Analysis: Three years, two parties on Bloomington’s all-Democrat city council

Whenever there’s a 5-to-4 or 4-to-5 tally on the nine-member Bloomington city council, it’s become a pretty standard joke: Did the vote fall along party lines?

The ornaments correspond to councilmembers in a statistical plot showing similarity of voting patters to other councilmembers. The same plot is provided below with names, and without the distraction of a Christmas tree.

It’s only funny because all nine members of the city council are Democrats.

And the make-up of “the five” and “the four” has been consistent enough that it will draw a knowing chuckle from close watchers of the council.

It’s not just a gut feel. There’s statistical support for the idea that there’s a “party of five” and a “party of four” on the Bloomington city council.

In 2022, there were 16 votes that split the council on a one-vote margin—5–4 or 4–5.

In 13 of the 16 votes, the breakdown of “the five” was: Susan Sandberg; Jim Sims; Sue Sgambelluri; Ron Smith; and Dave Rollo.

Making up “the four” were: Matt Flaherty; Kate Rosenbarger; Isabel Piedmont-Smith; and Steve Volan.

When close observers of the city council refer to “the four” and “the five,” that’s the grouping they mean. Continue reading “Analysis: Three years, two parties on Bloomington’s all-Democrat city council”