Naturally, there’s a lot of buzz in City Hall around Mike Germain’s recent announcement that he’s looking at the district 2 council seat currently held by Phil Palmieri. From last week’s Telegram:
“I had absolutely no interest running for (the District 2) that seat when people initially mentioned it to me,” Mr. Germain said in a telephone interview. “But as I heard from more and more people, I thought, why not? There is no question in my mind that the City Council and city of Worcester will be better off without Phil Palmieri.”
(Palmieri gets his own shot in there at the end of the article.)
Assuming this is going to happen (Germain says he and his campaign committee will decide between at-large or district on April 25) and no one else enters the race, it would be a savvy move for Germain. Already this year 17 other people have pulled papers for an at-large seat, so for a candidate who has come in sixth place in both elections he’s run in, this would be the time to jump into a race with a smaller candidate pool.
Considering his 6th place finishes in 2007 and 2009, Germain actually hasn’t fared too badly in district 2. While it’s not exactly a meaningful comparison to line up an at-large candidates votes with a district candidates, in 2007 and 2009 Germain only received about 500 votes less than Palmieri in D2. It should also be noted, though, that in 2007 Palmieri ran unopposed, while in 2009 he had little competition with Frank Raffa’s write-in campaign.
What does matter, though, is how Germain fared in the individual precincts. Among a field of eleven candidates in 2007 Germain finished in 6th place or below in six of the district’s ten precincts. In 2009, he fared better: among ten candidates he finished in 6th place or below only four times. Not exactly “mandate” territory, but working in Germain’s favor was that in general, the larger the precinct the better his numbers. In 2007 he won precinct 4-5, and in 2009 his best showings came in 3-1, 4-2, 4-4 and 4-5.
The bad news for Germain, however, is that he lost about 100 votes in district 2 between 2007 and 2009 (though Palmieri did too).
There are all kinds of ways to handicap this potential race (union support vs. political alliances, ten years of district council experience vs. none) but these election results are a good starting point for gauging the match up. Of course, Germain’s chances really ride on whether or not district 2 voters see him as district councilor material, and if his campaign this year does more than just put up a handful of yard signs.