Primary crystal ball predictions

Just for the heck of it, I’m going to do my set of predictions on some key races locally and around the state. In the past we did this among ourselves at the Central Committee meetings but we didn’t discuss it last night. So tell me what you think, and if I turn out to be wrong – well, don’t laugh too much. Most of this is a (somewhat) educated guess.

I’m going to begin with the Presidential race, on a statewide level. There have already been several polls on this, so there’s a little bit of cheating involved; then again, the polls actually pretty much mirrored my gut instinct all along.

In Maryland, I see the race like this:

  1. Mitt Romney – 41%
  2. Rick Santorum – 28%
  3. Newt Gingrich – 16%
  4. Ron Paul – 11%
  5. Fred Karger – 2%
  6. Rick Perry – <1%
  7. Buddy Roemer – <1%
  8. Jon Huntsman – <1%

The polls seem to have Romney winning bigger (Rasmussen has it 45-28) but I think Mitt’s people will tend to figure he’s got it in the bag and turnout will be better in certain areas where Gingrich and Paul may run a little stronger.

How about Wicomico County? This is more of a crapshoot but I think the top 4 results will be a little different:

  1. Rick Santorum – 35%
  2. Mitt Romney – 33%
  3. Newt Gingrich – 18%
  4. Ron Paul – 13%

The voters here tend to be more conservative than the state at large.

The other statewide race is for U.S. Senate. Now I’m really going to go out on a limb here, because there aren’t any polls I’m aware of (aside from the sure fact campaigns have internal polling I’m not privy to) but my gut is telling me we may have a barnburner on our hands:

  1. Dan Bongino – 36%
  2. Richard Douglas – 34%
  3. Robert Broadus – 8%
  4. Corrogan Vaughn – 5%
  5. Joseph Alexander – 4%
  6. David Jones – 4%
  7. William Capps – 3%
  8. Rick Hoover – 3%
  9. John Kimble – 2%
  10. Brian Vaeth – 1%

In Wicomico County, I suspect the top three will be Bongino (42%), Douglas (36%), and Broadus (8%). None of the others will be over 3 percent. Incumbent Ben Cardin will be the opponent, with the over-under line for me being 70% of the statewide vote.

And how about the Sixth District race? It’s the most talked-about Congressional primary since the 2008 First District primary, with the added benefit of mud flying on both sides.

On the Republican side, I think Roscoe Bartlett will hold on to his seat with 33% of the vote, with David Brinkley gathering 29%, Joseph Krysztforski 14%, Robin Ficker 10%, and Kathy Afzali 7%. The other three will split the remaining 7%.

What saves Bartlett’s bacon is the fact that there are so many in the race that people may just throw up their hands and go with the name they know. If there were just four or five in the race I think Brinkley has a shot, although the last-minute release of 9-1-1 tapes featuring his ex-wife may knock a point or two away from Brinkley and provide Roscoe’s margin of victory. It’s the voters on the extreme western end of the district who are likely most swayed by that because they don’t really know David that well.

On the Democratic side, I’m sensing a bit of an upset. We figured that this seat was drawn for Rob Garagiola, but I suspect the charges laid against him by John Delaney have done enough damage that Delaney will squeak out a close win, something on the order of 31-30. Milad Pooran will likely run a respectable third with 21%, while Ron Little grabs 10% and Charles Bailey the last 8%.

The Second District GOP race is also interesting, but I think Nancy Jacobs will win it with relative ease, probably with 40% or so of the vote. Larry Smith comes in around 28%, Rick Impallaria with 19%, and the other two with single digits apiece.

Meanwhile, I think John LaFerla will be the First District Democratic nominee against Andy Harris and he’ll end up just short of a majority – 49% district-wide against Wendy Rosen’s 43%. Kim Letke will get the last 8%. What puts LaFerla over the top in the primary is the endorsement of Wayne Gilchrest. What keeps him from winning in November is being endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

GOP winners in other districts will be Eric Knowles (3rd), Faith Loudon (4th), Tony O’Donnell (5th), Frank Mirabile (7th), and Dave Wallace (8th). Wallace gets the nod because the other three candidates will likely split the Montgomery County vote just enough for him to win over Ken Timmerman. Of course, there will not be any upsets among the incumbent Democrats – all of them will get over 75% in their respective primaries.

