On first glance the results of last Tuesday night’s election might seem puzzling. How could a conservative like Tom Mallams lose by a 2-to-1 margin and yet conservatives like Linthicum and Reschke win by wide margins? Why did the Predator Control ballot measure pass and the marijuana one fail? Those were some questions we wrestled with until we looked closer at the races and the data. Below are some truths that will help make sense of what happened in May’s primary election.
Principle #1: Voters preferred non-incumbent candidates in non-partisan races. Whether it was the two Commissioners’ races or the Sheriff’s race, it was clear that voters preferred someone new over someone currently in the job. Current Commissioners Mallams and Bellet were both beat by political new-comers Boyd and DeGroot. While Mallams was significantly outspent, the only difference in the Position #1 race was that Boyd was able to secure over 50% of the vote and not have to run again in November. DeGroot is the favorite against incumbent Bellet. It will be interesting to see if the trend of “throw the incumbents out” in non-partisan races continues this fall and onto 2018.
For the Sheriff’s race Martin Rowley was seen as Sheriff Skrah’s substitute. Voters clearly preferred the two outsiders: Kaber and Lewis. Kaber and Lewis will have run-off election in November to see who our next Sheriff will be.
Principle #2: Voters preferred incumbents by wide margins in partisan races. Just the opposite was true in partisan primaries. From Walden, to McLane, to Linthicum and Reschke (seen as the replacements/incumbents for the Whitsetts), these Republican incumbents enjoyed large-margin victories. Even though Linthicum and Reschke were outspent between 4-5 to 1, the Republican voters were clear in wanting to keep the status quo for U.S. and State offices.
Principle #3: Tax Levies continue to succeed when they are tied to public schools or farming. While we at KlamathNews.net have been strong advocates for a “No New Taxes” policy, voters continue to squeak by public school and farming based levies. As new buildings are built and farming/ranching expenses are passed along to the tax payer at large the overall disposable income of Klamath residents continues to drop. The consequence of such policies is that Klamath becomes a less attractive marketplace for new businesses and entrepreneurial ventures.
So onto November we go. Will these trends continue or will they change? Only time will tell.