Friday, August 3, 2018

The Schledwitz Letter Accurately Forecasts the August 2nd Election

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 10:52 AM

Local businessman Karl Schledwitz, whose involvement in politics goes back decades, makes a habit of predicting election results in a letter to his email network on or immediately before Election Day. Below is the letter he dispatched in advance of the August 2nd vote. Readers are invited to compare Schledwitz's forecast to the actual results.

"More than 20 years ago, the Shelby County Republican Party led
Karl Shledwitz
  • Karl Shledwitz
the effort to convert countywide elections in Shelby County from nonpartisan to partisan. Many political observers then predicted that it was just a matter of time until the demographics of Shelby County gave the Democrats a major advantage during elections. I predict that this is the year — 2018 — when the Democrats finally prevail.

"The reality is the demographics should have prevailed for Democrats in 2010 and 2014 but Republicans still won for a variety of reasons referenced below. My prediction is that Democrats will overwhelmingly prevail in 2018.

"This year through early voting, Republicans have not only lost their advantage in turnout but are now at a disadvantage. I attribute that to several factors. There was not a local candidate in the statewide gubernatorial or senatorial campaigns and the Republican gubernatorial primary was so negative and nasty that it confused many loyal Republican voters, causing many Republicans tired of negative campaigning to stay home.

"In the countywide general election, none of the candidates were incumbents, few had ever run countywide and overall the campaigns were not inspiring. Thus, Republican turnout was far less than what it has been in the past. Contrast that with the Democratic side. For the first time in well over a decade, Democrats had statewide Democratic candidates spending hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively in Shelby County. Former governor Phil Bredesen, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, spent several hundred thousand dollars building a ground team in Shelby County — knocking on doors, making phone calls, digital and social media campaigns, paying for rallies, particularly in preparation for the November senate election. Additionally, Craig Fitzhugh spent several hundred thousand dollars primarily through African-American legislators and other operatives trying to build a margin in the African American community and Karl Dean spent even more making sure he didn’t get shut out in Shelby County.

"Combine that with the best local slate of candidates that the Democrats have had in a long time, many of whom had money even greater than their Republican opponents and the Democratic turnout exceeded past elections. Through early voting, it was 61.3 percent Democrats to 38.7 percent Republican. With early voting typically representing 50-55% of the total vote, it is hard to imagine that election day can change that trajectory. The local candidates on the Democratic side were better financed than in the past. For example, the Democratic mayoral candidate in 2014 and all of the other candidates for the open seats collectively spent under $200,000. This year, Lee Harris spent almost $400,000, Floyd Bonner for Sheriff spent over $250,000, Burgess for Assessor and Regina Newman for Trustee and Morrison for Clerk, each spent over $50,000. The Democrats had a much more diverse slate whereas the Republicans defeated the only two African American candidates in their primary and ended with 9 white males and 1 female, most of whom lived outside the city limits. The contrast was real.

"Prediction. Republicans will get no more than 7-15% max of the African-American vote. This is compared to Republican candidates in the past like Luttrell, Gibbons, and others getting 30-35%. Democratic candidates will also get 30-35% of the white vote, which is more than double what they have in the past. With the turnout between white voters and African-American voters essentially being equal, the results I am predicting are a big sweep for the Democrats. Of the ten county elected offices, I predict the Democrats will win no less than 7 offices, and possibly more. Of the 13 county commissioner seats which are presently split 7 D’s to 6 R’s, I predict that the midtown seat will switch, creating an 8-5 Democratic advantage and an outside shot at going to 9-4. Overall, I think Floyd Bonner may be the top vote getter. Regardless, I believe that he and Lee Harris will win by a minimum of 15 points and very possibly, depending on election day turnout, closer to 20 plus .

"Prediction. If these results hold up, Republicans will have a hard time recruiting county-wide candidates four years from now because they will not have the benefit of incumbency and they will not likely have the benefit of an open gubernatorial election, and the demographics continue to point toward increased Democratic advantage. Although Trump carried this state by 26 points, he lost Shelby County by 26 points. I believe the Trump factor this year was more relevant than people realize. The African-American community was much more resistant to vote for anybody with an ‘R’ in front of their name because of Trump and many white voters fell in that category as well."


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