So what do you think? Am I all wet or do I have a good chance of being correct – and why? As opposed to yesterday, I’m going to leave this up all day until results come in.

One last appeal

On Thursday Anne Arundel County voters got to meet a half-dozen of the aspirants for the United States Senate in one of the last debates before the April 3 primary.

Video streaming by Ustream

The Maryland GOP was heavily promoting this event, so if you haven’t made up your mind yet, this is a chance to do so.

For U.S. Senate

I was actually going to wait until the Sunday before the primary to do this, but realized with early voting I probably should put this out at a time when I can maximize the effect.

When the filing deadline came and went in January, we ended up with ten people on the ballot seeking to challenge incumbent Senator Ben Cardin on the Republican side. (There are also eight Democratic challengers who, with the exception of State Senator C. Anthony Muse, will be lucky to see 20 percent of the vote as a collection.)

But if you look at the ten on our side as a group, you can start to pick out those who have a legitimate chance pretty early. Some have been on the ballot before, but have never come close to grabbing the brass ring. You know, one would think guys like Corrogan Vaughn or John Kimble might get the hint at some point but they soldier on nonetheless, appearing on ballot after ballot every two years for some office. This is Vaughn’s fourth Senate try (counting an abortive 2010 run) and Kimble’s third, although he’s been on a ballot every two years for some federal office since 1996. Another 2012 candidate, Joseph Alexander, ran in the 2010 Senate primary and finished a distant third with 5.9% of the vote.

Others have been in local races and lost. Rick Hoover ran twice for the Third District Congressional nod in 2004 and 2006 and didn’t distinguish himself enough to not be an also-ran. William Capps took on an incumbent State Senator and lost in 2010, while Robert Broadus had the unenviable task of attempting to win as a Republican in the Fourth Congressional District. While Broadus only gathered 16% of the vote, it was a better showing than the Republican winner had in 2008 against Edwards. But even Broadus lost in the 2008 primary – he was unopposed in 2010.

There are four others who are making their first run for statewide office, with Brian Vaeth and David Jones the lesser-known duo of the group. I haven’t heard anything from Vaeth, but David Jones is a candidate who, with some polish and a more appropriate race for a single dad to get into (on the scale of a countywide or House of Delegates district contest) could have a future in the political arena. He had a message which was trying to come out, but a statewide campaign presents an awfully steep learning curve.

Out of the eight I have cited so far, the battle for third place shapes up between Broadus, based on his performance in a difficult district and the ready-made issue he has with his position as head of Protect Marriage Maryland, Alexander (simply based on 2010 results), and Jones (as a hard worker who’s quite likable.) One of the others might surprise me, but these are the guys who seem to me as the aspirants for Miss Congeniality.

Yet the race is really coming down to two men. Each brings something unique to the table.

Continue reading “For U.S. Senate”

Senate candidates in person or on video (or online)

The two leading Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are making their play for votes in various ways.

If you want to see one up close and in person, you may simply attend the Republican Women of Wicomico’s Membership Lunch this Wednesday at noon at Brew River Restaurant, when Richard Douglas will be their featured speaker. Perhaps he’ll talk about the Israeli situation, where Douglas blasted the incumbent Senator for discussing postal closures and not making any statement on Iran in nearly six months. Or Douglas may tout his latest endorsement from Baltimore County Delegate Bill Frank, who called Douglas “the right candidate at the right time.” Certainly he’ll update those attending on his campaign to date.

The cost is $12, and reservations are available from Brew River. But call tomorrow (Tuesday) to assure a place.

Right now you can sit in the comfort of your easy chair – or wherever you access this site – and see a 90-second video put together on Dan Bongino’s behalf.

Interestingly enough, I saw my first Bongino yard sign today locally so the word is beginning to get out on him. “Government is not the answer. We are the answer.” It’s a good message. And who knows, perhaps I can get that video to 1,000 views by placing it here.

We have two good candidates for Senate who have a reasonable shot. That’s not to dismiss the other eight who are running, as all of them who I’ve met seem to be men of character and honor. But the realist in me sees this as now a two-man race for a number of reasons, particularly money and visibility.

