Chris Briem runs a recap of the Bodack-Dowd contest from this past spring (and you can’t comment on it). He says that we are sufficiently past the election to deconstruct what happened. Well, really he says what he has said all along, which is that Lawrenceville on the one hand and Highland Park on the other were largely unmovable, that they voted the same way and in the same numbers as in the 2004 primary. Keep in mind that in 2004 Mr. Bodack was defeated, but because he was defeated by a combination of two candidates, he in fact won a plurality. This year every one cast their votes the same way as in 2004, but there was only one Dr. Patrick Dowd. So I effect the race, according to Chris, was all about Len, Lawrenceville’s affection for him and Highland Park’s dislike of him. Fair enough, put that way it is hard to dispute.
I do want to look at a few other factors, though.
This time around, Mr. Bodack was the incumbent, son of a popular State Senator.
Dr. Dowd, while on the school board, had been part of the group that had fired the African American Superintendent, John Thompson, and in fact Dr. Dowd had felt compelled to make a speech about why he had thought it necessary (maybe he will have a handler on city council to keep him from doing that sort of thing again).
I think I had heard that the elder Mr. Bodack was not doing so well, which could have limited the help he could have given his son and distracted his son as well.
There was the questionable effect of blogs, this one, of course, included.
There is the door knocking done by Dr. Dowd and others, sufficient to attract the attention of Dr. Dean.
All of these factors mixed in to this year’s race, pulling it this way and that, all toward the fateful 80 votes that would determine the winner. The point I want to make is that the only factor under any one’s control was Dr. Dowd’s door knocking, and Mr. Bodack’s lack of it. The other factor’s were either facts of life or happenstance. So again, credit is due to Dr. Dowd for the effort he put into the campaign. Otherwise incumbency and other factors would have likely tipped the balance the other way
I had taken notice of what had appeared to be a high turnout in 2007 for the primary, but Chris was at pains to tell us it was very similar to the 2004 turnout. Maybe both races were fairly heated. Maybe the 7th district is very patriotic, always wanting to do their civic duty by voting. Maybe it’s a big district. Maybe Len Bodack should have offered Highland Park to Bill Peduto, to reduce the size of the district.
So Dr. Howard Dean came to Pittsburgh and apparently congratulated Dr. Dowd on his door knocking skills. Hmm. This was a primary. There were no republicans in sight, only democrats. It’s nice and all that he came, but I think Dr. Dean should be careful about deliberately splitting the party.
On the Burgh Report I made a comment that Bill Peduto did not have a degree. This is what I had read in the PG. In fact, he does, he went back and finished. Why didn’t I know? I really dislike the Trib’s editorial policies, and I forget that the Trib, sort of like the WSJ, has some decent reporting.