April 6, 2005

Two precincts spelled the difference in Moline mayor's race

With two precincts yet to report, for about 10 minutes, the Moline mayoral race stood frozen with Don Welvaert at 3,545 and Pat O'Brien a mere 10 votes ahead.

Then the news came. The two precincts, South Moline 6 and 7, provided Welvaert a 101 vote pick up, yielding 253 votes for O'Brien and 354 votes for Welvaert, enough to put Welvaert 91 votes ahead at the end of the night.
When [Welvaert] found out that south Moline precincts 6 and 7 were the last two to report the numbers, he became more confident. "Those are precincts that have been good to me," he said.

"I thought that it just had to be good news, and it was."

Standing in a room filled with friends, neighbors and family, Mr. Welvaert said all his supporters contributed something to the race, from making telephone calls to sending mailers.

"It was not just my race," he said.
No kidding. Welvaert relied on a host of people to do his mudslinging, most of which was truly deceptive and unfair.

Again, the parallels to the way the wealthy Republicans ran this shadow race with the way the Bush campaigns have been run are obvious and stark.

The piece reports that O'Brien will decide whether to contest the election today.

This is a tough choice. The margin is within 100, but barely. And the odds of finding enough irregularities to pick up that amount may be slim. It would also give opponents the chance to accuse O'Brien of refusing to accept defeat. It's also not the way O'Brien would choose to win.

But the only way to find out if there are irregularities in the vote is to examine it, and Welvaert himself said that he expected O'Brien would ask for a recount.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The fact remains that the 91 vote margin is an extremely tough number. If it were lower, say around 40 or less, a recount would be an easy choice. If it were higher, in the 200 range, it would obviously not be worth it. But it's right in that grey area.

Needless to say, O'Brien faces a tough decision, but one would have a tough time faulting him no matter what he decides to do.


At 4/06/2005 11:19 AM, Anonymous Ted Nugent said...

If the O'Brien has specific and credible information about voting irregularity, then they should consider proceeding with a recount.
But, if not, they should fold their tent with honor and dignity and vow to fight another day and vow to unite behind the new Mayor to help move the city forward.

But there is something I just don't get. Why does anyone really want to be mayor of moline? I mean, it's an honorary position (ribbon cutting only) with no real authority on the council except to break tie votes.

Folks around here act like it's akin to winning a state rep race or something, and that couldn't be farther from the truth!

At 4/06/2005 11:41 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'm not qualified to comment on your assertion that it's a ribbon-cutting only position, but I think the amount of interest in the race was due to the factions pitted against each other, the sheer amount of money devoted to the race, and the long-held hopes by many that O'Brien could finally succeed in prying the Republicans out of the mayor's office.

At 4/06/2005 11:42 AM, Anonymous Fly-on-the-wall said...

I've often asked myself the same question about D'port mayor. Why bother?

1) nice springboard for higher office.

2) that tie-breaking thing, but wouldn't you rather vote on everything?

3) power to make committee assignments.

4) ego.

Most of the time, which reason do you suppose is #1?

At 4/06/2005 11:59 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You can have a different bimbo every night like Mayor Quimby?

Oh, and don't forget the all-expenses paid lobbying junkets.

Plus, in exchange for investing the public's money in development schemes, you can often get cut in on development and contract deals with very favorable terms, the returns on which can be collected later after you're safely out of office.

I'm sure the advantages can be many to a mayor with enough creativity and a willingness to be at tool for others.

At 4/06/2005 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has more control than one understands. He has a big ear to the city administrator.

At 4/06/2005 10:20 PM, Anonymous Blue State said...

I understand the last anonymous message, but still let's get real. Moline is a city of 42,000 people. The mayor works under a weak mayor form of gov't constitutionally. This position is largely ceremonial, in a medium-sized city. What's the big deal?

The old saying, "big fish in a very little pond" comes to mind!


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