There is no polling of a City Council election that we know of, so the readership of the questionnaires is the only solid evidence of interest in candidates.
Facebook has had a lively discussion of some of the candidates, but the participants are tilted decisively into a no-growth camp.
The readership interest in the candidate questionnaires is not scientific, but it’s the only thing we have to go on.
The question is, will this be a predictor of the outcome Tuesday night?
We’ve been tracking the readership of the questionnaires and it’s now slowed to trickle. By now, most votes have been cast, based on historical voting trends. The final weekend typically amounts to around 10% of the vote.
Here is how the readership tracks through this morning. Note that Position 1 is not on the August 1 ballot; with only two candidates running, they go straight to the November general election. Positions 3, 5 and 7 are on the ballot for Tuesday’s primary.
Position 1′s Mark Baughman has been the subject of a lot of Facebook conversation for his profession in construction. Although he works for a company that focuses on “green” building techniques, the discussion–which, as noted, is almost entirely weighted toward no-growth sentiment–apparently spurred readership of his questionnaire. There was little interest before the Facebook discussion began.
On the other hand, this is Jason Ritchie’s third run for public office in five years and he may be a known quantity, depressing interest in his questionnaire.
Position 3 interest trends remain largely unchanged, despite a Facebook controversy erupting over a mailer paid for by the Master Builders Assn. and other builders that was sent benefiting Karen Moran (and Rituja Indapure in Position 5 and Pamela Stuart in Position 7). Each of these candidates expressed support for more affordable housing in Sammamish, which prompted the mailer. None has come out for development in general.
But the Facebookers went bonkers, assuming that the flier–which took the candidates by surprise–was an indicator that the three were for unbridled growth.
Affordable housing is intended to serve lower income people (which, for the highly affluent Sammamish, still is a matter of definition). Police, fire fighters, teachers and single parents might qualify for affordable housing in Sammamish.
Habit for Humanity is constructing affordable homes on 228th Ave. SE and the Town Center has affordable housing requirements, but the City is otherwise badly under-served for the housing option.
Position 5‘s readership interest remained largely unchanged throughout our tracking.
Position 7 continually showed Melanie Curtright in a commanding lead over Stuart and John Robinson, the latter trailing by a wide margin throughout. But Curtright’s lead narrowed by a point-and-a-half compared with the first tracking. The shift has gone evenly to Stuart and Robinson.
From afar, we had the sense that Curtright has been more active in doorbelling than the other candidates, which may account for the higher interest level. We also get the sense that Robinson hasn’t done much in the way of campaigning. The “low energy” Jeb Bush characterization comes to mind.
Whether this data is meaningful to the outcome Tuesday will be answered about 8:15pm that evening, when the results of the vote are posted. It takes about three weeks for the final results to be certified, but history shows that election night results are typically within one or two points of the final outcome.