Handicapping the November City Council Elections


Handicapping the November City Council Elections: Probabilities in parentheses

Ward One: Dan McGinn (100%) Unopposed

Ward Two: Incumbent Missy Mosby (D) (55%) vs. E. Lon Walters (R) (45%)

Missy successfully distanced herself from the thrashing that Team Weinzapfel took in this year’s Democratic primary with positive name recognition, visibility in her ward, and in breaking with Team Weinzapfel on the Robert’s Stadium ballfield issue. Her incumbency to a large extent will be dependent upon her ability to shed her service on Team Weinzapfel and focus instead on the unique needs of the Second Ward

Ward Three: Stephanie Brinkerhoff Riley (65%) vs. TBD (R) (35%)

It is rumored that the Republicans will be fielding a candidate to oppose upstart Stephanie Brinkerhoff Riley who ran an intelligent primary campaign and will be difficult to defeat. If Ms. Riley stays on point and out of political shenanigans she has a build in advantage

Ward Four: Connie Robinson (100%) Unopposed

Ward Five: Brent Grafton (R) (56%) vs. Incumbent John Friend (44%)

Friend like Mosby will have the challenge of shedding the image of being a loyal member of Team Weinzapfel in the more Republican 5th Ward. Grafton has already put forth some ideas and position papers and is preaching to the choir in the 5th Ward. Grafton is also seen as being nearly 100% consistent with his positions throughout his life in Evansville. It will come as a surprise to many that these candidates although coming from different parties will share more views than one would expect.

Ward Six: Al Lindsey (60%) vs. Shaun Short (40%)

Al Lindsey has just defeated an entrenched incumbent and a member of the Mosby family in a highly democratic ward. Mr. Short is a newcomer to politics and will have to run an aggressive campaign to increase his potential to draw votes in a part of Evansville that is typically not supportive of Republican candidates.

At-Large (based on primary results and 55/45 democratic voting advantage)

Dr. H. Dan Adams (D) (56%)
Jonathan Weaver (D) (61%)
Conor O’Daniel (D) (48%)
Michelle Mercer (R) (50%)
Pete Swaim (R) (42%)
Bill Kramer (R) (43%)

Republican Cumulative Probability: 411%
Democrat Cumulative Probability: 489%

Therefore based on where things stand today the highest outcome probability is for the Evansville City Council to have 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans when the smoke clears in November.


  1. “Grafton has already put forth some ideas and position papers and is preaching to the choir in the 5th Ward. Grafton is also seen as being nearly 100% consistent with his positions throughout his life in Evansville.”

    Ya think? His position paper on locks on Pigeon Creek should be mandatory reading for voters. It unintentionally sheds light on his thought processes and ability and willingness to thoroughly research a subject PRIOR to forming an opinion.

    He took the time to write a position paper on the subject with the intent that it be published and disseminated to the public. One cannot help but believe that had he been in a position of power to do so, he would most likely have spent taxpayer money studying the topic. All this and yet he makes the comment that follows:

    “In 1942, we fortified ourselves against the river, the enemy, and have spent the last seventy years sitting idly by while the Army Corp of Engineers developed the series of lakes that we now know as the Ohio River and slowly cut us off from the lifeblood that made our community great.”


    Now for the facts. The Record Low on the Ohio at Evansville PRIOR to the start of construction of dams on the Ohio was 3/10 of a foot. Maybe a kids toy boat could navigate through that. The low in 1942, as dams were being was built, comes in at #6 on the list of lows at 6.5 feet. That’s much better, but the river would still be unnavigable by barges at that level. The next LOWEST level holding position #7 on the list was not until the year 2000!!!! It was 12.99 feet, over 6 feet higher than the 1942 level!! Yeah, those pesky dams have cut us off from the rest of the world, haven’t they?

    I don’t know about anyone else but I sure don’t want someone in public office, making decisions that affect us all, that appears to have the inability to do even the most basic research and form a reasonable opinion based on fact and good ole common sense. His above comment shows he is apparently lacking in these areas. It too me all of 10 minutes of research and no prior knowledge to totally disprove what he stated as fact. I expect far better from those holding a public office.

