Walker offers roughly the same assessment of Dianne Wilkerson that her handful of supporters on this site have been putting forth:
“I’ve known Wilkerson since 1989, before she ever ran for office. I wrote the first stories about her tax problems in the 1990s and have covered many of her campaigns. All the adjectives routinely applied to her are accurate: smart, tenacious, charming, difficult, disorganized, maddening. She is easily one of the most effective members of the state Senate.”
He addresses the role of gentrification, opening with a portrait of Wilkerson’s loyal base and taking the issue on directly as follows:
“There is a dynamic in this race that is discussed almost entirely in code, one that people are too polite to discuss directly. Let’s dispense with the political correctness, shall we? Black voters in the district are supportive and protective of Wilkerson. White voters – and their number has grown – have had enough. Who votes, and where the vote comes from, will probably decide this thing.”
Walker confronts Wilkerson’s legal missteps and acknowledges that the election is to a degree a referendum on them: “But, for reasons of Wilkerson’s own making, that isn’t all this election is about. Sometimes voters just sense that they can do better and roll the dice.”
The takeaway: the only certainty to a Wilkerson defeat would be losing a highly effective legislator for the entire district, and the only voice in the Senate that speaks directly for the black community. Whether a rookie legislator could bring enough to the table to make up for those losses is highly uncertain.