Consider these social media facts. If you take the  footprint of their respective websites based on Alexa ratings and the reach of their Facebook and Twitter pages, this is what you would find among the U.S. Senate candidates. Granted, Alexa is sort of a weak indicator of readership but it’s a decent indicator of relative popularity between sites – I would be confident that a site with a rating of 3 million is more widely read than one at 7 million.

Alexa ranking (lower is better):

  1. Dan Bongino – 2,652,827
  2. Ben Cardin – 3,543,017
  3. Richard Douglas – 3,609,731
  4. David Jones – 6,604,886
  5. Robert Broadus – 7,137,723
  6. William Capps – 8,325,982
  7. John Kimble – 10,628,905
  8. Brian Vaeth – 11,095,766
  9. Rick Hoover – 11,786,645
  10. Corrogan Vaughn – no data (I think his site is new at the address.)

Not every candidate has a Facebook or Twitter page devoted to their campaign, but for those who do here are likes and follows, respectively:


  1. Ben Cardin – 3,500
  2. Dan Bongino – 1,680
  3. Corrogan Vaughn – 157
  4. Rich Douglas – 81
  5. Brian Vaeth – 25
  6. Robert Broadus – 17
  7. Rick Hoover – 4


  1. Dan Bongino – 1,317
  2. David Jones – 819
  3. Corrogan Vaughn – 149
  4. Rich Douglas – 108
  5. Rick Hoover -27

(Apparently, Ben Cardin’s campaign isn’t on Twitter.)

It’s fairly evident that Bongino has a good lead in the social networking area, but that doesn’t always translate into votes. I was told that Bob Ehrlich had more Facebook followers than Martin O’Malley did and we see how that turned out.

And if you compare these numbers to a well-read website like Red Maryland, which perhaps has the best social media presence of any statewide political website, you’ll see all of them fall short on at least one count: Alexa for RM is 859,533 and they have 616 Facebook followers along with 761 on Twitter. Of course, a blog has far longer to build an audience so the Alexa should be expected; on the other hand, creating buzz should work in the favor of the campaigns yet only a few do better than the website.

But regardless of who wins this race on April 3rd, we need to close ranks behind them so that Ben Cardin is retired from public life come next January.

Six Senate candidates, one forum

A couple weeks back there was a candidates’ forum conducted by the Cecil County Patriots in conjunction with Americans for Prosperity. Six of the ten GOP hopefuls were present (in reverse alphabetical order, just to be different): Corrogan Vaughn, David Jones, Rick Hoover, Richard Douglas, Robert Broadus, and Daniel Bongino. William Capps was also slated to appear, but had to cancel at the last minute.

The forum was recorded in two parts, and the videos run just about two hours total. In order from left to right, the candidates are Bongino, Hoover, Vaughn, Broadus, Jones, and Douglas.

I’m going to allow you to make up your own mind on who won; some comported themselves well and made a solid presentation and others seemed a little ill at ease. At this time I like three candidates better than the others, but I would like to study a little bit more before I make a formal endorsement down the road.

Thanks to Jacklyn Gregory for putting the videos together and uploading them. The Cecil County Patriots and AFP Maryland have done a service to Republican voters. Just for fun I did a quick search for a similar event on the Democratic side, but it was no surprise I found nothing. It’s doubtful Ben Cardin would stoop so low as to honor his opponents with his consent to debate – a common trait I’ve found among incumbent Democrats.

The sprint to the finish

Standing as we are eight weeks out from the primary, if you were to consider the primary campaign calendar analogous to the general election calendar, we are at Labor Day. In the fall campaign, Labor Day is considered the point where people begin to pay attention to the election and start to make their final decision.

Because this is a Presidential election year, Republicans and Democrats in most of Maryland will only have a few choices to make when primary voting arrives in late March. (Some will also have local races to consider.) In seven out of eight districts for both parties voters will have a choice for Congress, while all Maryland voters who participate in the primary will select their party’s standardbearer for the U.S. Senate seat. Only Republicans will have a choice for President as no one stepped forth to challenge Barack Obama on the primary ballot. There is also only one Republican running in the First Congressional District – incumbent Andy Harris – while Dutch Ruppersberger enjoys a similar free ride in his Second District Democratic primary. Convention delegates are also at stake for both parties in each Congressional district.

