When analyzing elections doesn’t really matter

There are two interesting special primary elections tomorrow; one in AL HD #5 in northern Alabama, and the other in MN HD #3A in northeastern Minnesota.  I have had these two contests on my calendar for several weeks now, and have been studying and analyzing these districts and these races.  I was especially eager to apply my methodology of geographically analyzing the addresses of campaign contributors to see how that impacts voting results, as I have done previously in special elections in Georgia, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

However, I’m not sure that I will be able to post much about either of these contests.  I have partially-completed vote breakdowns and half-done maps that desperately needed a chunk of time spent this past weekend to complete.  And that was the plan.  But unfortunately, real life intruded, and in the worst way.

If you are a sports fan, or someone who follows the news, you likely have already heard about a high-school quarterback named Evan Murray from northwestern New Jersey who died on Friday night after being injured during a game.  (If you aren’t aware of it, there are articles here and here.)  That took place in my town, and that is the high school my kids attend.  And on that night I was of course at the game, waiting for our son to take the field with the marching band at halftime, and watching the classmates of my kids play, some of whom I have coached or coached against in various sports when they were all much younger in elementary school.

Evan Murray has been our high school’s quarterback since he was a sophomore, and those of us who coach youth sports in the area knew he was going to be an outstanding high school player at multiple sports since he was little.  But he was much more than an athlete.  He was an honor student, and a member of the National Honor Society.  He was a regular classmate with our son in his AP and Honors classes.  And his success on the field or the court or the classroom was seemingly dwarfed by how he was as a person.  No matter how much he excelled, I simply never heard anybody say anything bad about him.  He was polite, and considerate, and treated everybody well, regardless of who they were.  Every time his name would come up at home, our son would describe him the exact same way – “he’s just a really good guy.”

So unfortunately, I spent this weekend taking my kids to impromptu gatherings of their teammates and classmates, reaching out to other community members to see what could be done to help, and just trying to process how something so inexplicable could happen so quickly in our town.  And that meant no time for political analysis, which I obviously love doing but which seemed far too much of a luxury.

I ask for your understanding about the lack of coverage of these elections tomorrow, but more than that, I ask for your thoughts and prayers.  Prayers for Evan’s parents and family and longtime girlfriend.  Prayers for his friends and teammates.  Prayers for his classmates and teachers and coaches.  Prayers for this school and this town.  All of whom must try to cope with the unimaginable loss of one of their best and brightest, not because of his accomplishments, but because of his character.

Rest in peace, Evan.

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