Democrats Argue Special Election Drove Turnout, Not Senate Primary

Posted May 21, 2010 at 4:35pm

Democrats are pushing back against a Republican contention that Rep. Mark Critz (D) won Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th district because it coincided with a high-profile Democratic Senate primary.

After GOP pollster Gene Ulm released a memo that said registered Democrats comprised 64 percent of the primary day turnout in the district, the Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group responded that the two-party vote in Tuesday’s race actually skewed less Democratic than in some recent general elections.

Global Strategy Group also said 33 percent of registered Democrats in Pennsylvania’s 12th district showed up to vote Tuesday, compared with 20 percent in the rest of the state and 21 percent in Rep. Joe Sestak’s 7th district near Philadelphia. Sestak defeated Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic Senate nod Tuesday.

“In sum, the Sestak-Specter primary ultimately did not bring many voters to the polls beyond the most die-hard primary voters,” the memo said. “It is clear that what truly drove turnout in PA-12 was the special election itself.”

Critz defeated businessman Tim Burns (R), 53 percent to 45 percent. They will face one another again in November.