Round 4: Ray Cox vs. David Bly in 2008?

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No, that’s not Ray tossing softballs at the Rotary Summer Social. He’s gearing up for hand-shaking season, as he announced today (PDF) that he plans to “seek election in 2008 to the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 25B.” It’s likely to be Bly vs. Cox for the 4th time.

Yes, Ray is a client of mine, both for his political/citizen blog and Northfield Construction Company. Yes, my wife Robbie and I have been known to associate socially with Ray and his wife Ellen, and our kids with their kids. Yes, he gave me the scoop on this announcement. Yes, I’ve voted for him every time and donated a little money to his campaigns. Yes, I agree with him on more issues than I disagree. But that doesn’t mean I’m biased, does it?


  1. BruceWMorlan said:

    A simple analysis of the 2006 election reveals that Ray lost because the voting sample was biased. If all precincts had voted in similar proportions he would have won, but because Northfield voted at a significantly higher rate than the rest of 25B, Northfield decided the election, effectively silencing the voting voice of the rest of the district. Ray wins on issues, but loses on “getting out the vote”.

    By way of a footnote, this sort of bias is why (as a statistician) I support continued use of that quadrennial bogey man, the electoral college. Catch me at the Cow with a white board and I’ll show you the numbers.

    July 19, 2007
  2. John S. Thomas said:

    My question is, which Northfield resident will be the first to post a yard sign for the 2008 local elections?

    Things are changing so fast. Did Minnesota move up its primary date like a bunch of other states?

    I have been so busy, frankly, I have not been able to keep up with it.

    It seems that this is all going to start spinning up soon, and with the early primaries, and with the convention in St. Paul, its going to seem like it is going to go on forever.

    I don’t know if I can honestly say I am looking forward to it at this point.

    The last election season was one of the primary reasons I purchased a digital video recorder. I start watching a program about 5 minutes late, and this allows me to skip over all of the political commericals.

    I guess it is time to ensure my number is still on the do not call lists as well. 😎

    July 19, 2007
  3. Alex Beeby said:

    Having recently studied up for my divination classes, I have searched the tea leaves, scanned the stars and gazed deep into the orbs of foresight. After uniting thus with the silvery wisps of future, I predict another recount for the State Rep. 25B seat in 2008.

    O.k., maybe it’s not that hard of a prediction, but I have Harry Potter on the mind.

    I don’t suppose we could convince Ray to run against Tom Neuville. That’s where my real concerns lie. Just look at his Web log —>.

    July 19, 2007
  4. Bruce, I think your simple analysis is off (too simple?).

    Here’s the link to the Election Results on the SoS site:

    Because of the population numbers, carrying Northfield is the key to winning, but the township and Scott County numbers have to be at least close to even. Previously, the Scott County precincts had turnouts in the 89-94%, yes, really — far above Northfield. Scott Co. high voter turnout was probably due to school referenda, and the 2006 decreased voter turnout in Scott County probably hurt Ray most. Northfield turnout was down too. But check the voter turnout numbers (registered voters as of 7 a.m. versus the highest number voting in any particular race) and you’ll see they’re not way out of synch in 2006 with the Northfield numbers. You will see in Northfield a higher level of drop off from federal races, though drop off is everywhere. And contrary to word on the street (or phone bank), high voter turnout hurts the DFL in 25B (district wide). Compare the sheer numbers in each precinct for each candidate over the years and look at ths shifts — it’s illuminating.

    Yes, the results were not typical — DFL wins were “landslide” in the other winning districts.

    July 19, 2007
  5. Alex Beeby said:

    Voter turnout is determined by the number of registered voters (including new registrations) who take and submit a ballot in the election.

    This does not indicate the percentage who voted on a particular question, you would have to look at the numbers for that question divided by the registration numbers.

    Also note that in areas where many people move around and there are high numbers of new registrations, voter turnout statistics can be artifically low because the registration numbers still include people who have moved away or deceased and duplicate entries for those who had to reregister because of an address change (i.e. from one appartment to another). I believe that Northfield is particularly affected by this statistical anomoly.

    July 19, 2007
  6. victor summa said:

    On the up coming elections: November 2008!

    Griff: two points

    1) when will you balance this coverage (pro Cox) with equally space for Bly? Or as a blogger maybe you’re not required to meet equal time/space electioneering rules for media… or has that all gone away. In any event are you coming out as a Red Bloger? Purple would be betterbalance, unless you’re looking to unseat Kristen Kirsten

    2) If the latter is true, then that sets aside all the extending blog of late on LG’s role: right or wrong, between You and John and Anne (Oh, Goodbye again Anne).

    PERSONAL Side note: John Thomas’ awareness of process seems extraordinary. His precision is laudable. So his remarks are, like yours, all part of a good mix.

    But as long as your basically a Backyard Fence, fielding and spreading the neighborhood gosip… I’m not too worried about your pickets… but I am offend by the nature of some of those who drop by via E, wringing their hands, etc.

