Orange Primary 2012: County Commissioners, District 1

In a tight Democratic primary involving 3 candidates for 2 seats in Orange County's district 1, civil rights attorney and former Carrboro alderman Mark Dorosin came out ahead with 10,474 votes. He will be joined on the Board of Commissioners by current Chapel Hill Town Council member Penny Rich (9709 votes). Because there was no Republican primary in district 1 this year, Dorosin and Rich will take their seats after the general election in November. They will replace outgoing commissioner Valerie Foushee and incumbent commissioner Pam Hemminger (9167 votes).

The maps below show the results of the primary. Dorosin and Rich found most of their support in the centrally located precincts of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Carrboro and the downtown Chapel Hill precincts went heavily for Dorosin. Rich drew more of her support from Chapel Hill, though her numbers were remarkably even throughout the district. Hemminger had her best results in the towns' more suburban precincts, as seen in the distinctive doughnut shape on her map.

Usual disclaimer: Because of the large number of early votes, the maps are inaccurate to the extent that early voters made different choices than people who voted on Election Day.

The Dorosin and Rich victories, plus the landslide defeat of incumbent Steve Yuhasz by Renee Price in the Democratic primary in district 2, almost certainly mean we will have 3 newcomers on the 7-member Board of Commissioners after the general election. Could this be the "sea change" some of us were hoping for?

Votes for Mark Dorosin, %

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Votes for Penny Rich, %

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Votes for Pam Hemminger, %

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The geography of our values has never been more clear than after seeing the Amendment One vote maps for both NC and for Orange County.  There is a growing difference between people who prefer to live close to others and those who perfer to live further apart. No wonder I find myself more and more drawn to urban spaces and values.

According to the data I downloaded from he Orange County Board of Elections, Pam Hemminger received more votes in Damascus precinct (223) than either of the other two candidates (208, 214) and slightly more than Rich (284 to 279) in Dogwood Acres. She also received the same number of votes in St. Johns (325) as Dorosin to Rich's 311. But your map shows her receiving fewer votes than either candidate in those 3 ETJ precincts. Are we looking at the same data? I pulled the zip file (XLS) from the reports tab on the Orange Co board of elections website.

Terri: I'll take a look later tonight. It's possible I flubbed something.

Terri: We appear to be using the same data.The maps above show the same shading for all 3 candidates in Damascus and St. John, indicating that they received between 30.0% and 34.9% in those precincts.In the Dogwood Acres precinct, Hemminger and Rich received 31.4% and 30.9%, respectively. Dorosin received 37.7%, which is why his map is a darker shade in that precinct. 

The maps I'm seeing show Damascus, Dogwood, and St. Johns as 25-29% for Pam and 30-34.9% for Mark and Penny. Mark is showing as 35-39% in Dogwood. I know my eyes are getting old, but .....

Terri: OK, I've gone through everything again and made some corrections. It turns out the problem wasn't with those 3 precincts at all. I had neglected to differentiate between the 2 lightest shades for Dorosin and Hemminger and between the 2 darkest shades for Rich. Everything should be correct now. (Thank you for prompting me to do it!)

Those 3 precincts are still showing as if Pam received fewer votes in them than either Mark or Penny. And they show Mark and Penny having received the same percentage of the votes.

I don't know what to tell you.Damascus and St. John are the same shade of orange for all 3 candidates, because all 3 candidates received between 30.0% and 34.9% of the vote in those precincts.Dogwood Acres is the same shade for Hemminger and Rich, again because they received between 30.0% and 34.9% of the vote there. Dogwood Acres is one shade darker for Dorosin because he received between 35.0% and 39.9% in that precinct. 

A link that may be of relevance for us here: 


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