In a normal City Council election, the primary is a fairly accurate poll of the general election.
In a close primary race, the winner on election night may be different from the primary winner because the voter turnout is heavier for the general election and the voters for candidates that lost in the primary may tend to gravitate toward a particular candidate in the general election.
There was little normal about the twice delayed Tuesday, July 26 City Council election, and in the mayor’s race Mayor Nancy Vaughan won both the primary and the general election but the percentages were far different – and as expected the voter turnout was less in the general election than in the primary.
Vaughan won the May 17 primary with 45 percent of the vote to 35 percent for District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling. In the primary Mark Cummings received 10 percent and Eric Robert 9.5 percent.
As Outling noted after the primary, more people voted against Vaughan than for her, and it would make sense for Outling to pick up a majority of those votes in the general election.
But in the general election on July 26, Vaughan’s percentage dropped to 43 percent and Outling’s increased to 41.7 percent. Adding votes from the candidates that lost in the primary wouldn’t cause Vaughan’s percentage of the vote to drop.
In the May 17 primary day voting, Outling only won 13 of the 108 precincts. Cummings won one precinct. There were two ties and Vaughan won 92 precincts.
In the July 26 general election day voting, Outling won 63 precincts. Vaughan won 40 and there were five ties. That’s a huge turn around.
In the election day voting, Outling won with 8,745 votes to 7,952 for Vaughan.
But Vaughan won the election because in early voting she had 5,717 votes to 4,582 for Outling.