Now that the stage is set, it’s very likely that only two or three GOP presidential candidates will be left standing by the time the race reaches Maryland on April 3. The good news is that Maryland and the District of Columbia may be pretty much the only game in town that day. Wisconsin voters will be much more mindful of the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and, depending on whether the Texas legislative districts go to court or not, their scheduled April 3 primary is likely to be pushed back.

Continue reading “The sprint to the finish”

Worcester County has some TEA

In days of old there was a superstition that a voyage should not begin on Friday and beginning it on Friday the 13th was a complete no-no. But the Worcester County TEA Party decided to buck tradition and have its inaugural meeting last week – it was an opportunity to have a good keynote speaker that they couldn’t pass up.

(All photos on this post are courtesy of Donald Stifler.)

Andy Harris speaks at the Worcester County TEA Party.

One source, a supposedly reliable one, stated that Harris made the statement at the TEA Party that he would vote for any of the Republican presidential candidates except Ron Paul – then again, the person relating this is a Ron Paul supporter. I’m seeing if there was any video of the event to corroborate this charge, but this wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise. Harris is one of the co-chairs of the Gingrich campaign in Maryland despite the fact that Newt endorsed Wayne Gilchrest in 2008 – as did Ron Paul. (Harris denies saying such a thing.)

According to a more legitimate news report, Harris held the audience of about 120 in the palm of his hand by answering a number of audience questions but he wasn’t the only speaker or even politician there. Three members of the Worcester County Commission were in attendance along with four of their Republican Central Committee – pictured below is Derrick Smith of the WCRCC along with U.S. Senate hopeful Corrogan Vaughn (right), who also spoke at the event.

Stifler noted that he was “pleased to see that Vaughn had to wait a couple of times during his speech due to the applause from the crowd when he compared the Civil Rights Movement to that of the Tea Party, speaking for his family that worked directly with Dr. King.” (Vaughn is a godchild of Dr. Ralph Abernathy, who worked with the slain civil rights leader and was with him when he was assassinated.)

“Corrogan attests to the fact that both were Republicans and if alive today these men would be active in the Tea Party,” Stifler continued.

That’s sort of an interesting flip side when compared to the other groups who have adopted the mantle of the civil rights struggle, such as the gay rights movement. Moreover, the TEA Party isn’t necessarily about adopting new rights but re-establishing the God-given ones we are granted in our Constitution.

This meeting won’t be the last for the Worcester County group. Based on the interest from the first go-round, their next meeting will be Friday, February 17, once again at the Ocean Pines Community Center.

I can’t close, however, without at least quickly addressing the snide remark in the newspaper about the lack of younger people at the event. It isn’t surprising coming from the media, but to be perfectly honest an older crowd is rather typical of the composition of the average TEA Party meeting. But as long as there is at least some interest from a small group of younger people it’s progress, given the vast majority of those under 30 who voted for Barack Obama. Perhaps the economy and dread of a future where they can’t succeed as their parents did is beginning to bring them around to the right way of thinking.

Another upcoming event on the opposite end of the Shore which doesn’t yet feature Vaughn but already has six of his opponents as confirmed speakers will be sponsored by the Cecil County Patriots and Americans for Prosperity on Thursday, January 26 beginning at 7 p.m. It will be held at the American Legion Hall located at 300 Cherry Street in Perryville, and the public is invited to attend.

All ten GOP Senate candidates have been invited, and confirmed as participants are Dan Bongino, Robert Broadus, William Capps, Rich Douglas, Rick Hoover, and David Jones. (No word yet on Joesph Alexander, John Kimble, Brian Vaeth, or Vaughn.)

Questions for the forum can be submitted to For more information, please visit the Cecil County Patriots website or call Jackie Gregory at (410) 620-7667.

Update: According to Gregory, Vaughn will be participating in the event.

Where the action was

I’d love to have said I was there, but family has to come first and my parents came from many miles away.

But I was cheered to see the lineup for the Turning the Tides Conference presented by the Maryland Conservative Action Network, as it included a number of luminaries as well as breakout discussions on a number of subjects near and dear to the hearts of conservatives in Maryland and everywhere else, for that matter. Not only that, the event drew over 200 activists from across Maryland and received coverage from both the old and new media outlets. They even had their very own counterprotest from a liberal former member of the House of Delegates.

So it sounds like we had a nice event. But now the question is ‘where do we go from here?’

