One huge benefit to municipal races is that voter turnout is extremely low. Looking at Bucks County (most of the 8th Congressional District), we find that the county-wide 2007 municipal races had turnout of only 29% compared to 76% in November’s presidential race or even 57% in the last off-year Congressional election. In Montgomery County (most of the 13th Congressional District), voter turnout for municipal races in 2007 was at 30% as compared to the November general at 73% and 2006 Congressional (off-year) race at 55%.
Often, only the most active partisans may turn out for local elections if they are not held alongside major national races. This makes the prospect of giving the boot to local mayors even easier – and sometimes the threat of a challenge is even more useful than an actual get out the vote effort.
If you live in one of the towns governed by a Bloomberg mayor or know a gun owner who does, it may not be hard to turn an election. Get the rest of your family to vote, and tell your friends about the other candidates who may be more friendly to your Second Amendment rights. You may single-handedly turn it into a landslide. Imagine the impact putting a flier in the local gun shop where all the local sportsmen hang out. In an election when many of them aren’t likely turning out to the polls, they might suddenly become a local voting bloc worthy of some campaign time.
Of course, the other benefit to local government is that it may not even require defeating the mayor in an election. The candidates and parties know turnout is consistently a problem. Angering residents for no reason is something they cannot afford to do. One or two phone calls from upset residents may be enough to convince them to leave. A handful of phone calls in the mayor’s office will really shake things up in mid-sized town. If the town has a gun club, even better. Have members call regardless of where they live. They can still claim to be involved with the town, and more importantly, they would be happy to spread word about such anti-gun views come campaign time. There’s a good chance that local mayors have no idea what Mayor Bloomberg has signed them onto, and reason will likely prevail.
Consider the situation with former Williamsport, PA mayor Mary Wolf who very publicly left the group in 2007. This New York Sun article talks to a local gun dealer who found out about her membership and made an issue out of it. Imagine a few signs up at the gun range, getting staff or club officers to let all the residents who come in know about a mayor’s involvement. Use some choice quotes from the ads and letters Bloomberg signed their names to during the Thune debate.
Finally, one of the biggest benefits to local races is the fact that you are closer to most of the other voters. If you know what’s pissing your neighbors off, encourage them to get out to the polls on that issue. Don’t restrict yourself to talking about gun rights. Change begins at home, and you know better than some worker down in Fairfax what’s really got the non-gun owners on your block upset. Remember, just like you probably don’t vote in municipal elections, they probably don’t, either. That means your whole neighborhood just put itself on the map for better treatment and more attention from local officials. (Remember, they can tell who voted. To the winners go the spoils, so get yourself some spoils by simply showing up.)
With only 1,921 people in all of Industry, would it really take much pressure to convince Mayor Nicholas Yanosich that he should stand up for the Constitution instead of against it?
Isn’t it possible to get word out to Mayor Jay Stover in Telford that he shouldn’t be working against the rights of his 4,680 citizens?
Keep in mind, these numbers are a matter of population, registered voters are far fewer.