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Bloomington City Council, District 3

By Scott Tibbs, May 7, 2015

I was not surprised to see incumbent city councilor Marty Spechler lose his primary race on May 5.

Spechler won his primary with a plurality in 2011, but he only got 35% of the vote in a multi-person race. He got the nomination despite 65% of Democrats in his district picking someone else. One could say his 2011 victory was a fluke. In a one-on-one race, he was always going to have a more difficult time.

However, I was surprised to see how badly he lost. He only got 27% of the vote this time. He did not just lose. He was annihilated. I figured the race would be much closer than that, especially since Spechler is an incumbent. It is difficult to unseat an incumbent, especially in a primary.

It will be interesting to see if the Herald-Times makes an issue of a moderate Democrat losing in the primary to a challenger from his left. Not much was made of that during the primary campaign. Many would argue that if this were a Republican primary, the local newspaper would have already devoted at least one editorial bemoaning the fact that a moderate was at risk of losing his seat in the primary.

The Republicans did not field a candidate in the 2011 general election, but that is not the case this year. It will be interesting to see if Nelson Shaffer can win that seat, and how close the results are in the fall.