Election postmortem

7:40 am

Election results are in. With fewer than 15% of registered voters bothering to mail in their ballots, Pam Knowles has coasted to victory in her zone 5 race over Scott Bailey, 61% to 38%. Zone 5 was the “money race;” the two candidates raised a combined $75,000. Bailey, who received 15,479 votes, has so far reported $36,441 spent (of $41,154 raised) on his campaign, or $2.35 per vote received. Knowles reports $29,116 spent (of $34,040 raised), and received 25,055 votes; that’s 86 cents spent per vote.

In the much lower profile zone 4 race, incumbent Martín González walked away with 51% of the vote in a three-way race. Rita Moore and Steve Buel split the difference of the remaining vote. Total campaign spending by the three candidates in zone 4 was around $7,000, or less than 10% of what the two zone 5 candidates spent. Roughly the same number of votes were cast — just over 40,000 — for both positions.

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

filed under: Elections, School Board

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7 Responses

  1. Comment from Terry:

    Here’s my postmortem:

    Democracy in local elections is non-existent. How can we say that the decision of 15% of REGISTERED voters is a fair reflection of the concerns of the larger community?

    What a joke!

    Secondly, we’re in for at least two more years of business as usual on the board. Maybe longer if no one steps up to challenge the four incumbents in 2011.

    Some on this site have spoken of taking “direct action” to alert the board and the community to the “crisis” –in equity, in funding, in governance– facing Portland Public Schools.

    I say it’s time to get it on.

  2. Comment from Lakeitha:

    I’m on it for 2011. If I haven’t completely given up hope that PPS can meet the challenge of educating all children in an equitable way.

  3. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Funny, I covered the high end (Bailey spending $2.35 per vote); Beth Slovic at Willamette Week covers the other end: Steve Buel spent 2 cents per vote.

  4. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Heck, if all the people supporting you are terrorists (see WW endorsements) you don’t have to do much to motivate them.

  5. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    To wit: “Four years later, Buel’s bomb-throwing has zero appeal to anyone but the Bill Ayerses of the world.”

    So I guess there are close to 10,000 Bill Ayerses voting in special elections in Portland. 😉

  6. Comment from bjc:

    Two thoughts:

    – The money spent on Zone 5 probably increased overall voter participation, without that spending participation would have been even less.

    – I’m not surprised a similar number voted in Zone 4, I can’t see lots of people bothering to vote on one race and not the other. That probably worked to the benefit of Gonzalez, assuming voters brought in by the Zone 5 campaign tended to follow endorsements.

  7. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    With the worst turnout in a Multnomah County May election for at least 14 years, I don’t buy that the money spent in the zone 5 race increased turnout. You could just as easily argue that it suppressed turnout. There’s really no evidence either way.

    In May 2007, the turnout was 25%.
    2005: 16.91%
    2003: 56.02%
    2001: 23%
    1999: 31.6%
    1997: 36.6%
    1995: 41.5%