Ben Dessart may have entered VPAP’s Pundit Contest for the first time, but he’s no political novice.
To compile his winning entry, Ben, 28, drew upon his own campaign experience. He is a former legislative assistant to Del. Peter Farrell (R-Henrico) and himself a one-time candidate for local office.
“I said, you know what? Let’s give it a shot,” he said.
As it turns out, none of the 825 people who entered the contest predicted the outcome of all 17 races selected from Tuesday’s primary elections.
Ben was one of five who got 15 winners correct – triggering this tie-breaker question: With simultaneous Republican and Democratic primaries in Senate District 7, which party would turn out the most voters?
Four of the five finalists picked the Democrats. Ben went with his own party.
“Republicans this year are fired up,” he said.
Ben was strong in predicting outcomes of local races, correctly guessing four of five.
“I might have a greater interest in local elections than most,” said Ben, who ran for the GOP nomination for a seat on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors in 2017.
He got both Fairfax County Board of Supervisors contests right, aided by campaign finance data on vpap.org.
“Looking at reports can tell you a lot,” said Ben. “I know donors up there, too. If you see them on the list, you can make a guess.”
He took into account more than the total amount raised by each candidate; he looked for those who had a large number of contributors, which he took as a sign of grassroots support.
“If you’re involved enough to give even $10, you’re going to remember to go out and vote,” he said.
Ben’s campaign instincts led this first-timer to the 2019 VPAP Primary Pundit Crown.
Plus, Ben’s aligned with past winners in a major way: “I’ve always loved VPAP.”
June 14, 2019
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