Crystal City Council Post-Election Analysis

November 15, 2016 at 1:06 am Leave a comment


ballot

by Jason Bradley

On November 8th, 2016, we experienced one of the more exciting elections we’ve had in a long time. I’m not saying that because my candidates won (after all, Opat and Ellison both kept their jobs), but because we saw a political class that was not able to predict what was about to happen. The election results provide a window into the psyche of the American voter.

I would like to take a little pride in our pre-election prognosis, especially when much of the media had no idea what was happening. We, here at Community Solutions MN, without a single indicator, poll, or primary, gave a pretty accurate preview of both the Crystal and Champlin elections in our previous podcasts.

Let’s take a look at the Crystal Races, and analyze the results. First off was the mayoral race between Mayor Jim Adams and former mayor and challenger, ReNae Bowman. Out of 10,747 votes (78% of all registered voters in the city) Jim got 5,900 votes (54.9%) and ReNae got 4,791 votes (44.58%). 10% is a huge difference. It proves that you can’t run a campaign on half-truths and distortions. Secondly, you need to be a decent person. You can’t go around and publicly defame your opponent, his colleagues, his supporters, and city volunteers. They are potential voters that will never break your way when you insult them. To this day, she has not made a public statement thanking her supporters or volunteers. She has posted plenty of hate-filled, conspiracy-laden, gender and race fueled rants to her personal Facebook page though. People remember those kinds of things. She still has not called Mayor Jim Adams to concede or congratulate him. Should we expect anything less from the person that refused to approve the canvassing board’s results after her first loss to him? Gratitude, kindness, and class go a long way, and unfortunately, I think Ms Bowman has burned too many bridges to ever run for office again. Also, can we put to rest the idea that party identification gets you nothing in a non-partisan race? Despite her calling out her party affiliation from the highest rooftops, it did her absolutely no good. People want your loyalty to your community, not your party.

In Section 1, Nancy LaRoche got 2,701 votes (54.31%), to beat Therese Kiser’s 2,230 votes (44.84%) for Laura Libby’s open seat. This one wasn’t a surprise either. Nancy is a super hard worker and extremely nice. Knowing her character and work ethic made this an easy pick for us. I will say this, Ms Kiser called Nancy on election night, and they have had a cordial relationship, post-election. Thank you for being an example on how to accept a difficult outcome with grace, and running a good race.

In Ward 4, there were also no surprises. Julie Deschler is very popular because she is so involved in her community, that it will be hard to ever unseat her.  She was the big winner with 1,607 votes (67.75%) to Jeff Munson’s 742 votes (31.28%). As long as Julie is running, she’s got the upper hand in Ward 4.

Lastly, we will look at Ward 3. This is the one race where we weren’t sure the incumbent would win. Councilmember Casey Peak was upset with 1,113 votes (46.76%) to John Budziszewski’s 1,258 votes (52.86%). The slim 145 vote victory can be attributed to a few things: 1) John has better name ID than Casey. Casey is very smart, but kept a pretty low profile for most of his time on the Council. In much of the late polling I did, I found that people just didn’t know who Casey was, despite his seat on the Council. I think people also forgot the negativity attached with John’s name two years ago in the way he went after Councilmember Olga Parsons and her supporters. 2) Referring back to John’s image problem from point one, John ran a very quiet race. This helped him to stay out of the limelight and rely on name recognition to pull him through. If Casey had put John in the limelight, it would have been a much different race. 3) Lastly, this race stayed dormant for far too long. I firmly believe that the momentum was shifting to Casey, but he just ran out of time. If the race had begun to heat up in July, the results would have been different. It will be interesting to see how John handles his second chance on the Council. He can come in and be the name-calling obstructionist, or take a cue from his win and lay low, rationally discussing his point of view. The first option will assure him that this will be his final term. The second may buy him many years in those chambers. We’ll see what he decides to do.

Well, there you go. Once again, we did a pretty good job calling these races. It just goes to show how important it is to know your community. When we predict a race, it’s not based on a hope or a wish. It is based completely on execution of strategy and public knowledge of City issues. I’m excited to see what comes next for Crystal. It’s undergone some big changes for the better. I anticipate more to come over the next couple of years. Congratulations to all of the winners!

 

Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.

Connect with Jason on Google+

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Entry filed under: City Government, Crystal, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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