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Virginia Senate Winner: Mike Bushnell!

And the winner of the Virginia Democratic senatorial primary is....Mike Bushnell.

What, the headlines say it was Jim Webb? Oh yes, yes, Webb won the popular vote. But we're talking the Raw Fisher Predictions Board, where reader Mike Bushnell won the narrowest of victories over two other folks here on the big blog, stanpen and kef. All three of these folks got the margin of victory for Webb over Harris Miller exactly right, at 53 percent to 47 percent.

So we had to go to the tiebreakers, in which you were asked to predict the results in Fairfax, Arlington and Loudoun counties (apologies to Prince William readers and fans who felt left out. The tiebreaker categories were selected more or less at random; I'll get you in there next time.)

And even in the tiebreakers, our top three pundits were incredibly close--to each other. But they all got the local results way wrong. In fact, two of them--kef and Bushnell--had Miller winning in at least one northern Virginia county. But everyone got the Arlington vote so backwards (to be honest, I did too) that each of our three winners were off by more than 40 percentage points if you add up the margins in all three of those local counties. In any event, Bushnell won by 1 percentage point over the other two.

Mike, please email me at with your postal address and I'll send out a lovely prize of some sort.

Overall, readers of the big blog did extremely well in calling this election. Twenty-five of you predicted that Webb would win, while only 10 said Miller would prevail.

In other contests, the winner for least votes in a hotly contested category all across Virginia was Norton City, where a grand total of 49 people bothered to vote Tuesday. At the other end of the spectrum was Fairfax County, where 35,000 people voted--more than three times as many as any other jurisdiction in the state. Still, that was an embarrassingly low turnout, if not as low as the statewide tally, which was 3.4 percent of registered voters.

More in the column tomorrow.

By Marc Fisher |  June 13, 2006; 11:35 PM ET
Previous: Virginia Senate Race: Your Predictions | Next: Annals of Bad Ideas: Subsidizing Gas Stations


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We should hardly be surprised that voter turnout was so low, especially with polls closing at 7pm. I truly cannot understand why polls in VA are not open until 9pm. How many potential voters were stuck in traffic... still... between 6pm-7pm. Polls open at 6am - prime commuting time. Let's be honest with this - turnout was so low because voting has become very, very inconvenient in the course of our daily lives. Instead of blaming things like voter apathy, we should look to ways to make voting compatible with our work schedules, commuting, and so forth and the easiest thing by far is extending voting to 9pm.

Posted by: Burke Voter | June 14, 2006 7:54 AM

Better still Burke, now that we use electronic voting machines like civilized people, we should be able to cast our votes from any polling station in the state. Your identity can be confirmed by local poll workers near your office just as easily as the ones near your home, and your vote can be magically transported back to your home precinct for tallying with your neighbors. If the state were to make voting as easy (and secure) as using an ATM or the post office, you'll see voter participation rates skyrocket over lunch.

Posted by: athea | June 14, 2006 8:12 AM

Polls are open for 13 hours! 13! Do you really think adding 2 hours in the evening when folks are watching TV is really going to change the percentage? Apathy is the answer, and you can argue until your blue (or red) in the face, and it doesn't change. If you want to vote and think its important, a 13 hour block is sufficient. Stop making excuses!

Posted by: Dave | June 14, 2006 9:46 AM

Dunno about what system VA uses, but considering Diebold's response to the flaws found in MD's system is simply "it's not a problem if people are honest", vote anywhere ideas are a disaster waiting to happen.

Posted by: tallbear | June 14, 2006 10:28 AM

If polls were open longer, people would find other excuses to not vote. And if you don't plan on voting on election day, vote absentee ballot. Regardless, don't complain in November about your choices if you don't vote in the primaries.

Posted by: Soulie | June 14, 2006 10:39 AM

And people wonder why Virginia isn't a state - no one bothers to vote... oh wait, it's DC that is denied statehood. Nevermind.

Posted by: Sa | June 14, 2006 11:41 AM

Has any analysis been done into how many registered Republicans voted in the Webb-Miller election? My sister - a die-hard Republican - told me she voted for Webb in the primary. She has no intention, however, of voting for Webb in November.

Posted by: Brian | June 15, 2006 12:51 PM

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