The Genius of the Voters - Every Vote Counts

The 12th District in New Jersey was one of the 5 nationwide that defeated an incumbent Republican House Member, Mike Pappas, and replaced him with Rush Holt, an insurgent Democrat. Voter turnout in New Jersey in 1998 was down by 12.2%, compared to the last off year election, 1994. In the 12th district, however, voter turnout increased, by only 330 votes, but an increase nonetheless. The Institute of Election Analysis is located in the 12th District of New Jersey.
Leinsdorf's Second Law of Election Analysis - They turn out to throw them out.
In 1994, the 12th District elected Republican Richard Zimmer with 125,939 votes to Democrat Youssouf's 55,977 and Conservative Party candidate Provenzano's 2,364. The total 12th district turnout in 1994 was 184,280 votes.
In 1996, Dick Zimmer ran for the U.S. Senate against Robert Toricelli, and lost. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties had hotly contested primary races to choose candidates to succeed Zimmer in the 12th District. In the Republican Party, Somerset County Freeholder Mike Pappas defeated State Senate Majority Leader John Bennett. Pappas ran on a right-wing anti-abortion platform, while Bennett was a more moderate Republican.
In the Democratic Party, there was a three way race. David Del Vecchio, the Mayor of Lambertville, defeated physicist Rush Holt and former Princeton Township Committeeman Carl Mayer, a lawyer. Carl Mayer, a man of means, was able to put hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money into the race. In the 1996 General election, Mike Pappas defeated Dave Del Vecchio 135,811 to 125,594; with three other candidates receiving a combined 7,815.
In 1998, Rush Holt and Carl Meyer faced each other again in the Democratic primary. Holt defeated Mayer 10,055 to 5,860.
In 1998, the 12th district elected Democrat Rush Holt with 92,528 votes to Pappas's 87,221. There were four minor party candidates: Mary Jo Christian, Natural Law party - 578; Joseph A. Siano, Libertarian Party -2,125; Beverly Kidder, Reform Party - 749; and Madelyn R Hoffman, Green Party - 1,409.
During the campaign, Rush Holt accused Green Party candidate Madelyn Hoffman of "taking votes" from him. The results prove this assertion false.
Holt beat Pappas by a 5,307 vote margin. The four minor party candidates combined received 4,861 votes. So, even if all the people who voted for the minor parties had voted for Pappas, Holt still would have won. The genius of the voters is this. In 1994, the Republican and Democratic candidates combined received 181,916 votes. In 1998, Holt and Pappas received 179,749. So, the voters turned out in sufficient numbers to make the 12th district the only district in New Jersey to see an increase in voter turnout compared to four years earlier. Even though the district was the only one to have a higher turnout, the voters still managed to give the two major parties fewer votes than they did in 1994. That's pretty fancy voting pardner! Where incumbents were re-elected; the vote dropped an average of 12.2%. This confirms my observation that incumbents generally lose on high turnouts.
But the voters of the 12th district still managed to give the Republicans and Democrats 2,167 fewer votes in 1998 than they did in 1994. This was a low turnout election. Less than 45% of theregistered voters went to the polls in the 12th district. Without the four minor party candidates in the race, the turnout in the 12th district, like the rest of the state, would have declined.
So, when people tell you not to bother to go to the polls to vote for someone you know is going to lose; don't listen to them. Leinsdorf's first law says: Every Vote Counts. Each of the four minor party candidates in the 12th district received more than the 330 votes by which the turnout in 1998 exceeded the turnout in 1994. Without any one of them, the turnout in the 12th district would have declined, too. And possibly, with the decline in turnout, the incumbent might have been re-elected. Every one of the 6 candidates in the 12th district made a significant contribution to the race. Voters can't reward every candidate with victory, but they are smart enough to reward them with tactical significance, if they do a good job.
No one is smarter than 184,610 people (not to mention the 90 or 100 million who vote in presidential elections.) It pays attention to listen to what every one of them says in the privacy of the voting booth. That is the basis of my election analysis. By applying it to all races, any individual, can learn a lot.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf