Clark Campaign Asks: How Much Does One Vote Cost in District 3?

Published 05/13 2014 04:03PM

Updated 05/13 2014 04:24PM

From left to right: Deanne Clark, Jeff Griffith and Maurice Stanley
From left to right: Deanne Clark, Jeff Griffith and Maurice Stanley
By James Clark

LUBBOCK, TX -- In light of the May 10 election, the Deane Clark campaign calculated how much it cost each candidate per vote in the race for District 3 City Council. Clark had the most votes but did not get more than 50 percent. Therefore, she must face the second place candidate Jeff Griffith. Maurice Stanley came in third.

Clark campaign supporter Mikel Ward said, “I calculated the price per vote, assuming that all three candidates in District 3 spent all of their total donations as of eight days out.”

Ward said Clark had funding of $7,808 and earned 661 votes. Ward did the math and says it cost Clark $11.80 per vote. Ward said Stanley spent $21.43 per vote; and Griffith spent $95.80.

“It appears that an underfunded, grass roots, door-to-door campaign by dedicated volunteers with a detailed fact-based fiscally-conservative message can still prevail in Council District 3,” Ward said.

Griffith responded to Ward, saying both Clark and Stanley ran “an excellent campaign.”

Griffith agrees with one thing Ward said; there is a huge value in going door-to-door in District 3.

“Obviously we knocked a lot of doors,” Griffith said. “I spent a lot of time with voters in District 3.”

“We’ll be knocking even more doors,” Griffith added, “This is a new race.”

For analysis reached out to Texas Tech Associate Professor Erik Bucy who said it does take increasing amounts of money to run in politics. But money is not everything, he said.

“You need a spark – some sort of visibility,” Bucy said. “Statewide, money can buy you a spark and get your foot in the door.”

“It doesn’t win you an election. You still have to campaign well,” Bucy said.

“I came from virtually unknown,” Griffith said.  “They [Clark and Stanley] had some visibility I did not have.”  

At a local level Bucy said that spark can be generated with something like a letter to the editor or other forms of political involvement.

Bucy has a friend who worked to help U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren get elected.

Bucy quotes the friend as saying, “You’ve got to go door-to-door. And you’ve got to knock on both doors.”

Knocking on “both doors” means talking to people who support the candidate and also talking to people who support an opponent. The idea is to show a willingness to talk to everyone despite potential political disagreements.

“There’s a lot to be said about a good ground game,” Bucy said. “You can do well.”

Bucy fully acknowledges the advantage of money, but he also said it can’t buy the entire election. And he fully acknowledges that big money is “not good” for the average voter who cannot afford to purchase influence in a campaign.

But it’s also not the end of good-ole-fashioned meet-your-neighbor politics.

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