Sunday, June 10, 2012

Write In is the Wrong Way

A strange situation has developed in the 11th congressional district. Congressman Thad McCotter's petition signatures were found to be mostly invalid. They contained copies of the same sheet and copies from previous years. The fraud was so blatant that it is hard to imagine that any experienced campaign aid could have thought that it would work. The most likely explanation seems to be that McCotter was intentionally sabotaged. Hopefully, Attorney General Schuette's investigation will determine the truth.

The only Republican on the ballot is Tea Party candidate Kerry Bentivolio, who probably wasn't expecting to win. He seems decent on the issues, though a little rough around the edges.

The party establishment, led by Brooks Patterson, doesn't like him though. They met to select a write-in candidate, picking former state senator Nancy Cassis. This author was not impressed with Cassis the one time I heard her speak.

This raises the question of how hard it is to win a write-in campaign. There isn't much data to work with, as most write-in candidates aren't really with it and have no hope of winning.

One of the few exceptions was in the 61st state house district democrat primary in 2010. Democrat Grant Taylor filed but was kicked off the ballot since he had moved into the district one day before the filing deadline. He ran a a write-in, and got the endorsements of the local party establishment over Thomas Batten, who they didn't like for some reason. Taylor spent $95,246 of his dad's money to win 737 votes. That's $129.23 per vote.

Money On Fire Update!

Based on past history, there will probably be 50-80,000 votes in the Republican primary. So Nancy Cassis would need 25-40,000 votes to win. If she has to spend $100 per vote, she would need $2.5-4 million.

Of course, the analogy isn't perfect. Cassis has some name recognition, particularly in her former district. Bentivolio has some Tea Party support, and the media will give the race more attention. In the 61st, neither Batten nor Taylor attracted much support or interest.

Still, this example suggests that Nancy Cassis is unlikely to win.

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