Early ballot returns in Elk Grove City Council District 2 could be favorable to underdog Republican candidate

Although ballot return rates of 15 percent in the Elk Grove City Council District 2 are near identical to countywide rates of 16 percent, there is one positive indicator for one of the three candidates for the seat.

According to information complied by Poltical Data Inc., there has been 17 percent, or 1,472 votes of the Republican ballots returned in the district. This return rate slightly exceeds on a percentage basis the 16 percent or 1,914 Democratic ballots returned.

The significance is that in the three-candidate race, there is one Republican, Michelle Kile, and two Democrats. While some party crossover votes are likely, this could be favorable for Kile, who is considered the underdog in the race.

If Democrats Rod Brewer and Felipe Martin split at similar rates, 90 percent of the Democratic votes, and Kile had 90 percent of the Republican votes, based on this, Kile could be in first place at this moment in time.

Of course, in all elections, the gorilla in the room is the independent vote. So far, they have a return rate of only 11 percent for 920 votes.

One Republican official we spoke with who asked not to be identified noted Republican 10th District Assembly candidate, the late Eric Rigard, carried some of the District 2 precincts. This Republican's theory was with Kile picking up most of the Republican vote, a share of the independents, and Brewer and Martin splitting Democratic votes, she had a pathway to a plurality victory. 

In a podcast interview with Elk Grove News, Kile said she is attempting to let as many District 2 Republican voters as possible know of her affiliation. Additionally, unlike her two opponents, she is opposed to Elk Grove's Measure E, which could be enough of a differentiation from her opponents.

Another trend favorable for Kile, as seen in the chart below, is that Republicans are now returning ballots at a slightly higher rate. As noted in a recent PDI online seminar, the new trend nationally is for Republican voters to submit ballots closer to election day, while Democratic rates are higher earlier in the voting cycle and then drop off. 

Kile's challenge is overcoming her two opponents' campaign financing advantage. Between a combination of personal loans and contributions, Brewer and Martin have over $100,000, while Kile has less than $13,000. 

The question in this race is how will the independent votes break and can an underfunded candidate win the seat. Regardless of the outcome, Kile will have a significant voice in determining who will become the next District 2 council member.  

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