Continue reading “Where the action was”

Bongino newest poll champion

You know, I have so much fun with these occasional polls I do.

As I said in June when I did the last Senate one, I obviously know the polls are manipulated. But in making the assumption that those who would manipulate a poll exist in the same general proportion as supporters in the population at large, I can at least gather a trend. At least in this sort of instance it’s doubtful anyone would lie to a pollster.

These results, though, show a trend which may only be occurring within Republican circles until we know for sure if other key contenders are getting into the party. Here’s how the poll went:

  1. Daniel Bongino – 3,425 votes (75.66%)
  2. Eric Wargotz – 1,068 votes (23.59%)
  3. Robert Broadus – 23 votes (0.51%)
  4. William Capps – 5 votes (0.11%)
  5. Rich Douglas – 2 votes (0.04%)
  6. Rick Hoover – 2 votes (0.04%)
  7. Pat McDonough – 1 vote (0.02%)
  8. Corrogan Vaughn – 1 vote (0.02%)

Having said that a trend may exist, I need to caution those reading into the results that there’s little chance Dan Bongino will get 76% of the vote – I don’t care if the Constitutional Conservatives Fund of Senator Mike Lee has endorsed Dan or not, he’s not getting 75 percent of the GOP vote. In 2006 Michael Steele didn’t even get 90 percent and he was the sitting lieutenant governor, had plenty of name recognition, and basically controlled the whole Maryland GOP apparatus. I can see something in the 40’s for Bongino if all goes right but a lot depends on who else gets into the race and we won’t have a couple possible entrants with statewide name recognition make a formal announcement on their status until later this month.

But I have to admire how Dan is laying the groundwork for his campaign, including people passionate enough to drive internet poll numbers over 75 percent.

Let’s compare this to June numbers, for example. The number of votes cast was nearly the same (4,716 in June vs. 4,527 now) but the results were somewhat different:

  1. Eric Wargotz – 44.87%
  2. Daniel Bongino – 36.28%
  3. William Capps – 17.62%
  4. Corrogan Vaughn – 0.81%
  5. Robert Broadus – 0.23%
  6. Rick Hoover – 0.19%

Since I didn’t figure Capps ever really had 18 percent, the idea of a two-man race at the time had merit. But if Eric decides not to run – and remember, he had not made a final decision as of a couple weeks ago – that only leaves Pat McDonough as a possible major opponent. (I wouldn’t completely discount Rich Douglas either, given his background.)

This election is a little bit different than the last cycle, where the primary was late – so late, in fact, that federal law precludes us from having a September primary again. (Too bad, because I liked that compressed season.) Now there’s less than six months remaining until election day and truly we won’t be really paying attention until after the holidays anyway. It’s possible we could have a post-holiday bid, sort of like Bob Ehrlich’s coyness about his 2010 try for governor, but like Ehrlich it would have to be someone with some name recognition already because the filing deadline is January 11.

In any case it won’t be as easy as voting in a monoblogue poll.

McDonough: Senate decision comes after redistricting

Perhaps we were a bit too hasty in assuming Pat will run for the U.S. Senate – a lot depends on what his district looks like after Martin O’Malley and his cronies get through with it. At least that’s what he’s saying now:

As you may know, I have been testing the waters for a possible campaign against Dutch Ruppersberger for a seat in the 2nd Congressional District.  The Second District is a difficult challenge and an uphill fight for a Republican.  However, polling results and reaction from the voters during the last 6 months, including a powerful show of support in the annual popular July 4th Dundalk parade indicate my chances are good.  Radio and television exposure over many years and support for issues such as opposition to illegal immigration have provided me with high name recognition and voter approval.

Despite these advantages, that district still remains a challenge.  Of course, the re-districting and the new district will not be revealed until October.  At that time, if the 2nd Congressional District transforms from ‘uphill to impossible,’ my personal decision will become clear.  It will not make any sense to ask family, friends, and supporters to engage in a campaign that cannot be won.  That will be a choice forced upon me by political powers over which I have no influence or control.

My decision to consider a run for Congress is based on two simple conclusions:  1) Washington is a mess.   2) I believe I can help make a difference.  My top priority is to serve in Washington as a representative of the people.  After much thought and consultations with others, I have decided that if the 2nd Congressional District is gerrymandered rendering it impossible to win, I will take a serious look at seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland.

