Shade's Quick Evening
The early numbers told the tale
By Michael King,
10:24PM, Sat. Jun. 18, 2011
Incumbent Place 3 Council Member Randi Shade began the evening expecting a "very close" runoff against challenger Kathie Tovo, but the early vote numbers came in 55% Tovo, 45% Shade – and the day's numbers were only worse. A little after 9pm, Shade thanked the voters, her supporters, her team, and her partner Kayla Shell, for a hard-fought campaign.
A couple of hours before the early vote was posted, Shade was carefully optimistic. "Everybody's telling me it's going to be extremely close," she told NewsDesk by phone, "so we're doing everything we can to turn out voters this afternoon, and we're just going to hope for the best. I'm really proud of the effort we put out towards this runoff, and I'm glad that we decided to stay in it. I think it was really important to do that." That optimism held very early at El Arroyo, on the outdoor deck hosting her vote-night party, but by the time Shade arrived, about 7:30, the early numbers had been posted, showing Tovo ahead by 10 points. "Obviously, I had hoped we would be in a better position going into today's vote," Shade said, "but we've run a great campaign, we've gotten many more people to vote, and we'll just have to wait for today's votes to come in."
It was a fairly long wait – totals only drizzled in, in small numbers for a couple of hours – but when they did come in, it became clear that Tovo was only widening her lead. Looking at the incoming votes, Shade campaign manager Katherine Haenschen said it appeared that the jump in runoff numbers had increased numerical support in voting strongholds for both candidates, but had not altered the basic margins. "Both campaigns fired up their supporters," said Haenschen, "so they came out in larger numbers for both sides." The margin had been closed a bit – from the general election's 13% to the run-off's 12% – but not enough to generate a Shade comeback.
Shade conceded about 9:15, said she'd called Tovo to offer her congratulations, and thanked her team and supporters, who cheered her name. Among the crowd of supporters at El Arroyo wishing Shade the best were Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, and Council Member Chris Riley – one open question is how the newly formed council, when Tovo takes her seat next month, will resolve its now visible political division: Council Members Laura Morrison, Sheryl Cole, and Bill Spelman all supported Tovo.
"We've got a lot to be proud of," Shade told her supporters, "and we should be proud of our hard work. There just weren't enough of us to get out and vote. I wished Kathie Tovo the best – [being on the council] has been an incredible experience for me, and I know it will be an incredible experience for her.
Asked "what's next" for her by a reporter, Shade smiled and said, "I'll be happy to have a nice cold margarita here at El Arroyo."