Regular readers of this blog will note that I tend to discount the possibility of anyone winning as an Independent, that is to say without the endorsement (and the “straight ticket” votes which go with it) of either the Republican or Democratic Party.
You will also recall the rule that the bigger the district, the less chance of an Independent pulling off a victory. That’s why I noted that Independent Art Beaudry, a lifelong Democrat, is much more likely to pull votes away from Democrat Donna Soucy in Senate District 18 (approximately 55,000 people) than to actually win.
Having reiterated all that, I am ready to make a prediction that former Republican Represenative Cynthia Dokmo, running as an Independent for one of three seats in Amherst (Hillsborough District 22), will pull a Murkowski and win. She only needs 150 signatures to get on the ballot, an easy task, and I suspect she will find Democrats, Republicans, and Undeclared voters more than happy to “bullet” her come November.
The population of Amherst is only 11,201. Until redistricting, Amherst was paired with Milford in a megadistrict which would have made it much more difficult to prevail as an independent.
For much of the past decade, Dokmo topped the entire ticket in the Amherst-Milford area. Two years ago, she was narrowly defeated in a Republican primary (yes, they were out to get her for her more moderate stance on some issues). The eighth and final finisher in the primary received 1293 votes; Dokmo had 1283.
Let’s just look at 2008, a fairly bad year for Democrats. She topped the ticket with 7123 votes to 6630 for the second place finisher and 5612 for the eighth place (and final) winner.
She then mounted a write-in campaign (virtually impossible) and managed to pull 2012 votes (far short of the 4665 for the eighth place finisher in November, but impressive nevertheless).
This is not an “out on a limb” prediction.
I am very confident that Independent Dokmo will deny Republicans a sweep of the three Amherst seats (in fact, I think Democrat Shannon Chandley, a former Rep, could win as well, but that’s another story).
The advantage for being on the party line is very real, but Dokmo is the ideal candidate to pull off this feat. (The last time I recall anyone doing it was 2000 when a certain Libertarian—on neither the Republican nor Democratic ballot—managed to take the third and final seat in Manchester Ward 8. Ah yes, I remember it well).
I’m not predicting Cynthia Dokmo will come in first, but I do think she’ll be among the top three finishers, and thus a winner.
As you look at the filings on the Secretary of State’s web site, don’t ignore the link for those filing with signature (in other words, to run as Independents). I nearly missed it and began to wonder about Cynthia. Then, lo and behold, I found her. I like her a great deal (of course, she’s less financially conservative than I am, but then so is everybody). So apparently did former Republican House leadership; she was placed on the Finance Committee.
I congratulate her for choosing this course of action.
In this district, Republicans already have a primary. One of the four (Judiciary Chair Robert Rowe, Ways and Means Chair Steve Stepanek, Peter Hansen, and Reed Panasiti) will be eliminated in the primary.
Stephen Morgan and John Shonle join Chandley to round out the Democratic field.
Don’t confuse the three-seat Amherst district with the single seat floterial (District 41) which combines Bedford and Amherst (it appears to be Democrat Len Gerzon versus new Bedford Republican Laurie Sanborn, wife of former Senator Andy Sanborn, in that one).
It would not out of the question for another Independent to pull off a November win (former Democrat Betty Hall of Brookline--Hills. 26--comes to mind--it's only a two-member district), but that would be a long shot.
Cynthia Dokmo is no long shot; bank on it.
Her vote could really matter as well. I started last night to run my new predictions based on current filings, and I have Republicans just barely holding on to the majority in Hillsborough County, either 61-60-1 or 62-59-1 (the one being gnadige Frau Dokmo).
But that's a story for another day...it seems stories for other days are piling up.