Channel 14 News' flub on District 5

Reporting live from the old Guilford County Courthouse last night, Channel 14 News reported that challenger Jorge Cornell was leading incumbent Trudy Wade by a large margin, holding nearly 80 percent of the votes cast with 27 percent of the precincts reporting in District 5.

Cornell and his campaign team sat at Pizzeria L'Italiano on Elm Street watching the results, and were both shocked and thrilled to see Cornell doing so well.

Not wanting to get ahead of themselves, they waited until at least half of the precincts were reporting, and then came down to the old courthouse to watch the rest of the results come in and celebrate.

When they arrived and saw the numbers scrolling across the screen, the same numbers Channel 14 News and the rest of us were pulling from, they didn't understand what was going on. Somehow in the time it took them to get to the courthouse, the results had flipped. After talking with me and a few other people, they began to realize what actually happened: Channel 14 News had reversed the results for District 5, and Wade had held a strong lead from the beginning with Early Voting results.

A shorter account of what happened appears in this week's print issue as part of our election coverage. Above, a photo courtesy of campaign member Samuel Velasquez, that he took of the television at L'Italiano shortly after 9 p.m.


Jordan Green said...

That's hilarious.

But seriously, Cornell polled a higher percentage in District 5 than challenger Jay Ovittore did in District 3. That's pretty extraordinary, considering that most voters in District 5 probably are aware of Cornell's baggage as a reputed gang leader, while Ovittore presumably holds a more positive image from his background as a former human relations commissioner and former lobbyist. Also, District 5 had by far the largest number of write-in votes of any district.

Eric Ginsburg said...

Cornell received more votes than he did running at large, and while some of those are likely anti-Wade votes, it is interesting to see such deep support in a district where he hasn't been as active historically compared to District 1, for example.

When you said he polled a higher percentage than Ovittore, what are you basing that on? Ovittore had 1,895 votes and 21.4 percent while Cornell had 1,034 and 19.9 percent, according to the BOE breakdown I am looking at. Cornell received less votes than any other district challenger, though he was close behind C. Bradley Hunt II.

Something else interesting — the districts all have roughly the same number of registered voters, right? Look at the overall number of ballots cast in each district. My first thought is that D5 is low because many people considered Wade had it in the bag and D4 was highest because it was hotly contested so people felt their vote mattered. I assume D3 is high because voters there often turn out en masse.

What does it mean that D1, D2 and D5 had significantly fewer ballots cast (at least in the district races) than D3 and D4? It would be interesting to compare and see if voters in east and south Greensboro ignored the district vote and focused on the mayor and at large, which could help explain these numbers.

Jordan Green said...

Eric, I totally blew it on Jorge's percentage. I don't know why, but I thought he won 25 percent of the vote. You're totally right in your analysis of the district race breakouts.

I wouldn't assume that the number of registered voters are more or less equal in all five districts. Remember, districts are drawn to achieve parity in population. Districts 5, 1 and 2 have traditionally had lower turnout than districts 3 and 4. It's a matter of habit and conditioning.

Eric Ginsburg said...

Ah, an important point. I forgot that district's aren't based on registered voters, but population.

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