(The following guest opinion appeared in the November 24, 2009 Longmont Times-Call)
One of my more favorite hobbies is to collect data, sift through and crunch the numbers, and then try to make some sense out of it or look at it in a slightly different way. I’m a political junkie, especially when it comes to elections, so I’d like to put to rest this falsehood that keeps floating around town.
There has been this repeated myth that Longmont had this Liberal/Progressive shift as of the 2007 election. As they say though, the numbers don’t lie. I’ve said this before in print and on my website, but it bears repeating: The “Bloc of 4″ did not win a majority of votes in the 2007 election. Not only did they not get a majority, they didn’t even get a plurality. That’s right; they got a minority of the vote. How’s that? Simple, add up the votes received by Benker, McCoy, Levison, and Hansen and it equals 18,453 (out of 40,051 total votes). That equals 46% of the vote.
Add up those who voted for the other candidates (Lange, Santos, Finley, Rawlins, Tiger, Brown, and DeVore) and it comes to 21,598 – or 54%. The Bloc lost 46-54, a clear majority – against them.
You say some of those candidates in 2007 shouldn’t count? They absolutely should. There were candidates in the At-large and Ward 1 races that split the vote three ways and gave us Sarah Levison and Brian Hansen, respectively, each with less than 50% of the vote. Paul Tiger would never be mistaken as a “bloc” type. Doug Brown pulled out of the mayoral race and supported Roger Lange instead of fellow Democrat Karen Benker. It seems between the two remaining candidates, those on the fence threw 1,005 votes to Brown instead of Benker. And DeVore only got 454 votes, but for arguments sake, pulling out Brown and DeVore’s votes, it’s still a 52-48 non-bloc majority.
2008 wasn’t any better for the liberal/progressive side. In the Special Election in January, Gabe Santos beat Richard Juday 55% to 31%, so things actually got worse for the left in the few short months after their “triumphant” November ‘07 election.
2009 continued Longmont’s walk, or run, away from liberal/progressive ideology, agendas, and policies. The “non-Bloc” as we’ll call them, which includes Baum, Santos, Sammoury, Witt, and Dloughy got 62% of the vote. The remaining candidates (Lange, Benker, Van Dusen, and Fissinger) only got 38%.
First off, Ed Dloughy made it pretty clear of his political philosophy when he said “Democrats scare the hell out of me” at the Longmont Democrat Forum, and he said that he quit that party. Secondly, it’s quite a stretch to lump Roger Lange in with “bloc” type of candidates like Benker. But to keep him out of that group would give the “non-Bloc” a 76-24 edge!
While Lange voted one too many times with the Bloc, he was no liberal/progressive by any stretch of the imagination. And the Democrats knew it as they threw money into his campaign and did what they could for him.
But the numbers show that the Left in this town barely holds any sway with the actual citizens and voters. Longmont even had a major impact on Boulder County ballot questions by undoing the City of Boulder’s vote and the rest of the county’s as well. Longmont also had a higher voter turnout than the rest of the county, which may be a first, and something to be proud of. And how did this larger turnout vote? Not liberal/progressive, that’s for sure.
The Bloc and their followers had their high point in ’07 with 46% of the vote, and it’s been all downhill since. They had two of their candidates (Benker and McCoy) groomed by the organization Progressive Majority, but there is no progressive majority in this city, as the numbers show. Benker is gone, and McCoy has been a disaster. Here’s to hoping he and the remaining former bloc members can undo the damage of the last two years in the next two.
ProgressNow, ThinkProgress, and the Democratic Party have spent a lot of time and money trying to infiltrate Longmont poltics – it appears it’s having the reverse desired effect, for them anyway. The message should be very clear from the voters, this year more than any other – Longmont isn’t Boulder or liberal/progressive, waste your time and effort somewhere else.
The next City Council election is in 2011 (barring any re-calls or resignations) and we’ll check those numbers again at that time.