There is very little difference between Dutch Ruppersberger and Ben Cardin.  They are liberal political twins and Obama clones.  My vision for America is completely different than their tax and spend big government agenda.

I recognize that my critics will falsely charge that this plan may be indecisive.  But, as I clearly stated before, my desire is to serve the people in Washington to help clean up the mess and make a difference.  It does not matter whether that service is in the Senate or the House of Representatives.  These are unsettling times where the pathway is not always clear.  Unfortunately, the decisions that we make are overly controlled by outside forces.  During the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to conduct my vigorous exploratory campaign.  It is my desire to inform my supporters and colleagues about what may occur in the future.  It is still early in the campaign season and I would ask everyone to be patient and wait until it is clear regarding everyone’s intentions.  Thank you for your consideration and understanding.

Fortunately for Pat, he can also maintain his radio show as long as he’s not a declared candidate, and that message resonates well beyond the confines of the Second Congressional District. It means he can wage at least a somewhat effective statewide campaign while the redistricting process is at work. (Not to mention he’s running ‘from cover’ in either case since he wouldn’t have to stand for election in his Delegate seat until 2014.)

Perhaps the better question, though, is why not make a decision now? Waiting on the results of redistricting does convey that indecisiveness Pat’s critics will feast on. But we can deduce from the message that Pat is running for some federal office. We also know he has a name recognition advantage over most other members of the House of Delegates thanks to both his radio show and work on certain key issues, and can indeed believe that there may be radical changes in the makeup of every one of Maryland’s Congressional districts because the Democrats are running the show and don’t really care about anything but maintaining political power.

So in reading this missive it appears McDonough’s preference would be to run for the Second District seat and he’s using a Senate bid as a fallback option. That may indeed be the case, but, since I like to think an election or two ahead, there’s a scenario which argues instead that he’s going statewide.

Obviously if Pat runs for and wins a U.S. Senate seat, he’s in a good position for the next six years and the country would gain a conservative voice from one of the most unlikely places. But if he takes the shot for Cardin’s Senate seat and loses, well, we all lose. But McDonough still would have built a statewide campaign organization and it could prove useful in 2014 since that election presents the opportunity of an open Governor’s seat. Remember, Pat flirted with the idea in 2010 but chose not to challenge Bob Ehrlich.

(Of course, winning the Governor’s seat after serving in Congress from the Second District worked for Bob, but that was nearly a decade ago – way past a political lifetime in this day and age.)

So McDonough remains a ‘theoretical’ candidate for the U.S. Senate; in reality just three GOP candidates have filed with the FEC (Daniel Bongino, William Capps, and Corrogan Vaughn) while Capps and Rick Hoover are on the ballot at this early stage. It is presumed from other sources that Robert Broadus and Eric Wargotz are in the race as well, although we await a formal announcement from 2010 GOP nominee Wargotz.

In the end we should have between 7 and 10 enter the U.S. Senate race on the Republican side, if past history is a guide. If McDonough does decide to jump in this fall then we’ve reached the lucky seven mark with just a few weeks to go before the filing deadline. Everyone has until January 11 to make up their minds.

A meaningless poll?

As you may have noticed the last few days, my sidebar had a poll which asked: if the election were held today, who would you support for Maryland’s GOP Senate nomination?

Well, I pulled the poll earlier today since it had run its course, and here are the results (drum roll please…):

  1. Eric Wargotz, 2,116 votes (44.87%)
  2. Daniel Bongino, 1,711 votes (36.28%)
  3. William Capps, 831 votes (17.62%)
  4. Corrogan Vaughn, 38 votes (0.81%)
  5. Robert Broadus, 10 votes (0.21%)
  6. Rick Hoover, 9 votes (0.19%)

One person wrote in “Bolton”, who I take to mean John Bolton. I didn’t know he was a Maryland resident.

As I’ve said all along, this was far from a scientific poll because I allowed repeat voting – in fact, I encouraged it. To that end, I did a spreadsheet (printed in .pdf form) which shows how the poll evolved over time as I broke out the numbers by timespan. There you can see where repeat votes were racked up for the various candidates, so it’s easy to tell that someone came in and stacked the poll to help out a particular candidate over a span of time. (It made for some incredible page view numbers, too – thanks!)

