A few quick thoughts on recent developments.
Hau Lung-pin has apparently decided on running Taichung 7 (Taiping and Dali). In thinking that it could be a good district for him, he is probably looking at a few things. First, there is a small concentration of former military voters in Taiping. There used to be about (very roughly) 10,000 votes in military villages. These old-style villages don’t really exist any longer. Many of the old guys have passed away, and the housing has mostly been torn down and rebuilt into high rises. In the transition, lots of outsiders have moved in, and lots of former residents have moved out. Still, many of the old second and third voters still live in the area. Second (and related to the first), this was the old political base for former New Party, PFP, and KMT legislator Feng Ting-kuo 馮定國. Hau probably expects he can build on Feng’s old networks. Third, Ma won this district in 2012, 51-46%. Actually, that’s the problem. Ma won every district in Taichung in 2012, but Taichung seems to be changing fairly fast. Basing expectations on what happened four years ago, much less ten or twenty years ago, is likely to lead Hau to an unhappy ending.
Former KMT legislator Chang Shuo-wen 張碩文 has announced that he will run for the PFP in New Taipei 3 (Sanchong). Chang was elected in Yunlin 2 in 2008, but his seat was stripped in a vote-buying case. The DPP won the by-election and seems to have Yunlin 2 sewn up for the foreseeable future. New Taipei 3 is a bit more competitive than Yunlin 2, but that isn’t saying much. I didn’t expect the KMT to mount a serious challenge, and if the PFP is splitting the vote it will be nearly impossible to defeat the DPP incumbent. Why would Chang think that New Taipei 3 is promising? Sanchong has a sizeable population of migrants from Yunlin, and they have a very active hometown association. This is not the first time a Yunlin politician has decided to jump start a career by running in Sanchong. Most famously, Lee Ying-yuan won a few terms as legislator in Sanchong, but his ultimate goal always seemed to be Yunlin County magistrate. Personally, I think politicians consistently overestimate how powerful these hometown associations are in mobilizing votes. At any rate, the most interesting thing about this story is a little throwaway line in a Storm article (that I don’t have time to look up now, sorry). Apparently Chang thought about going back to Yunlin, but former county magistrate Chang Jung-wei 張榮味 is very close to Soong. Chang Jung-wei ad some other plans, so Soong discouraged Chang Shuo-wen from running in Yunlin. That vague statement makes more sense after the Yunlin 1 incumbent Chang Chia-chun 張嘉郡 (Chang Jung-wei’s daughter) threatened to withdraw from the KMT if Hung Hsiu-chu is nominated. I’m very interested to see how this develops.