On Wednesday, May 27th SRQ Magazine Senior Editor Jacob Ogles hosted the most recent installment of Where the Votes Are at SRQ Studios. Local political watchers gathered early to examine the voter turnout and demographics of the recent Sarasota City Commission runoff race from Districts 2 and 3.
As newly elected commissioners Liz Alpert and Shelli Freeland Eddie prepare for their new roles in Sarasota’s city government, Jacob presented his findings on local residents’ voting patterns over the course of this election and subsequent runoff. Guests enjoyed breakfast and hot coffee over political banter–and this particular Where the Votes Are fostered a healthy amount of conversation, interaction and questions from the audience. In case you missed out on Jacob’s presentation, we’ve got you covered!
1. The entry of the Republican Party apparatus in District 2 had a significant impact on turnout, with Republican voters outnumbering Democrats, even as Dems turned out at a higher percentage rate. But Liz Alpert was still able to grow her supporters at a slightly greater rate than Eileen Normile. Neither candidate was relying exclusively on members of their own party.
2. Republican involvement mattered less in District 3. While all candidates picked up new supporters in May compared to March, neither Stan Zimmerman nor the party did a good job of growing the base, especially when compared to Shelli Freeland Eddie, who saw a 53 percent boost in number of supporters at the polls.
3. The Eddie campaign has noted strides in attracting minority voters to the polls, and there was more increase in minority voters in District 3 than the more populous District 2, but those voters made up a small percentage of her actual gains.
4. Female voters in all districts both outnumber male voters and turn out at better rates, a factor in the heavily female make-up of the commission today.
5. In this election, candidates with momentum early in the May election cycle were able to carry it through the contest, though notably Normile continued to outperform the contest winner in early voting. Eddie in fact started to turn the momentum around before the March election, not soon enough to get the lead in March, but enough to turn the tide irreversibly.
6. Voters older than 60 continued to dominate in numbers and turnout. Voters under 30 continue to disappoint. Voters between 60 and 80 proved the key demographic in all contests, with District 2 skewing older than 1 or 3.
SRQ Media is dedicated to steadfast reporting on all political issues facing Sarasota, and with each installment of Where the Votes Are, we are pleased to bridge the gap between local media and the people that make up our great community. If you’ve never attended Where the Votes Are, join us next time. We’ll save a cup of coffee for you!