    • Actually your doing a pretty good job of laying out opposition research on the concept that I presented… so far I do not see any deal killer in your comments but keep them coming maybe you will help move our town forward and we can come a way to put more of our good citizens to work….

      • You can characterize it as opposition if you like. It’s really not. It’s a “call” for facts to be presented in how one overcomes basic problems such as water doesn’t only flow in the desired direction and it doesn’t flow uphill on its own.

        When facts are presented that overcome these basic problems, a starting point for further discussion may have been reached.

          • Why not? Won’t those pesky things called “facts” have to come out sooner or later? One would think you would be anxious to dispel the nayayers right off the bat and get the ball rolling.

            You lead off your “paper” with the assertion that all those pesky dams have caused us to become “isolated” from our “lifeblood”. I presented facts 100% to the contrary. You have no response except that you got your feelings hurt and want to pout rather than counter with facts of your own. Maybe you’re just a little too thin-skinned to be in a leadership role where you have to explain yourself to peons such as myself.

  2. The Pigeon Creek project is a dang good one. We are watching town after town whether it be Omaha, San Antonio, OKC, Indianapolis, and soon to be Jeffersonville, IN create canals and creeks or build canals and creeks and then reap the benefits of it. For example, OKC dug a whole canal down through their Bricktown neighborhood. It cost $23 million and pulled in $110 million.

    Of course, there will need to be a lot kinks ironed out before a final proposal can go forward but it definitely is a project that needs to be worked on. Same with the old Wabash & Erie Canal which should have gotten built with the 2001 master plan. There was no reason to get away from that master plan.

    The truth is, projects like this scare the living daylights out of penny pinchers around here who love killing projects but never advocate with counter proposals for anything. They would be perfectly fine with a city with no perks, attractions, or any development whatsoever if it meant a few more pennies in their pockets.

    How did that work out with the ballpark plan? We saved $22 mil but now have a parking lot, an adult bookstore, and no signs of life at all in that area. That’s not a success and we will never ever get anywhere if we continue to allow NIMBYism to have the final say.

  3. ” For example, OKC dug a whole canal down through their Bricktown neighborhood. It cost $23 million and pulled in $110 million”

    I’ve just had time to review this one project so far and agree, it’s pretty cool. On the other hand, the situation is nowhere close to that in Evansville. This canal is fed by what, in essence, is a small creek that has had three dams built, two with locks, to raise and stabilize the water level.

    Having a series of three dams within a mile or so of each other and in a situation where the water level is significantly raised by the dams, it allows for fantastic flood/ambient level control within the dammed area. If you notice, the water is also not clay-laden, brown, murky water as is available here.

    Check out Google Earth. There is also the coolest river camp I’ve ever seen on the upstream end of this series of lakes created by these dams. It is what appears to be a 727 or similar jet floating in the creek with its nose on shore.

  4. The proposed Jeffersonville canal is interesting, although there seems to be rather wide variations in cost estimates; $52 – $143 million. The ONLY reason this project comes close to being financially feasible is because it is an integral part of solving the combined sewer problem. The canal would be used to handle stormwater runoff from flood prone areas thus reducing the cost of overhauling the sewer system.

    How would this apply in Evanspatch? Where are the flood prone areas in relation to the river and where you would want a canal placed? How many bridges would have to be built? I think you would see a far greater cost for such a project here as the flood prone areas are a much greater distance from the river and in residential areas.

    Of course, there are other factors to consider. How do you “water” the canal in times of drought? How do you keep it from becoming stagnant? How do elevations work out and what must be done to handle outflow in times such as we have today; heavy rains and a river well above flood stage?

    This project is far from a done deal. There is still a lot of skepticism as to whether it will actually work and come out on budget. Also, there has been absolutely no committments from the business community to do any development along its length.

  5. MagicMan,

    I appreciate you looking up those canals and giving some feedback on it. Several things here…

    In regards to the bricktown OKC Canal, I was pretty sure that it went all the way down to the Oklahoma River (which is like our Ohio River) but now that I’m looking at it on google maps it appears that it hits a wall and then another creek picks up on the other side and goes all the way down to the Oklahoma River so I really couldn’t tell you where they get their water. Their canal is man made unlike our Pigeon Creek but like our W&E if we re-dug it.

