Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Incumbent Advantage Of Trudy Wade's SB 36

Anyone wonder if perhaps Trudy Wade conspired with Council incumbents including our mayor in putting together SB36? Think about this, the concerns expressed by Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan in this article will have a bigger effect on challengers than incumbents.

As a matter of fact: Not one person has stated publicly that he or she will be challenging the incumbents. Why? Because it is assumed the incumbents will run no matter where the redistricting will place them but potential challengers don't know what district they will be in and therefore cannot announce their intentions.

Of course my imagined scenario cannot be proven (or can it?) but there is little doubt that Senator Wade's bill provides more incumbent advantages for the next election.
The incumbents have name recognition the challengers don't have. This is true of almost every election and is one of the major reasons incumbents remain in power most of the time. Now as Nancy Barakat Vaughan is quoted as saying in this article:
"Most people start early in the spring,” she said. “You really need to buy yard signs and advertising, to get name recognition out there, especially if you’re new.”

There’s a lot less of that out there this year, Vaughan said — and that’s unlikely to change without some clarity from Raleigh."

Challengers generally start as early as possible. When George Hartzman ran against Mayor Vaughan and Mayor Perkins he started a year before either one of them.

Add to that the fact that Senator Wade's SB 36 has also served to mobilize incumbent supporters earlier than they would normally jump into the fray and the incumbent advantage grows even bigger. Who doesn't believe incumbents' campaign contributions won't rise because of SB 36?

While it is true that the proposed redistricting pits incumbents against one another SB36 does in-fact lend even more advantage to incumbents than it does to challengers.

Thanks you Dr Wade. While your bill may eliminate some incumbents you have almost certainly cemented Greensboro's incumbent mayor's reelection.