The Mayor’s race has been cut to two survivors: Skorman and Bach. Everyone I have talked to agrees: This is Bach’s race to loose. Many go as far to suggest that Bach could leave town for the next six weeks and still win 60-40. So what are the risks and strategies going forward?
Bach can afford to play it safe; continue to say nothing and avoid mistakes. Stay to the right of Skorman on most, if not all, issues. Pull out the old basketball four corners offense and stall his way to victory.
Skorman, on the other hand, is a liberal in a very conservative town. As such, he has nothing to lose. He will certainly get the 40% of the vote that is left of center; just as Bach will get the 40% that is right of center. The problem for Skorman is that the 20% in the middle will continue to vote conservative, absent a compelling reason to do otherwise. Can he find it or can others find that reason for him?
In a two way race there are four reasons to vote: for Bach, for Skorman, against Bach, against Skorman. As reported here, there are already push polls going on to give people a reason to vote against Skorman. I strongly suspect that there are also people looking into Bach’s past, calling former associates looking for any dirt they can find. One reason the recent reports on one of Bach’s past marriages got no traction is because most people figured it happened 40 years ago. So what if Bach denied it? Who hasn’t made a mistake, used it as a learning experience and moved on? The problem for Bach is if those digging into his past find similar incidents of this type of behavior, suggesting that it is not an isolated event long in the past.
In the final analysis, however, this is a change election. There is a lot of anger and anxiety just below the surface. Many are very worried about the future. As I have noted in the past, Bach is much more closely associated with the notion that things are going to change under his leadership. Bach has given no specifics on what his change might look like, but the perception is strong that he will make changes. Skorman, to have a chance, must identify needed changes, state what they are and offer specifics on where he is going to lead this community. Absent that, Bach can begin picking out an office in the City Administration Building.