Former candidate for Ward 5 city council position, Diane Levesque issued a statement regarding the defeat earlier in the evening to incumbent Tammy Wilson.
“I’m not surprised at the election results, actually, because of the turn-out figures. Talking to the people in Ward 5 gave me the impression that there’s a strong belief out there that no matter who is elected, the streets will always get neglected. That’s a tough conviction to overcome, especially after decades of this pattern. Part of what figured is the turn-out of the well established Wilson machine, reminiscent of the old Mayor Daly phenomenon in Chicago. Put that up against a newbie with no machinery and it’s not Goliath v. David, it’s Goliath v. infant David with a deep-rooted voter despair complex. Still, for my first time at this, it’s not bad considering what was put into it, dollar for dollar. I was able to cover about 1/3 of Ward 5 with the campaign, and got slightly less than 1/3 of the vote with that expenditure. Not a bad return on expenses totaling considerably less than $300.
Past election records show that spending on campaign trinkets doesn’t drive turnout–all the money spent by the incumbent didn’t drive turnout either. Nor did Vanhooser’s big radio, newspaper, and trinket buys. The voters weren’t crazy about those guys, clearly, but their respective support machines were, and that’s something I just don’t have. That’s the kind of thing I moved out of Illinois over.
Turnout was key, and if I couldn’t convince people that I could succeed in breaking the usual expected inner city neglect Ward 5 had become accustomed to, no amount of campaign spending could change that mindset either. It’s become that deeply ingrained.
There’s another aspect to my campaign that is much better news, though, which leaves me happy about things all the same. That aspect is something I mentioned in the debate: I was running because I had a voter base that Vanhooser gave me. However, that’s a city-wide base that would have put me in the victory column if they had all resided in Ward 5, but I took that into consideration when I campaigned equally for Shewey as I campaigned for myself. Somebody somewhere cited early polls showing Vanhooser leading Shewey by 60%, but if the polling company was the same one that showed a wide margin of support for that grand city parks master plan that failed the vote miserably, well, you can see the huge credibility gap in that one.
And you can see the bright side of my campaign, too–the voter base that Vanhooser gave me didn’t work within the confines of Ward 5, but it paid off for the mayor. I’m not out the cash that Vanhooser is out, having applied strategy in the spending of limited resources, but all that big spending Vanhooser did failed to drive turnout as well. What I spent per vote that I got was pretty good; Vanhooser, not so much.
It’s all good, I’ve got new friends, and from what I hear, I’ve made a difference in how the City does business. It’s all good.”