Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Young Urban Four

Soapbox included a section this week in its article listing the Ten Things To Watch in 2011 on four young candidates for Cincinnati City Council: Jason Riveiro, Chris Seelbach, PG Sittenfeld, and Yvette Simpson.

All four have a connection to the Downtown/OTR area. I've been listening to those who want to through out everyone on council, impractical and improbable as is may sound. I wouldn't mind seeing all Four of these candidates on council. That isn't a political reality, unless all manage some campaign miracles, but it is a good sign to see people stepping up and joining the process. Conventional Wisdom states none of these Four will be in the top Nine in November's election, but all, if they run a solid campaign and place well, move closer to a 2013 win if they keep their organizations together.

I give out this advice every council election to new candidates, which doesn't mean it is impossible to win your first time running (See Chris Bortz), but it takes lots of money and lots of political dichotomies to win. Neither is easy to gain or manage. I hope all Four stick it out.


  1. None of them will win in 2011, but the strongest of the bunch could position themselves for victory in 2013 or 2015. It's not enough to be a young urbanist who is known by other urbanists. That doesn't get you 30,000 votes. You need to know issues, build name ID, etc. What I see from these four to date is pretty fluffy. But they are young, and by running, they will better learn city issues (nuts & bolts issues, not the sexy ones), meet voters, etc, and hopefully be ready to lead by 2013 or 2015. In 2011, the nine incumbents and Harris, Flynn and Watson will fill out the top 12 in some order. Of course, if Tarbell runs, the whole dynamic changes again. Hollan and these 4 will vie for the third tier slots (14-18). BTW, is there anyone on the CincyPac board who isn't running for Council?

  2. Bortz and Pepper had established names and raised ungodly sums. Berding had access to dollars as well. First time winners are rarities.

  3. Do not forget about Laure Quinlivan who won in her first try.

  4. So did Chris Smitherman and Alicia Reece, I believe.

  5. Yes, LQ won on her first try, but she was a local celeb that was on tv for 10 years. Randy, if you think that the four newcomers can break through and best nine incumbents and three challengers who got between 23-25,000 votes last time, & possibly Tarbell, then I think you've been driking a little too much urbanist kool aid. I have nothing against these guys. I think some of them will eventually be on Council if they stick to it--but in 2013 or 2015. None of them will break the top 12 in 2011.

    The standard for white candidates is very different from black challengers, who can win with far lessor budgets. Bernadette was 11th last time; Cecil won his first time; Cole ws 10th her first time, as an independent. If you are a strong black candidate with strong community ties, you can secure a good portion of the black vote, and not need many white votes to prevail.

  6. Alicia Reece had family ties to the Dem party.

  7. SW:

    I made no prediction as to how these four candidates would do. You must have read my original 12 word comment incorrectly.

  8. My bad Randy. My point is that first time (white) candidates can win, but usually the stars have to align by way of lots of council vacancies and/or their having well established names and/or connections to wealthy donors and/or some level of celebrity. I think the 2011 race for most challengers is actually a race for 2013, when several incumbents will face term limits, appointments will be in play, etc. Quinlivan, Murray and Young are not strong incumbents (Murray is new and the other two won't broaden their support and may have difficult surviving anti-incumbent mood), and we can always hope that Windburn is weakened (that the R's will abandon him). But even in the unlikley event the weaker incumbents don't hold their seats, their primary competition would be Tarbell (a shoo in if he runs), Harris (who has been vindicated of late) & Watson, with Flynn at their heels. If all these folks run, then the top 12 finishers are pretty predictable, with the real competition for slots 7, 8 & 9. Tarbell gets one, and Murray, Harris, Watson, & LQ compete for the other two (I think Wendall is out).

    My prediction:

    1. Qualls
    2. Bortz
    3. Thomas
    4. Tarbell
    5. Berding
    6. Ghiz
    7. Windburn
    8. Murray
    9. Quinlivan
    10. Harris (50/50 he breaks top 9)
    11. Watson (appt'd to Cecil seat ahead of 2013)
    12. Flynn (appt'd to Bortz seat ahead of 2013)
    12. Young

  9. SW:

    Tarbell is term-limited...that is the primary reason why he left City Council. I do think that Harris will get in if he decides to run though.

  10. I don't think there's any pattern to first-time candidates winning and losing.

    I also don't think that anti-incumbent sentiment plays a role in council elections. Incumbents rarely lose, and the Enquirer always depicts the budget as being catastrophic.

    I DO think that 5 fiscal conservatives on the sitting council is the largest bloc in a very long time, and is therefore anomalous.

  11. Randy, it's my understanding that Tarbell (and all term-limited incumbents) only have to sit out four years.

    And yes Luke, I agree, incumbents rarely lose. But Wendall is a proven terrible campaigner (did worse his third race than his first), and Murrary is new. So I think these two seats are in play.


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