Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Look Back at February 5th

I wanted to take a look back at some of the more intriguing outcomes from the vote totals in the February 5th primary results. One of the more remarkable outcomes, to me anyway, was the lack of support that Howard Brookins received in his race for the Democratic nomination for Cook County States Attorney in Chicago's predominantly African American wards.

There's a pretty consistent record of races where there was a single viable(1) African American candidate in a multi-candidate field where the African American candidate received consistently strong support from the community, with a notable exception of the mayoral candidates running against Richard Daley in recent cycles. However, Howard Brookins comes no where near those traditional numbers. Take a look at this table showing the Democratic primary results from Roland Burris in 1994, 1998 and 2002, plus Barack Obama in 2004 and John Stroger in 2006.

(1) In the 2004 Democratic primary for Senate, Joyce Washington, an African American candidate was also in the field, but was unable to get more than just a couple percentage points, therefore for our purposes being not viable.


Ward%AABrookinsStrogerObama 04Burris 02Burris 98Burris 94
265.37%20.56%67.32%82.40%68.13%80.77%77.79%
385.79%39.77%86.07%87.82%85.61%89.06%88.44%
477.81%32.24%76.02%94.24%73.30%80.87%73.05%
575.73%34.31%72.01%93.84%72.91%79.31%72.22%
697.84%54.04%88.87%94.43%85.77%93.33%91.82%
790.65%44.52%86.50%90.63%80.04%89.72%86.77%
897.27%56.02%88.76%91.72%83.63%93.27%91.74%
992.17%44.93%87.45%89.60%82.52%91.95%90.68%
1565.65%31.31%84.73%76.88%77.80%86.63%81.70%
1665.03%32.52%87.41%71.41%72.07%82.62%80.93%
1797.86%47.68%88.93%89.78%85.56%91.54%90.98%
1865.67%44.98%79.18%76.53%76.44%59.79%55.64%
2074.75%37.73%86.52%86.64%84.60%90.86%89.46%
2197.95%61.27%88.02%92.66%85.40%92.64%92.08%
2491.27%32.60%88.52%88.68%86.64%92.26%90.74%
2765.18%18.78%76.11%80.44%58.57%73.85%71.57%
2886.01%34.78%86.73%85.57%85.54%91.06%90.86%
2971.46%44.77%84.84%87.70%73.80%83.24%79.72%
3497.55%57.99%89.04%92.94%83.40%89.16%92.63%
3772.16%33.12%85.05%84.63%81.82%89.50%87.33%


Please note that the percentage African American comes from the 2000 census, so that data is eight years old, also the 1994 and 1998 Roland Burris results come before the remap that followed the 2000 census, so the demographics in those wards may not be exactly the same before and after redistricting, in particular the 18th ward was redrawn to include significantly more African Americans.

The difference is really striking. Brookins broke 50% only in wards 6, 8, 21 and 34. He is the incumbent Alderman in the 21st ward and yet he only took 61% in his own ward, at least 20 points below the performance of this peer group. I find this remarkable.

I'm not just surprised that Howard Brookins wasn't as strongly embraced by the community, I'm also surprised that it seemed to happen without those in the community having a preferred alternative. As you can see from this table, each of the other candidates was able to attract support in the community:

Ward%AAAllen AlvarezSuffredinMilanBrewer
265.37%21.75%23.39%25.29%4.31%4.70%
385.79%14.61%19.43%16.90%3.44%5.85%
477.81%12.07%19.04%21.71%2.90%12.03%
575.73%13.80%18.07%24.86%3.10%5.85%
697.84%9.16%13.00%16.02%2.34%5.44%
790.65%10.41%14.80%21.78%2.53%5.97%
897.27%9.70%12.21%15.22%2.00%4.84%
992.17%17.43%14.45%15.42%2.94%4.82%
1565.65%15.90%26.55%16.66%4.26%5.31%
1665.03%15.67%26.14%17.59%3.86%4.22%
1797.86%13.12%14.67%15.74%3.11%5.69%
1865.67%14.71%17.57%14.61%3.64%4.49%
2074.75%14.32%21.69%17.64%3.22%5.40%
2197.95%7.92%10.16%14.20%1.85%4.59%
2491.27%16.38%18.44%22.56%3.56%6.47%
2765.18%16.69%23.59%33.29%3.89%3.76%
2886.01%15.25%20.79%20.87%3.45%4.85%
2971.46%13.92%20.65%14.17%2.66%3.82%
3497.55%10.39%11.57%12.97%2.49%4.59%
3772.16%16.06%24.10%19.09%3.30%4.33%


The African American community has long maintained that they vote for who they each think is the best candidate regardless of race, gender, geography or other non-merit based characteristics. These vote totals make a strong case for that sentiment.

My question is, what was it about this election that produced such substantially different results relative to other recent Democratic primaries? Why was this election so different?

What role, if any, did the historic Presidential candidacy of Barack Obama have on this outcome?

How was this electorate affected by the endorsement of Larry Suffredin by Jesse Jackson Jr. and the strong labor support for Tom Allen?

In a year when national pundits have breathlessly professed to us a divide among the African American and Latino communities how do you explain the strong showing of Anita Alvarez in this community?

And what should we expect in future elections?

My theory: I honestly have no idea. Your thoughts?

3 comments:

Shamus,  9:27 PM  

The 19th ward was behind Anita Alvarez.
Noonan screwed over Brookins he was a spy plant.
Sally Daly was the press spokesman for Alvarez.
Skinny Sheehan and Tom Carey were giving advice.
Paul O'Grady (Sheriff Sheehan's ex chief of staff and brother to mayoral chief of staff Shiela O'Grady)
Marty Walsh's (another chief of staff and the one sued for wanting the new tits he got for his girlfriend back--real story and suit google the news story and law suit)
All with Alvarez

Jesse Jackson Jr played his usual divide and conquer and sold out his own community.
Jackson Jr could not win for someone but can hurt and Brookins could not get his base

Allen could of won but was screwed over by the Mayor and 19th ward
Anita Alvarez won
machine wards
33
11
14
and 13
There was a plan, double cross and shift to Alvarez at the last minute due to polling.
Alvarez is obviously Hispanic which can account for 14 and less so for 11 and 13 but 11 and 13 still could of controlled their votes even with an increased Hispanic population with both
Alvarez was unkown in the Hispanic community only had 2 Hispanic aldemran with her out of 7 or so and well underperformed the Hispanic MWRD and Judicial candidates

Alvarez will be an extension of Devine
Nothing wrong with her, good prosecutor, no scandal
nothing to shake up
good for the status qou
probably do a good job, nothing major changes, Peraica can't beat her unless she is with a dead man or a live little girl, Daley and Devine are happy
Milan staying in hurt Allen

fedup dem 11:14 PM  

Howard Brookins ran a very poor campaign. He didn't give voters much of a reason to vote for him, other than he was an Alderman and a committeeman in the African-American community. Voters wanted more of a reason to support him. When they didn;t get it, many turned to Alvarez.

Anonymous,  2:42 PM  

Did Shamus fail to notice that Alvarez got beaten badly in the 19th Ward? Come on, man. If the genius political operatives in the 19th were with her, she would have won the ward!!!

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