Last night was the Mt. Vernon Democratic Committee’s annual Mardi Gras party, which is well known for its straw poll. There were about 250 people there and Justin Fairfax ended up winning the poll for Lt. Governor very easily. His vote total was in the 180’s, which was about 150 votes higher than Susan Platt’s total in the 30’s and Gene Rossi’s total in the 20’s.
Now this was obviously a big victory for the Fairfax campaign, but it would be wrong for them to assume they have that big of a lead in the polls. What this straw poll does indicate, however, is the degree to which the campaign is able to get volunteers and activists out to an event.
While I know the other campaigns tried to get their supporters out to the event, the Fairfax campaign put forth a real effort to get people out. Not only did they send out emails to their general email list suggesting this was a way to support Justin, but I had several staffers mention the event to me in person when they saw me at various other places.
Realizing that part of victory of the night was also showing an overwhelming presence at the event, there was a big truck out in front of the event decorated with Fairfax campaign paraphernalia when you arrived. As you went inside there were also several volunteers and staffers handing out Justin Fairfax stickers and making sure you had signed a petition to get him on the primary ballot.
I did eventually run into people helping out the other campaigns, but they clearly did not have as strong a presence as the Fairfax campaign did. It almost felt like they had given up hope of actually winning the straw poll. For that reason alone, I had a feeling Justin was going to win but I didn’t realize that the margin was going to be that big.
For those who are interested, here’s the video of Justin speaking to the crowd last night.