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2016 Danville City Council Race – Update #1 (Part #1)

We’ve got eleven candidates running for five seats on Danville City Council and the game is on. In our first look at the field, we’re going to look at each candidate’s strengths & weaknesses, then a quick analysis of them. For Part #1, we’ll examine the incumbents.

We’ve put the names of the four incumbents in the list randomizer and will go in that order.

Sherman Saunders:

  • Strengths: Current mayor. Long-time incumbent. Strong voter support. Able to fund his campaign well. Extremely likeable in public situations. Strong black voting bloc support. Good old white people voting bloc support.
  • Weaknesses: Sometimes unpopular as mayor. Gets frustrated sometimes at council meetings and it shows. Too long of an incumbent? Low youth voting bloc support.
  • Analysis: I thought that Saunders may not run for reelection, but he’s in. He has enough support to easily win reelection but will he have the council support for another term as mayor once he goes back in?

Lee Vogler:

  • Strengths: Strong self-promotion machine. Well-known and liked in the community. Extremely friendly personality. Able to fund his campaign well. Support from business community. Higher political ambitions. Strong old white people voting bloc support. Good black vote bloc support. Extremely strong youth voting bloc support.
  • Weaknesses: Strong hate from his set of detractors. Sometimes self-promotes to excess. Higher political ambitions (yes, both a strength & weakness).
  • Analysis: Vogler has learned to accept defeat on some issues and he’s handling it a lot better than he did his first years on council. If voters don’t like his style, nothing will change their minds on that during the campaign. There’s a pro-flag campaign clearly against him, but it’s not organized very well and won’t affect his vote total very much. Vogler’s core support by itself is enough to get him reelected. If he can turn out the youth vote as he did four years ago, he’s got absolutely nothing to worry about.

Larry Campbell:

  • Strengths: Well-known in the community. Quiet demeanor but dominating personality. Smartest political strategist ever on city council. Able to fund his campaign well. Does his homework and knows everything. Strong business community support. Strong black voting bloc support. Good old white people voting bloc support. Long-time incumbent.
  • Weaknesses: Can be not liked by those who haven’t get to know him. Seen as opportunistic at times.
  • Analysis: Campbell’s community ties will get him reelected with no problems. His strong anti-Confederate flag stance only helps him with his voting base. The pro-flag group hasn’t even tried to attack him like they have Lee Vogler because they know that’s a losing battle. Larry Campbell is a political ninja. You don’t know that he’s struck until after it happens.

Fred Shanks:

  • Strengths: Strong fiscal conservative. Extremely smart on all council issues. Engineer skills make him the only one with knowledge of those types of issues on council. Very willing to take a firm unpopular side on issues due to his viewpoints. Strong in old white people voting bloc. Has never been strong on campaign financing, but always comes through with enough to get the job done. Long time incumbent. Good business community support.
  • Weaknesses: His pro-flag stance was strong, but cost him badly in the black voting bloc. Appears gruff at times to those who don’t really know him.
  • Analysis: Shanks, like the other incumbents, has the core base of voters to get him reelected. His loss of black voting bloc support won’t hurt him one bit. Voters like Fred Shanks for him being Fred Shanks. That hasn’t changed, nor will it. Fred’s smart on the issues that nobody else could even comprehend. He’s going to need to advertise himself more this time to snatch uncommitted voters, but that shouldn’t be a problem for him.

And that’s the look at the four incumbents. You may have noticed a common theme in the analysis section for all four of them.

There are eleven candidates for five seats. The same average number of Danville voters will vote yet again. That’s showed by the statistics. The big difference is that same number of votes cast gets split up in eleven potential directions, meaning that the Votes To Win Magic Number drops significantly. Incumbency has its strengths in elections, and all four incumbents have the Magic Number of voters in their core bloc. That’s going to be enough just by itself to propel the incumbents back into another term of office. Even if you detest an incumbent candidate, there’s enough people who like that candidate and vote to get them reelected. Yell and scream at that statement all that you want, but the numbers never lie.

As of now, SouthsideCentral rates Sherman Saunders, Lee Vogler, Larry Campbell and Fred Shanks SAFE for reelection on May 3rd.

The real race will be to see which one of the seven new challengers will be able to win the last seat that we project to be open. We’ll put those seven candidates in our analysis machine in Part #2 of this article.

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