    As to titling and headlines writing… well the fourth Estate is more than often off-base there – so get over it and admit that LG has generated a lot of public opinion. This all sort of goes to the question of the N’Fld New’s new policy to allow E COMMENT on articles they’ve carried. Evidently (I’ve not checked) there is no filter there, in spite of the sieve they’ve previously and arbitrarially put on the opinion letters and articles

    So now the News, who through the years has controlled its Opinion Page in egregious, overbearing and biased manners is allowing all the veils to be removed from their WEB. Intersting… hmmmmmm.

    Back to the Cox v Bly thread

    Bruce (A Personal side attack) While I may celebrate the breadth of your comment… I’m personally put off by your frequently announced qualification (AS A STATISTICIAN)

    Many feel polls and statistics are our biggest problem in forming original ideals.

    Goes to the relevance of Personal CV: Anne DID that continually… siting her tedious record in mini-mart journalism. Bright compares everything in Northfield to: “where I come from, Chicago” – Hello, this is gossip, at best opinion… muted by perspective. 20 plus years at a questionable level of journalism… or having come from Chicago, doesn’t make an opinion anymore meaningful. Fact is many might question the value of either!

    YET MORE DIGRESSION… I come from there too – CHICAGO: loved it hated it… worked the streets as a film and video professional for 40 years, and frequently traveled through any of the many ghettos, by car on foot and with crews and never found any reason to draw any comparisons. And, don’t think what I saw in Rapid city or Memphis, North Carolins or Texas was/is relevant to what may be happening in Northfield MN, and visa versa…..

    Nonetheless… FORWARD

    Bruce, responding to Griff’s PLUG FOR RAY analyzing the ‘06 Cox-Bly race. noting: “had more people voted for Cox he might have won! “ WOW! What am I missing here? Is the statement: then also… had more people voted for Bly his margin would have been greater?

    Truth is, Ray lost because of his Party ties to Republican Biggies., meaning Gov. Plenty and Pres. Bush.

    Let’s use my non statistician skills (called Vic’s gut) to examine… albeit without a white board at the Cow, what really happened.

    In one election (2000) the current rat in the White house lost because of Florida policy and Supreme court bias.. In the next election (2004) “W” held his seat as a result Ohio misdeeds and patriotic drift, left over from 9-11.

    Excepting the fact that were President Bush impeached, we’d have Dick Chenney as president, why not right that wrong now? There’s fat in that fire!

    So much, for that record to pull votes away from Cox to Bly.

    Addressing the Hatch Plenty race, Plenty, the incumbent (gets some a percentage of the vote for that) beat Hatch by a relative handful of votes statewide. Truth is, it was a toss up… so that shirt tail was little value to Cox as well. In other words Ray Cox ran under the losing banner.

    To win in 2008, a DFL candidate will have to carry either more of Northfield or more of the rest of the District. So as Griff’s post seems to allow…. we’re off and running.

    But you say the voting sample was biased. Hello. Every voter takes bias into the voting booth and cast his/her vote accordingly. Are we looking for balance or victory?

    Should Northfield take care next time around to not overload the ballot box with its choice… but instead vote for a nice balanced outcome?

    Ohio decided the last Presidential Race (Likely with some illegality) Florida decided the previous race and with almost a certainty, illegal process (use immoral if you choose) and you seem to contend that the Northfield free vote inappropriately decided the Bly victory. Confusing logic.

    If Northfield put its favorite over the top… hooray for Northfield!

    Statisticians may analysis this as intellectual bias or knee jerk liberalism. I see it as voting for the more socially responsible precepts (RED v BLUE) and now as a result of this early call to arms from Griff (and Bruce…) I say: Fellers Get you guns…. they’re bank at the sanity bank again!

    AS to your conclusions Bruce, I don’t understand what you’re asking unless it’s voters put aside their principle and vote for your favorite.

    As to John Thomas’ question, when will the yard signs go up? I’m looking for my old blue one right now.


    July 20, 2007
  7. Griff Wigley said:

    Victor, if I was emperor of, then ‘balance’ would be important as I think its mission is, in part, to aggregate and reflect a wide range of opinions in the community/local blogosphere by what gets posted to the main blog.

    But Locally Grown is a 3-person blog, not a community blog, so balance is not part of our mission when it comes to blog posts by the three of us.

    However, I personally like having a wide range of people with a wide range of opinions reading and interacting to what I post.

    So if I post something pro-Cox, I would like hearing pro-Bly comments as part of the interactive mix.

    July 21, 2007
  8. victor summa said:

    Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say your Ray Cox update was “PRO COX” it was soft and fuzzy… having little to do with a candidates prowess or positions, etc. So, what… might someone write that was basically Bly oriented that was in the same genre of comment?

    Daivd Bly met his grandmother at the air port and they embraced….. duh?

    While I am monolithic, and understand my perspective has nothing to do with any others except by chance… nonetheless… I’m not all that interested in reading Ray’s name… or David’s either for that matter, if the reference is as I said: merely a soft-fuzzy.

    Seems clear to me you were taking an opportunity simply to put Ray’s names in the way of your readers.

    As to Bruce’s comments… well, I’ve written too long about those.

    So, do you have any candidate relevant remarks to make or probes to place?


    July 21, 2007
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Nope! I’m not likely to get interested in any races, local or state, until next summer… unless, of course there’s a related sex or drugs scandal that would help boost our traffic. 😉

    July 21, 2007

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