Georgia HD 48: Looking again at campaign contributions

Last month, when analyzing the special election in Georgia State House District #24, I introduced a methodology for gauging voter support in local special elections based on the address of each campaign’s political contributors. (One can read that analysis here, as well as a review after the election, here.)  My theory is that very motivated supporters are needed to drive voter turnout in special elections, and those who donate to a local candidate are precisely the type of people who will encourage and hound their friends and neighbors to make that happen.  There are six special elections in Georgia tomorrow for vacancies in the State House of Representatives, and I am looking to do a similar analysis for as many of those races as possible.

I reviewed the campaign finance reports filed by each of the three candidates in Tuesday’s special election in HD #48 in Fulton County, in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.

CandidateNumber of Itemized
(> $100) Contributions
Dollar Amount of
Itemized (> $100) Contributions
James Johnson (D) 5$ 989
Dave McCleary (R) 25$ 15,925
Betty Price (R) 73$ 45,275

I then examined the mailing address for each listed donation and, one by one, determined the corresponding location of each.

CandidateNumber of unique
contributions from
addresses within HD 48
Number of unique
contributions from
addresses just
outside HD 48
James Johnson (D) 31
Dave McCleary (R) 62
Betty Price (R)207

[Since I am looking for unique donations and supporters, I disregarded multiple contributions from either the same person or the same address.  I also ignored contributions from political action committees, campaign committees of other candidates, and addresses with post office boxes.]

 

To simplify the analysis, I aggregated the 14 voting precincts in HD #48 into geographic regions as follows:

  • Northwest-RW01 and RW10
  • Southwest-RW02 and RW11A
  • North central-RW08 and RW16
  • Northeast-AP02B, AP03, RW07A, RW07B, and RW05
  • South central-RW03
  • Southeast-RW13 and RW17

[I wasn’t able to find a map with precinct boundaries, so I used the district map from the US Census Bureau website, and added the boundaries myself:]Georgia HD 48 Map

 

Here is the breakdown of the May 2014 Georgia Republican and Democratic primary vote by those regions:

RegionRepublican Votes
in May 20,
2014 Primary
Democratic Votes
in May 20,
2014 Primary
Total
Northwest 831 176 1,007
Southwest 507 142 649
North central 434 92 526
Northeast 133 114 247
South central 207 130 337
Southeast 570 218 788
Total 2,682 872 3,554

 

And below I’ve broken down each candidate’s campaign contributions by region.  Note that here I’ve also included each candidate’s contributions from addresses which are just outside HD #48’s boundaries:

RegionJ. Johnson (D)D. McCleary (R)B. Price (R)
Northwest 3 13
Southwest 1 3
North central 1 1 4
Northeast 1 1
South central 1 4
Southeast 2 1 3
Total 4 8 27

 

The overall conclusion is fairly inescapable here.  Ms. Price has raised more money than her two opponents, and she has an overwhelming number of contributions from within the District.  She seems to have especially large support in the northwest part of the district, which is the region where the most votes were cast in last spring’s primary.  Frankly, this data suggests Ms. Price should win this special election outright tomorrow, without need for an August runoff.

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