Special elections don’t predict SQUAT…

Yes, it’s been a while. There’s too much going on locally and at the national level and I’m trying to keep my head above water while I’m clearing stuff out. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to see what’s going on daily.

This is getting addressed because of something someone said on Facebook, and it’s just easier to lay it all out in a blog post anyway.

Special elections are NOT useful data indicators. They’re just not. Anyone who sees Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama as a given for future elections fails to understand the difference between showing up at some random time in the calendar year and showing up on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

I mean, who the hell (besides me, of course) has THAT calculation memorized? Right??!

Okay, so here’s the thing. I said before, right here, that Roy Moore was a dumpster fire all his own. Doug Jones won. Yay.

Think that lightning will strike twice? Here’s some enlightening stats for you, based on Cassandra’s List.

In 2017, Jeff Sessions departed the Senate for the Trump administration. Prior to that, he was elected in 1998, 2004, 2010, and 2016. He belonged to Class #2 (of three “classes” or groups of Senators.

Civics 101: The Senate is elected in thirds (for a total of 100 seats), with each third serving six-year terms. Special elections are usually held to replace Senators or Representatives when they depart from office due to resignation, death, or impeachment. Most of the time they occur at random times, not on the usual election day. Louisiana holds its primary on the federally designated Election Day, but holds run-off elections after that, if the winner isn’t clear at the end of Election Day’s proceedings.

I wanted to know what the voting would look like for Doug Jones when he ran against Roy Moore, back at the end of 2017. I didn’t do a complete statistical breakdown then, but I’m starting to see Blue Wave jingoism out there and I hasten to remind folks that there were only 22k votes between Doug Jones and Roy Moore last time.

Here, for your edification, are the stats (in the same way I’ve been keeping them for the other elections). That is to say: All votes (regardless of candidate) counted for the primary in each of the two main parties, and the votes for the two leading candidates in the general.

YEAR-? / CLASS #: Winner             | Primary(R) | Primary(D)/ General(R) | General(D)
2020-P / Class 2:  
2017-S / Class 2: Doug Jones (D)     | 423,282    | 165,006   / 651,972    | 673,896
2016-P / Class 3: Richard Shelby (R) | 778,851    | 274,423   / 1,335,104  | 748,709
2014-M / Class 2: Jeff Sessions (R)  | Unopposed  | Unopposed / 818,090    | Unopposed
2010-M / Class 3: Richard Shelby (R) | 480,588    | 264,935   / 968,181    | 515,619
2008-P / Class 2: Jeff Sessions (R)  | 216,408    | 175,889   / 1,305,383  | 752,391
2004-P / Class 3: Richard Shelby (R) | Unopposed  | Unopposed / 1,242,200  | 595,018
2002-M / Class 2: Jeff Sessions (R)  | Unopposed  | 397,919   / 792,561    | 538,878
1998-M / Class 3: Richard Shelby (R) | Unopposed  | Unopposed / 817,973    | 474,568
1996-P / Class 2: Jeff Sessions (R)  | 217,868    | 315,724   / 786,436    | 681,651
S-Special Election

2020, when Doug Jones tries to keep his seat in a deep red state, will be an election year. Notice anything about the numbers?

Also note: In 2017, a further 22,852 write-in votes were also received. The majority of these votes were for other Republicans, just not Roy Moore.

So I leave it to you to gather your opinions. Do YOU think Doug Jones is gonna get to keep his seat?

Yeah. Me neither.

As usual, your mileage may vary. And I’d love to be wrong. I just don’t think I am.

(All stats gathered from Wikipedia, which is occasionally good for something.)

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