Post-Election Analysis - What Did We Learn in Falmouth?

No Question the Voters Were Paying Attention

Lest there be any doubt that Falmouth voters take their responsibility seriously (at least the 34% of them who took the time to vote), an analysis of the May 20 town election shows that democracy and debate are alive - and doing very well thank you - on this corner of the penninsula.

What is being dismissed by some as a mere "desire for change" or impatience with incumbents, is not that simple.  The numbers, when analyzed more closely, clearly show a deliberate voice from the electorate. Here are some reasons why:

More than Bumped Off - #1 vote-getter and newcomer Brent Putnam topped the tally for a seat on the Board of Selectmen, followed closely by two-termer Ahmed Mustafa. Incumbent Catherine Bumpus was a distant third, trailing her nearest rival by more than 1,300 votes.  If this were a simple dismissal of the status0-quo, Mustafa's and Bumpus' numbers would have been far more similar. This points to a few notables: Putnam ran an effective, energetic campaign, feeding off some level of discontent with his "We can do better" slogan; Mustafa was able to maintain and mobilize his strong core constituency of seniors and veterans; and Bumpus' last-minute appeal to convince voters she was a candidate for all villages and not just Woods Hole was a dismal failure.  Moreover, Bumpus saw a significant erosion of her own base, falling to 3,851 votes from a total of 5,042 during her first bid for office in 2005 when 800 fewer people went to the polls.  Clearly, some soul-searching and geographic fence mending is needed if her fledgling campaign for the State House is to have any hope.

* welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on