Alabama HD-05 special Republican primary runoff (Updated)

In yesterday’s post, I summarized the three special elections taking place today.  The two partisan contests (in Minnesota HD-3A and Iowa HD-21) should be won by the party which previously held those seats (Dems in MN and GOP in Iowa).  In saying that, I know that special election turnout usually favors Republicans, and sometimes quite strongly, but Democratic voter participation would have to be abysmal for them to lose MN HD-3A.

While waiting for the polls to close, I reviewed precinct-level voting data from the September 29th GOP primary in AL HD-05.  (if you recall, that contest was analyzed here.)   Here were the official results:

Chris Seibert1,32038.8%
Danny Crawford1,13733.4%
Mike Criscillis44213.0%
Ronnie Coffman3289.6%
Jerry Hill1795.3%

After examining the precinct-by-precinct data, I didn’t notice any particularly strong or weak regions in the district for any of the three candidates who didn’t make the runoff.  Therefore, I focused on the head-to-head margins of Messrs.  Seibert and Crawford in each precinct:

Alabama HD5 Primary Results

The circles denote the location of all of the polling places in AL HD-05.  (Note that in some cases, residents must cast their votes at a location just outside the district boundaries, indicated in black.)  Red circles represent those locations where Mr. Seibert had more votes than Mr. Crawford; blue circles show where the reverse was true.  The darker the color of the circle, the greater the margin between the two candidates at that location.

The two darkest circles are both red ones, located in the eastern part of the city of Athens, AL, demonstrating Mr. Seibert’s strength there.  This is not surprising since he is a current Athens City Council member and his name has been on the municipal ballot very recently.  In fact, over three-fourths of Mr. Seibert’s margin of victory over Mr. Crawford came from precincts within Athens – the two candidates ran fairly evenly throughout the rest of the district.  Also, in September’s primary, voter turnout was significantly higher in the city of Athens (15%) as compared with the rest of the district (9%).

Today’s voter turnout will probably be lower than the 12% district-wide rate from September; I’m predicting 8 or 9 percent.  However, a substantial majority of votes should still come from Athens, a scenario which strongly favors Mr. Seibert.  His path to winning this runoff is quite clear, since he merely needs to focus his efforts on several concentrated areas within the city, and I expect him to be successful.

[Updated 12/9/15, 8:00 am]

Well, that was unexpected.

Danny Crawford won yesterday’s GOP primary runoff, 55%-45%.  Based on unofficial results from the Limestone County elections division, former Athens City Councilman Crawford won by about 300 votes, meaning he received almost 600 more votes in the runoff than he did in the September primary.  Mr. Crawford ran strong in the city of Athens and won 13 of the district’s 17 precincts.

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