Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Campaign Finances: City-County Council Elections, 2015 (Update to yesterday's post)

Yesterday I posted an analysis of prior votes in the Indianapolis city-county council (CCC) elections, to make predictions about this November's election. Those predictions were based solely on prior voting estimates from the 2011 CCC election (the boundaries have since changed, so only an estimate is available), and the 2014 state elections (updated boundaries are applicable). In a sociology textbook from which I used to teach, the author quoted a common political science dictum, that the candidate who gets the most contribution money, wins 90% of the time. A recent analysis at the federal level, indicates that in the 2012 election, "94 percent of biggest House race spenders won," and "82 percent of biggest Senate race spenders won."

I don't know how that translates to local elections. In our case (Indianapolis), based on city published financial records of city-council filers as of 3/12/2015, of those who have filed reports, those with the largest war chests are likely to win anyway, either being an incumbent, the only filer in the race, or already having a wide historical voting margin. In that sense, the financial data as of mid-March doesn't give us much new information.

Below, I provide two tables of the same information, both of the major party candidate filers (the deadline has passed, so this is the final list, unless independents, or minor party candidates file)--the table on the left is sorted by contribution amount, and the table on the right is sorted by district. In both tables, I have highlighted the district in red if Republicans seem likely (or assured, by virtue of being the only candidate) to win the seat, blue if a Democrat is likely (or assured) to win the seat, and green if prior voting history does not give me confidence to predict the race--there are three districts in that category: 2, 3 & 21. Of those, only district 3 has candidates with more than $1,000 in contributions so far reported, and there are two incumbents running (Hickman and Scales). Historically, district 3 has voted largely Republican, and combined, the current 2 filers have almost 250% more money than the Democrat. So far, no empirical data is looking good for Ms. Hickman.

At the far right, there is a small table with the total Republican vs Democrat finances--so far Republicans have reported more than twice the contributions as Democrats.

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