Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thanks for the support!

Meredith Reid Sarkees and Patrick Murfin wish to thank all of our volunteers, contributors, supporters and the voters. We lost the election, but are proud to have stood up to be counted.

Here are the results as posted on
McVote. These results are not final. Early and absentee ballots have not yet been recorded. But early voting was very light and will not significantly affect the out come.

Vote for 4
Precincts Reporting 29/29 100.00%

2468 19.08%
JONI SMITH REP 2565 19.83%


So what happened?

Support for the Democratic Party candidates closely tracked the turn out in most Democratic Primaries (the last Presidential Primary excepted.) In other words folks who are so strongly committed to the party that they have been willing to let their friends and neighbors in a traditionally overwhelmingly Republican area know who they are came out to vote. The much larger number of folks who now vote Democratic in state and national elections, but traditionally pay no attention to local races, could not be turned out despite a concerted effort. Some how we have to get the “national Democrats” to recognize the importance of local races.

Meanwhile the Republican Party, stung by the loss of McHenry County last November, was highly motivated to re-assert their traditional dominance of local governments. The party raised and spent unprecedented money in support of their Team Nunda slate and in support of Algonquin Township trustee candidates challenged by another Democratic slate.

The township was blanketed by hundreds of Team Nunda signs and hundreds more signs for each individual candidate. By contrast the Change for Nunda campaign could only afford 50 signs at least half of which were stolen. There were also multiple mailings and robo calls. Change for Nunda got out one targeted mailing and volunteers made about 1000 phone calls in concert with McHenry County College Trustee candidate John Darger. The Republicans also actually got out and canvassed door-to-door in some areas, which has been unheard of in recent elections. They had ceded the shoe leather department to Democrats who have tried to make up for less well funded campaigns with personal campaigning.

So it became a turn-out-your-base election. And the sad fact is that in Nunda Township the Republicans can still turn out a bigger base than the Democrats.

Nunda Open Space Referendum was also a factor. Murfin and Sarkees enthusiastically supported the referendum, which would have issued bonds to buy and preserve open space for the protecttion ground water reserves. Although the funding mechanism failed to pass it by a mere handful of votes the last time it was offered, bringing it back to the voters in hard economic times was risky. But it was a matter of conscience for both candidates.

Precincts Reporting 29/29 100%

YES 1705 40.89%

NO 2465 59.11%

You can see that the yes vote closely paralleled the Change for Nunda numbers. Murfin and Sarkees got the majority of yes voters. On the other hand support for the referendum undoubtedly cost the candidates some votes even among Democrats voting their pocket books over environmental concerns.

Finally, did the last minute smear campaign launched against Murfin have much effect? For all of the strum und drang it was essentially shouting down the rain barrel. It got half a dozen lunatics into a froth in the on-line comments to letters to the editor in the Northwest Herald. “Discussion” there quickly spun out of control and ended with accusations that Murfin was an actual “Communist.” But most voters of either party disregarded the noise. It certainly did not effect the Democratic base. At worst may have motivated a couple of dozen knuckle draggers to turn out to vote for Team Nunda—and to oil their guns in preparation for the upcoming insurrection against the “socialist/facist/muslim/terrorists/gun grabbing/baby killing regime in Washington.”

But despite the defeat, this election was an important skirmish in the on going guerilla campaign to “Turn McHenry County Blue.” By not ceding local races to the Republicans, Democrats force them to spend large amounts of cash. We keep our campaign organizations intact and in practice between even-year general elections. And we develop experienced candidates who learn the ropes and can go on to bigger things. First time candidate Sarkees, who outdrew old timer Murfin, has all of the credentials to go on to other races.

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