Home 2017 Races Longtime Arlington Elections Guru Predicts Near-“Presidential” Turnout, Strong Night for Virginia Dems...

Longtime Arlington Elections Guru Predicts Near-“Presidential” Turnout, Strong Night for Virginia Dems Next Tuesday

"As goes Arlington - so goes Alexandria and Falls Church and (to a lesser extent) Fairfax and Prince William."


Frank O’Leary, who served as Arlington County Treasurer for over three decades (1983-2014), also was well known for his voter turnout and electoral predictions. Last year, on October 26, O’Leary predicted turnout of 128,000 (plus or minus 6,000) in Arlington County. The final turnout numbers, according to the State Board of Elections website: 122,379. Not too shabby! So what are O’Leary’s predictions this year? See below, but let’s just say, if I were VA GOP Chair John Whitbeck or the campaigns of Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel and/or John Adams, I wouldn’t like what O’Leary has to say…

A Real Barnburner!

Turnout in Arlington for this year’s Gubernatorial race should be a record-breaker by a wide margin – I expect more than 80,000 votes to be cast!  Turnout at that level is almost Presidential.  Here’s how this year should stack up in the context of recent comparable years.

My prediction is based on the level of absentee voting as a sample of the total turnout population.  As of October 30, 6,856 absentee votes have been cast versus approximately 3,800 at the same point in 2013 and 2014.  Should the same pattern of absentee voting (evident for these and other years) hold true, then about 12,500 (or more) absentee votes will be cast by November 7.  That number in turn correlates with a total turnout of 84,000 or more.

As a convention, I use the color blue to denote estimates.  In this case, however, it may be a harbinger of Democratic victory statewide.  A high turnout generally bodes well for Democrats and, in Arlington, almost certainly assures that Northam will far exceed McAuliffe’s margin of victory in 2013.

In that year, McAuliffe won Arlington by more than 33,000 votes.  This year Northam should enjoy a local victory margin of 45,000 or more.  Moreover, realize that in 2013 McAuliffe won by less than 57,000 statewide and the significance of Arlington in determining outcome in Virginia becomes apparent.  But Arlington is not alone, and – as goes Arlington – so goes Alexandria and Falls Church and (to a lesser extent) Fairfax and Prince William.

Finally, unless Arlington is an arbitrary maverick, Democratic turnout throughout the Commonwealth should be considerably greater than in prior years.  All of this should also produce “many happy returns” for a number of Democratic candidates seeking admission to the House of Delegates.

  • Perseus1986

    Potential bad news is that it looks likely that it will be rainy in Northern Va. on election day. Hopefully it’s just a drizzle that gets people running into the polls and not a deluge that keeps people inside.

    • alternatesteve2

      I hear ya! That said, though, I don’t think rainy weather cost Clinton too much back in ’16, TBH, even though there was quite a bit of rain in parts of OH + PA on 11/8 from what I recall.

    • Michael Beer

      Rainy throughout the state.

  • Anthony Shifflett

    As long as it’s not super cold we’re good to go. I live in Manassas Park, and I have to tell you that Danica Roem’s people have just canvassed the area day after day. And they quit coming after me about a week after I absentee voted. But kept coming after my wife. She voted on Wednesday.

    Anyway, I am super impressed with the GOTV operation Dems have in place this year.

    Much better than this time last year.

  • dave schutz

    It will be swell if Frank is right. One possible fly in the ointment is that he is basing a lot on absentee behavior, but local Dems have been pushing absentee voting far harder in the last couple of years than they had earlier, so absentee voting totals relative to total vote may be a moving target.

  • Excellent news from the Arlington County Democratic Committee…looks like Frank O’Leary was right on target with his 12,500 prediction!

    Arlington County Votes Absentee in Record Numbers in Non-Presidential Election

    Arlington, VA – November 5, 2017 — As they did in the primary elections this June, Arlingtonians came out again in record numbers to vote absentee. 8525 Arlingtonians voted in-person absentee and mail-in absentee ballots are expected to add up to 4000 to that total. Over 1700 Arlingtonians voted in-person absentee the last day of in-person absentee voting alone!

    This election is important not only because of its national implications, but because the results affect re-districting (making this election crucial for the next fourteen years in Virginia politics), jobs, education and vocational training, women’s health care independence, marriage equality, access to voter registration and absentee voting, and protection for victims of domestic violence. Still, Arlington Democrats are taking nothing for granted. We will continue to knock doors, make calls, and greet voters at the metro to ensure as many people in Arlington can vote on Tuesday.

    ACDC Chairman Kip Malinosky issued the following statement:

    “With polls as close as they are being reported, Arlington Democrats clearly realize the importance of voting. I am encouraged by the historic turnout, because it shows we are unified in fighting for better jobs, higher wages, protecting the vulnerable and the environment. With one more day of voting left, I encourage Arlington Democrats to make a plan and vote on November 7 – our Commonwealth depends on it.”

    For more information on where to vote, what ID to bring, and other voting questions, go to https://vote.arlingtonva.us/.

    To volunteer for the Arlington Democrats go to: http://www.arlingtondemocrats.org/gotv/

    For more information on the Democratic candidates, visit the campaigns’ websites:
    Ralph Northam for Governor: http://ralphnortham.com/
    Justin Fairfax for Lieutenant Governor: http://www.fairfaxforlg.com/
    Mark Herring for Attorney General: https://herringforag.com/
    Mark Levine for 45th District: http://www.markfordelegate.com/
    Patrick Hope for 47th District: http://www.hopeforvirginia.org/
    Rip Sullivan for 48th District: http://www.ripsullivan.com/
    Alfonso Lopez: 49th District: http://www.alfonsolopez.org/
    Erik Gutshall for County Board: http://www.erik4arlington.com
    Monique O’Grady for School Board: https://www.moniqueogrady.org/