OH-05: Raw Weather, Light Turnout in the Eastern Reaches
This morning I drove through Norwalk, the easternmost sizable town in the 5th Congressional District. It was windy, cold and gray with a miserable drizzling rain that turned to snow while I drove from one end of town to the other.
There was frankly very little indication that an election is taking place. Election signs were probably outnumbered by signs for auctions, "Go Buckeyes," and home businesses. Also "God Bless America!" on yard signs, often accompanied by little flags on sticks planted in the garden.
To the extent that I saw election signs, the majority were for local candidates and levies. To the extent that signs relating to the Congressional election were in evidence (about a half dozen along my route from north to south), every one was for State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta), despite the fact that he hails from the western end of the far-flung district. Norwalk is the home town of Democratic candidate George F. Mays (D-Norwalk), but I saw no banners, stickers, or signs for him at all.
Driving west through Monroesville, Bellevue, and Clyde I had the same impression. Very few congressional signs, but the ones I saw were all Buehrer. I stopped at the pictured polling place in Bellevue, where there were no electioneering signs around and no volunteers handing out literature. A steady trickle of people entered and left the building, but on inquiry many were going to meetings or on church business rather than voting. The three actual voters I located declined to be interviewed.
Does this Bellevue street look like there is an election today? The only sign on this side of the block is a city council race, and on the other side one for a school levy. I called the Sandusky County Board of Elections and was told that they had no information about turnout but had received no telephone calls about any delays or problems with voting.
On the road I called Dr. Mike Zickar, Wood County Democratic Party Chair, and asked him about turnout. He said that turnout was light at his particular precinct, near Perrysburg, and he saw no volunteer activity in the vicinity. The only sign near the polling place was for Buehrer.
The forecast is for the weather to get worse for the after work time frame, so all indications are for very low turnout in this special election. I'm tempted to say that the low turnout will skew the election toward hard-core partisans, which on the GOP side bodes well for Buehrer.