The South Dakota primary produced dozens of interesting numbers. Let's zero in on three telling numbers:
- Total voter turnout: 21.11%
- GOP turnout: 25.16%
- Dem/Ind turnout: 17.79%
Now let's start with a caveat: the Secretary of State's numbers are a bit wonky here. He calculates the voter turnout for Democrats and Independents by dividing the total votes by what appears to be just the number of registered Democrats (182,698) rather than the sum of Dems and Indies (around 273,000). If we use D+I, voter turnout in the quasi-open (no GOP allowed) Dem primary yesterday was only 11.88%.
Ideological opponents Bill Fleming and Troy Jones offered these comments here last night:
Look at the GOP. And their race was a foregone conclusion, and theyâ€™re STILL outvoting us. For cryinâ€™ out loud, people. Come on [Bill Fleming, comment, Madville Times, 2012.06.05 20:59 CST].
Good thing you let Indyâ€™s vote in your primary or your turnout would be even more dismal despite having a statewide race [Troy Jones, comment,Â Madville Times, 2012.06.05 22:33 CST].
Dem voter turnout was better in District 22, Beadle and Kingsbury counties, where 24.08% of registered Dems came out to vote in the hotly contested three-way State House primary. In the only two other Legislative Dem primaries, Dem turnout was lower than the paltry statewide average. The three-way District 15 House primary in Sioux Falls, drew 16.06%. The four-way District 26A House primary in Mellette and Todd counties drew 16.57%.
Mitchell had some exciting municipal ballot items; Davison County drew 55.16% Dem turnout and 49.7% overall.
Even local issues didn't guarantee higher turnout. But the Matt Varilekâ€“Jeff Barth campaign definitely didn't drive turnout. The rage over Matt Varilek's error on gay marriage, the rage over Jeff Barth's error on Bush tax cuts... none of it materialized. Dems just went meh.
This fine morning, I lodge only one complaint against the Matt Varilek campaign, a campaign which I now wholeheartedly support. Varilek crushed Jeff Barth 72% to 28%. That's awesome. But Team Varilek failed to inspire 88% of available Dems to vote for him. That's awful.
We Dems need all hands on deck this fall. I'm on, and I know others who are on. But we 12% cannot beat the million-dollar Noem machine alone. We need 100% of Dems, and a whole bunch of other folks. Team Varilek, you have five months to fire those people up. Make it so!