You've heard of the Las Vegas line of odds of a certain team or athlete being victorious. Now that Thursday's Tribune candidate forums are history, here's the Scottsdale line on the mayor and City Council runoff, post-forum.
These aren't expressions of whom I believe is the best candidate, just of who's leading according to this novice oddsmaker. Like the car commercials say, use these numbers for comparison only. Your political mileage may vary:
Jim Lane, Even. He was much more detailed during the forum in terms of his to-do list than in Round One, showing a more confident air. But the latest campaign spending report from mid-August (Tribune, Friday) shows his opponent with more money in the campaign chest. Like Barack Obama in the presidential race, Lane has better odds of winning if economic news continues as is.
Mary Manross, 6-5. Still chiefly banking on her optimistic view of life in Scottsdale, past and future, in the forum she showed a stronger command of facts, figures and history of how certain things in Scottsdale came to be. Like John McCain in the presidential race, she is counting on independents casting ballots for her Nov. 4 to win.
Betty Drake, 3-2. Her droll gems (such as a recent one about advising residents to think about moving to Ajo if they can't handle the problems that come with the benefits of city life) provide an intelligent respite from the ideological warfare that rages on among fellow council members.
Despite past questions about her employment arrangements as an urban designer with developers of some of the city's biggest projects - she properly excuses herself from discussing or voting on such projects - Drake remains well-liked and respected.
Ron McCullagh, 8-5. Willing to stick to a principle even under threat of political backlash, he started out as the only council member willing to consider reducing the presence of political campaign signs.
He won election to his first term without signs. His first motion to cut back on them citywide died for lack of a second. But ultimately he managed to win those restrictions.
Suzanne Klapp, 9-5. Articulate, she was the beneficiary of a softball question from Drake at the forum to the effect of, gee, you attend so many council meetings, how do you do it all?
Although she is tabbed by critics as the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce's favorite, it is interesting in the wake of so much recent angst at City Council meetings over zoning, how she, McCullagh and Drake - the three candidates who express the most support for development - were Sept. 2's top three vote-getters.
Lisa Borowsky, 2-1. The candidate of change, that is, if voters want to see someone younger than 50 on the council, something not seen since Councilman Dennis Robbins was elected in 1996, or an attorney on the dais, something not seen since, well, Robbins. Borowsky might never be able to shake from voters' minds that she's the sister of the owner of one of Scottsdale's two strip clubs, but if she is elected it will mean that is something voters were willing to overlook in favor of her ideas and eagerness.
Nan Nesvig, 7-2. The poster child of the political hardball of the 2006 council race, in which her petition signatures were successfully challenged by opponents (this properly removing her from the ballot but opponents steadfastly refused to identify who was actually behind the challenge).
Nesvig's second run for council is along similar themes of tighter zoning controls and more accountability, but those themes haven't caught the attention of a wide enough audience.
Tom Giller, 4-1. Although he has worked to distance himself from an image as a one-issue (or, two, sort of: height and density) candidate, Giller so far hasn't worked up much of a citywide vision.
His dissatisfaction with downtown zoning decisions led him to run, but there's much more to Scottsdale a candidate needs to address in detail to be victorious at the polls.
These are my odds today, not my prediction of the order of finish a bit more than a month from now.
What little I know of political oddsmaking is that there is a big difference between it and horse racing, where the efforts of the jockeys and the horses determine who wins.
In political campaigns, it's the people in the stands who determine the winners.