Yet I think the numbers aren’t all that far off from reality. Let’s look at a few facts here.

In a ten-person primary race last year, Eric Wargotz received less than 40 percent of the vote. His main competition was a political newcomer who quickly became a TEA Party favorite in Jim Rutledge – together they pulled about 70 percent of the vote, with no one else attaining a double-digit percentage.

This is a six-person race at the moment, and Wargotz has just under 45% in this poll. Realistically, that’s close to his base of Republican support from last year and it’s probably good enough to win. Running in second place? Well, he’s a political newcomer who should be able to count on a lot of support from the TEA Party since he has the backing of another popular fiscal conservative in 2010 gubernatorial hopeful Brian Murphy. Daniel Bongino has 36 percent, which roughly parallels Eric’s nine-point win in 2010.

Too, the chief remaining votegetter is William Capps, who probably wouldn’t poll 18 percent in reality but would likely draw a high single-digit number based on a little name recognition. Since there will likely be more candidates in the mix, his overstated number here would probably erode a bit to a more realistic number among the latecomers who may split about 10 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, the bottom three are probably pretty close to their actual base of support since they are perennial candidates who haven’t shown well before.

My theory in doing this poll as I did is that people who are passionate enough to attempt to rig an internet poll to their chosen candidate’s advantage exist in the same relative number as support in real life. In other words, the person (or persons) who voted continually hundreds of times for Eric Wargotz exist in direct proportion poll-wise to those who would do the same for Bongino, Capps, et. al. so the poll may have some relative validity. (And quite honestly, if it drives a few extra people to my website that’s good for me.)

So I wouldn’t be surprised if the support for these people at this early stage isn’t all that far off the mark. I would say Bongino and Capps may be outperforming reality by five to ten points here, but remember there is no “undecided” in my polling to cloud the picture. Toss that group in and almost everyone would lose a dozen points or so.

Suffice to say that the race can’t be conceded to the guy who has the most name recognition (Eric Wargotz) quite yet. It may turn out to be yet another plurality race won by attrition. The early primary will be to Eric’s advantage, of course, but by no means is he a lock for the nomination.

A wild polling ride

As you may have noticed, I’ve placed one of my infamous political polls in the sidebar.

My recollection from when I did this last year was that my polls may not necessarily be the best indicator of public sentiment, but they are pretty good at seeing how passionate backing for a candidate is. For example, I’ve been tracking interim totals over the time the poll’s been up to see the ebb and flow of trends.

I put the poll up late Wednesday evening. When I went to bed early Thursday morning there weren’t a lot of votes yet, but I did find out someone in the Capps campaign reads the site. The totals at that point: Capps 7, Bongino 3, Wargotz 1.

So I woke up Thursday morning and went about my day. Checking in at 4:00 that afternoon, the updated figures were: Bongino 20, Capps 16, Wargotz 1. Someone woke up the Bongino camp, I guess.

But then Thursday evening there was a concerted Eric Wargotz push, so much so that when I went to bed around midnight the revised totals were: Wargotz 63, Capps 25, Bongino 20, Vaughn 3, Broadus 1, and Hoover 1. Someone got the others on the board about 24 hours into the poll (although Broadus was added to the poll on Thursday afternoon.)

The roller-coaster ride continued this morning as the Capps forces went back to work: Capps 160, Bongino 105, Wargotz 94, Vaughn 35, Hoover 5, Broadus 4.

But then the Capps surge stopped and Bongino is trending – as of this moment it’s Bongino 166, Capps 160, Wargotz 94, Vaughn 35, Broadus 5, Hoover 5. In other words, over the last 7 hours all but one vote went to Bongino.

Obviously I don’t do a scientific poll. But as I noted above one thing this does measure to some extent is the passion and organization behind a candidate. I figure that people who are out to stack a poll such as mine exist in proportion to the actual support they have in the population, give or take a few. (I can also tell you it’s making my page load number huge today – normally I get about 1.3 to 1.5 page loads per reader; today it’s about 3.5 per.) So if there’s only 1 person in 100 who would stack a poll for Rick Hoover vs. 40 who would for Eric Wargotz, that’s probably how the poll should work too, more or less. And my readership likely trends a little more conservative than the average GOP voter.

It’s a lot of fun for me to watch, though, and it makes for an interesting post. That’s what counts.