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More than a quarter of voters in the Goldin-Butke race didn’t vote for Speaker Gordon Fox

October 10, 2012

More than one-quarter of voters taking part in the September 11 state Senate Democratic primary election between Gayle Goldin and Maryellen Butke skipped the chance to vote for House Speaker Gordon Fox, according to an RIPR analysis.

Golden (1043) and Butke (821) combined to receive 1,864 votes in three precincts shared by the speaker (Epoch, Summit Commons, and the Jewish Community Center), while Fox attracted 1,367 votes. That means that 26.7 percent of the Democratic voters who participated in that Senate primary didn’t vote for Fox.

But Fox fares better among primary voters who backed Congressman David Cicilline, a friend and close ally of the speaker.

In looking at the three precincts cited above, Fox (1,367) got more than 88 percent of the 1,556 votes received by Cicilline.

While the First Congressional District race between Cicilline and Brendan Doherty is drawing national attention, an intriguing storyline is emerging in independent candidate Mark Binder’s challenge to Fox.

Binder, a storyteller-turned-candidate, has been hammering Fox over the state’s disastrous investment in 38 Studios, among other things.

Thing got more spicy with the news that political strategist Jeff Britt, a past ally of Fox, Frank Caprio and Don Carcieri, recently returned from Florida to pilot Binder’s campaign. Fox has responded by knocking doors with the very popular mayor of Providence, Angel Taveras, and hiring communications ace Bill Fischer.

Britt managed Bruce Bayuk’s almost-successful write-in challenge to then-Speaker John Harwood in 2002, a fight that wound up being scrutinized by the state Board of Elections.

[UPDATE: The information about the “undervote” for Fox can certainly be interpreted in different ways. Seen another way, Fox attracted almost 75 percent of the vote in a primary race without an opponent.] 

Stay tuned for a lively run-up to Election Day.

This post has been updated.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Uncle Ray permalink
    October 10, 2012 7:59 pm

    Interesting analysis but flawed in two ways (that I can think of). First, it was an open primary, meaning unenrolled voters (including possibly some republicans) voted in the State Senate race. Butke was endorsed by some prominent Providence Republicans, including Tara Pinsky and David Talan, so some of those Butke voters might not really be Dems. Second, why do you assume that all of the Cicilline voters also voted for Fox? There’s no way (that I can see) to get that from the data. Seems to me that the more informative analysis is comparing Whitehouse (1613) to Fox (1367) in those precincts – two unopposed Dems in that election. Still a gap, but half as large now. Finally, in my experience, it’s really hard to draw any reliable conclusions from data about who skipped voting in an uncontested, down-ballot race.

  2. October 10, 2012 9:15 pm

    I’ll agree with your conclusion and don’t present this as anything more telling than the literal details. Yes, some non-Dems might have voted in the Senate race, but it was a Democratic primary election.

    • Mister Guy permalink
      October 11, 2012 6:38 pm

      I know plenty of GOPers that voted in the recent Democratic Party primary. RI’s rules for Party affiliation/disaffiliation are too loose IMHO.

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