Analysis: Is Philly a Blessing or Curse for Dougherty?

Kevin-DoughertyLast Tuesday was a good day for the Dougherty family.

John Dougherty’s favored candidate, Jim Kenney, easily won the Philly Mayoral Democratic primary in a landslide.

Additionally, in a race that didn’t garner the same headlines but may prove just as important, Kevin Dougherty won the Democratic nomination for one of three open seats on the PA Supreme Court.

Unsurprisingly, much of Kevin’s support came from Philadelphia.

John (or “Johnny Doc” as the media, but hopefully not his family, calls him) is the influential labor leader of IBEW 98. The union gave a substantial amount of financial support to Kevin. That aid paid off when the final results came in.

Judge Dougherty received 357,524 votes statewide. In Philadelphia, which is a county as well as a city, he pulled in 139,738 votes. So just over 39% of Dougherty’s total came from Philadelphia.

Now this isn’t unexpected, after all Dougherty is from Philadelphia and serves on the city’s Court of Common Pleas. He also received significant support from Philly’s “collar counties” as well (if you add his votes from Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montco together it comes to 55.5% of his total).

Although this does potentially present one large problem. It is entirely possible more Philadelphians turned out to vote last Tuesday then will show up on November 3rd.

Philly, like nearly all U.S. cities, is a Democratic stronghold. Therefore, an open six-person party primary could draw more voters than a general election in which no one believes the GOP nominee has a chance.

For instance, during Philly’s last open Mayoral contest in 2007, 291,492 showed up to vote in the Democratic primary. Come general election time, though, turnout was just 222,583. That represents a near twenty-five percent drop-off.

Considering 231,243 Democrats voted in this year’s Mayoral primary, I did some math to reach an estimate of how many fewer voters Dougherty can expect out of Philly in November (please keep in mind I’m a political science major and not Euclid). If there is a similar drop in turnout from 2007, that could mean approx. 35,000 less votes for Dougherty.

Given this possibility, the Dougherty campaign should focus on other Democratic areas throughout the commonwealth so there are not over reliant on any one part of the state.

Ultimately, Philly turnout for Dougherty will be an intriguing subplot of an intense battle to fill three open seats, and determine the direction of PA’s highest court for decades to come.

May 25th, 2015 | Posted in Editorial, Features, Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Analysis: Is Philly a Blessing or Curse for Dougherty?”

  1. valerie says:

    Does anyone know Kevin Dougherty’s position on voter ID, State pensions, and taxing the natural gas drillers? email : Valerief614@gmail.com

  2. Jackb1977 says:

    It will be interesting to watch the dynamics between the democrats trio and the republican trio. Olson and George already ran as a team in the primary leaving out Covey. Wecht has a bit of an ego, so I’m not sure how he will play with the others. My favorites are Donohue and Olson with the 3rd up for grabs. Wecht could make for Allegheny sweep.

  3. Drewpy says:

    Why do I get the feeling that there will be Wecht trolls on this page pushing their candidate to seperate from Dougherty???

  4. Brad Kirsch says:

    Democrats can be proud of the present judicial candidates and must conduct a campaign that reaches the voters on the basics of why the Courts are important to their basic rights!

    The former pretense of judicial impartiality should yield to the facts of such outrageous decisions such as Citizen’s United. The backgrounds of Democratic judges and their real records of decisions that fostered a fair chance for all citizen’s rich and poor is the only issue that should be presented as the reason to elect all three.

    As Mr. Franklin said, “We have given you a Republic if you can keep it.” And keeping it is a major factor to consider as we elect judges who understand their role is to the people and not to just the wealthy. This election is essential to the people who depend on fair legislative apportionment which is certainly not what we have today.

    Gerrymandering is the last refuge of scoundrels and we need judges who will be really impartial to end it!

  5. bungy says:

    R’s will sweep. Easy as that.

  6. Bono says:

    Covey’s status as “not-recommended” by the Bar Association will be used repeatedly against her in the fall campaign. Olson will benefit from parochial votes by those from Allegheny County. It happens in every state-wide judicial election.

  7. YoungforPA says:

    Look at the numbers people. Dougherty performed horribly in the West. Wecht didn’t do so hot in the SE. Donohue won some counties in Central PA where Democrats are as relevant as the Green Party. I see geographic trouble for the Dems. If I’m Wecht, I’m running miles away from Dougherty.

  8. Jackb1977 says:

    Donohue and Wecht are in good position heading into fall. Dougherty needs to expand his map and avoid “philly” label the best that he can going into November. Dems can will 3 but will need to thread the needle if no independent runs for philly mayor.

  9. Rob Wells says:

    The Three D judges need an independent Mayoral Candidacy to spur some turnout in Philly. Without that happening, those Lazerus votes will be a wash when they are looking at 20 per cent turnouts at best there and Pittsburgh.

  10. Lee says:

    Philidelphia and all Pennsylvania Democrats will have three important reasons to elect Democrats Dougerty, Donohue, and Wecht to the State Supreme Court in November. Those issues being Right to Work, Voter ID, and Redistricting . With Republican majorities in the State House and Senate these are all issues that will eventually come before the State Supreme Court. Check out how the Illinois State Supreme Court has overturned legislation inacted by a Republican Legislation in that state .

  11. Ian Murray says:

    Kevin came in second in Erie County behind Donahue that happened because he was a great candidate and two we pushed him we can’t afford to lose the Sipreme Court Ian Murray DNC Erie ,Pa

  12. PhillySteve says:

    Doc should cut the other democratic judges from his ballot to ensure that Kevin gets a 100k vote lift over all five competitors.

  13. David Diano says:

    Nick-

    Dougherty’s nearly 140K votes in Philly were also in a contest against other judge candidates. Even though voters could vote for 3 candidates, the numbers indicate that didn’t occur. So, supporters of Anne Lazarus (who got 80K votes) might not have cast a primary vote for Dougherty, but would do so in the Fall.

    If only 200K Dems vote, a higher percentage of them might still vote for Dougherty because he (with Wecht and Donohue) will be on every sample ballot.

    The Philly Dems need to get there act together and work to elect Dems to this branch of government. The redistricting is going to keep them from controlling the legislature, and they need the court for the next redistricting battle.

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