Yesterday, I wrote why Tom Richards wasn’t the guy for the Democratic Party.
But that doesn’t mean he’s not the guy to be mayor.
Richards won a three-way race in 2011 and he might be able to do so again. He will appear on the ballot in November on the Working Families and Independence party lines.
– He won a citywide election in 2011. To not get 50 percent of the vote in a Democratic city against third party candidates showed tremendous weakness that was exposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. But he still won a plurality in that election.
(That’s why Joe Morelle and Bob Duffy were so desperate for a special election in 2011. They knew Richards faced a fight in a primary scenario and would have an easier time in a special election. They were right.)
– East-side voters stayed home on Tuesday. The voters who pushed Richards over the top in 2011 and Bob Duffy over in 2005 stayed home. Perhaps they took the race for granted. Perhaps they were not energized by Richards’ campaign. There’s time to find out. If these likely supporters come out for the general election, Richards could win.
– Third party lines can get votes. Bill Johnson ran on his own line in 2011 and got 42 percent of the vote compared to Richards’ 49 percent. Nothing to sneeze at.
– More choice is always a good thing. Warren got fewer than 9,000 votes on Tuesday in a city where there are more than 100,000 registered voters. Turnout is always better in a general election.
– How will Richards fund his campaign? Who will be his volunteers? Running such a race would require infrastructure. Without Democratic Party backing – Richards could have a very hard time. (Although, the Dems ran a bad campaign for him during the primary. It’s also not clear what level of party support Warren would get.)
– Richards won’t have the Democratic line. Democrats outnumber everyone else 3-2 in the city. If Richards wins, he’d be the first non-Democrat elected in the city to any office since the 1980s. (Maybe the 1970s?)
– Alex White is on the ballot in November, as he was in 2011. He took 9 percent of the vote in 2011. Was he spoiler? Did he take from Richards and Johnson equally? What would his impact be on a Richards-Warren-White race?
– Does Richards have the stomach for this? He is an executive-type, not a politician. He doesn’t relish the fight. He doesn’t care for campaigning. If he stays in, he’s got to be in it to win it. It would be very hard work.
When will Richards announce if he plans to continue campaign? Spox says: "Doubt it'll be till next week but definitely not today." #ROC
— Brian Sharp (@SharpRoc) September 12, 2013