    I never walked to the end of the canal when I was there but I can tell you that if you walk through the area where the ballpark and retail are you will think that you are walking into the front entrance at street level to all those buildings but you are not, you’re actually walking into the basements of the buildings because originally there was a street there not a waterway.

    With the Wabash & Erie Canal that is what we would have to do. It was in the 2001 master plan. I would forward it to you but cannot find it since GAGE deleted off their site so I will try to describe it. Basically, it would have gone through a part of where it use to be. We would have closed off first avenue south of the lloyd. Then we would have demolished those crumbling buildings in that block. The canal would have formed a right angle going from 5th street over to where it would run parallel to John Street (does that make sense?)

    Now that the Robert Orr building has been demolished I would like to work on bringing it all the way down parallel to John street to the Pigeon Creek trailhead (that is where the original W&E went). Then in future phases I would like to take the canal down 5th street wrap around the arena, hotel, and convention center, and then over to canal street.

    Also, I would like to rewater the old W&E canal at Wesselman Park which is that trench you see north of Roberts Stadium/ south of the golf course. I talked to Bill Jeffers on here about it a few months ago and I forgot exactly what he said but I believe he said it would be hard to do so I don’t know if it could be done there or not. If it could, then one day ( would have to be many phases down the road) we could then reconnect the two.

    I don’t know how we would water a canal that wouldn’t be connected to the river but I know it can be done. You’d have to ask Bill about that who abs has to be on this project if we’re ever going to get anywhere with it.

    In regards to the Jeffersonville Canal, I definitely think the old W&E canal could be a partial solution to our CSO problem as well since it would run through downtown and maybe the eastside. Same thing with Pigeon Creek although I sure hope we have a plan to quit dumping sewage from places like house into it. I usually canoe down it but have quit because it’s just too nasty. I don’t mind street water runoff going in there but not something with waste in it.

    If we do Mr. Grafton’s proposal for Pigeon Creek we would be damming up Pigeon Creek which would, like you said, give us tremendous control over the water, thus we could do with it what OKC did with their canal.

    I will definitely agree with you on the bridges. Both a new Pigeon Creek and a W&E project would require a lot of them. However, if you look at OKC’s, Omaha’s, San Antonio’s, and Indy’s you will see a ton of bridges. I have been to all four of those and I would imagine at least 5 bridges for each canal. But, all four of those cities did it and it was financially feasible due to the fact that these are only half length bridges. OKC’s $23 mil canal has a ton of them.

    Now why would it be a good idea to dam up Pigeon Creek and build the old W&E? Simple put, they are the only projects that can spur development but connecting both east and west. You and most of the CCO know that I’m a diehard believer in building ballparks, stadiums, and arenas but there’s one thing they cannot do. They cannot spur development on another side of downtown (unless you REALLY spread your parking out). With a canal/creek you get in a watertaxi (http://www.bricktownwatertaxi.com/) and you go through a good chunk of downtown on a canal (Look at San Antonio’s riverwalk map!) You also shop along the canal. In our case, why not build a ballpark with a retail village on the mulzer lot and then put retail along the canal all the way to Main Street/arena/convention center where we would already have a good chunk of retail and entertainment? We would connect east and west downtown.

    By the way, OKC’s canal is a part of their Core to Shore initiative which is a part of their MAPS program which I am the number 1 fan of. If you look it up (or just send me an email JordanBaer1@gmail.com) you will see why it works there and why it would work here.

    So yea, I am very excited about Mr. Grafton’s proposal.

    On a side note, look at what OKC did when they dammed up their Oklahoma River (https://www.okc.gov/maps/river/index.html) they diverted the whole thing until after construction! That’s impressive.

    • “So yea, I am very excited about Mr. Grafton’s proposal.”

      Obviously, Mr. Grafton and others are very excited about his proposal too. So excited, in fact, that his letter has somehow mysteriously been deleted from this site. I guess it gave far too many pertinent details so that someone else could pick up the idea and run with it, claiming it as their own. That’s one theory. On the other hand, maybe it was so full of nothingness that it became an embarrassment and history had to be altered.

      • I thought it was deleted to, but I used the search feature and found it. At least as of of a couple days ago, it was still there.

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