What can Jacob Elder do to make his run for mayor a success? One place to start is with people that have run for that position before.
So contact Lisa Triepke: Ask her what went right; what went wrong. Ask how the media helped her; how it hurt her. My, on that last one…I bet she has some words, especially about how she was asked about her 2016 presidential vote. The media really put a woman through the ringer on that one.
And it wasn’t just that. The way they chastised her for taking food stamps, for seeking housing assistance...for feeling just as inferior as she did with the man that took it all from her after the divorce, and left her hanging with the kids. She never wanted to feel as low as that again, and she never thought the Missoula Democratic Party would be the ones do to so, but by God, they were.
How do you get over something like that; how do you excuse it?
That poor woman was just one in a long line that’s been ruined by the party machine in this town, the structure, the established way of things. Don’t get in it’s way; let it ‘help’ you.
Another idea is go to through old voting records to determine which areas support Engen the most (and the least).
Sadly, our local elections office doesn’t tabulate results like this. So although Ward 1 will count all the votes it had for mayor, they’ll just be thrown in with all the other wards’ results.
For instance, back in 2017, Engen got 12,700 votes to Lisa Triepke’s 8,950, or 58% to 41%, with write-in’s taking nearly 1%, or 202 votes.
Back in 2013, there were four candidates running. Engen took 11,360 votes, or 66%. The challengers were Peggy Cain (2,840 votes, 16.5%); Dean McCollum (1,200 votes, 7%); Michael Hyde (1,100 votes, 6%); and write-in’s took 364 votes, or 3.7%.
In 2009, Engen didn’t even have an opponent. He’won’ with 11,700 votes, or 96%. Write-in’s took 533 votes that year.
Missoula won’t share any results older than that.
Another option is looking at the ward totals from previous elections to determine where most people vote, and focus on those wards.
For instance, in 2019 we know that turnouts were like so:
- Ward 1: 3,161
- Ward 2: 2,640
- Ward 3: 2,499
- Ward 4: 3,332
- Ward 5: 3,335
- Ward 6: 2,474
So that year we had 54,000 people that could vote, but just 17,800 chose to do so, or 33%. In 2017 it was 43%.
Wards 4 and 6 vote the least, while Wards 1 and 5 vote the most. In fact, 861 more people voted in Ward 5 than voted in Ward 6 last time.
Elder might want to focus more of his campaign resources on Ward 5 than Ward 6, especially when it comes to knocking on doors. People in that ward want to vote more, and they also lean a bit more conservative, as the election of outsider Contos last time shows. These are the people that Elder needs if he wants to win.
I think what Elder should hope for most is a situation like 2013, with lots of candidates on the ballot. This is the only way he’ll win, if enough people take enough votes away from Engen that someone else can win.
For that to happen, we’ll need a primary. This is totally in Engen’s hands, and I don’t see him calling one for his race, though he likely will for council races if they have more than two candidates.
Remember, last time Engen managed to convince the young college student that was running against him and Triepke to drop out a couple days after filing had ended. I wonder what she received in return.
Engen will try similar tactics this go-round, though that won’t work with more conservative types. While Elder has mentioned he is a bit consevative about finances, I don’t think he’s a Republican.
A lot will come down to the Missoula County GOP, and if they decide to run a viable candidate against Engen.
But...who would that be? I can’t think of anyone.