however, won his ward by 99 votes, thus giving him a 55-vote edge over Fulkerson.

Adamo also won election to a two-year term, but he said he will probably accept the four-year term. Regardless of which one he chooses, a vacancy will be created on council when it reorganizes on Jan. 6. Adamo and three other council members will have 30 days from Jan. 6 to fill the vacancy.

While it could be argued the election hasn’t decided everything, but put the decision in the hands of the politicians, the fact is that those who showed up at the polls expressed their will and this is the result.