Voting is now open in the CSM7 elections. If you're interested in who I endorse to win and hope will win the top seven seats, then please see my two posts on the matter, one dealing with potential new faces to CSM7 and the other dealing with CSM6 incumbents. I myself placed my votes the day before yesterday for Two Step, Trebor Daehdoow, and Leboe, so my voting is done.
So let's talk about who I think will win and why, starting with...
The Top Seven
The Mittani. Easy pick. He has no real competition for the Goon vote, which could be 5000 or more votes, and will be a strong contender among GSF's large surrounding pet contingent living in Pure Blind and Cloud Ring. To that he'll add a healthy selection of non-Goon votes based on his performance in CSM6 and on name recognition. Mittens will be the chair of CSM7. I don't think he'll hit his stated goal of getting 10,000 votes (there just doesn't seem to be the same level of enthusiasm for the process this year), but I think he'll hit 7500 votes pretty comfortably. I caught hell from my friends for endorsing him, but I'm a realist. Mittens has done a good job as Chair, is a great representative for EVE players at large, and he deserves the post. He'll get it.
Dovinian. I don't know much about him. I don't have to know much about him. He's the TEST candidate, running virtually unopposed for their votes, and he'll get elected pretty comfortably. We'll learn how good a CSM member he is after he's in.
Greene Lee. Another bloc candidate. Last year, the southern bloc wasn't really represented well on CSM6, unless you count Seleene as their representative (and I really don't, though I know many do). This year, I think they're going to make a sustained effort to get their guy in the top seven. The southern bloc is peaking at just the right time (C-J, et. al.) and if Greene can take advantage of that resurgence of spirit, he'll have no problems getting in. He'll also draw a good percentage of the Russian vote that is pissed at...
UAxDEATH. Death should have no problems being reelected. His bloc is also resurgent and he's proven himself a good representative for that part of the player base. He'll fight off a laughable palace coup attempt from Xenuria with ease.
Hans Jagerblitzen. Hans has run a simply masterful campaign, equal to the strong effort that Seleene put in last year. He's got a block of the player base pushing for him that's unrepresented and highly motivated to start from, and he seems to be everywhere this cycle. Hell, I spotted him campaigning in the low-sec incursion channel a couple of days ago. I really look forward to seeing what he can do on CSM7.
Two Step. I've covered why I'm impressed with him in detail when I endorsed him. He's proven himself a fine member of CSM6, proved he's willing and able to do the work, and he's run a great, highly visible campaign. He'll make the top seven this year, and he deserves one of these slots.
Seleene. He won't rack up all of the votes he did last year, and I can't see him coming in anywhere near last year's second-place finish, but he did great work on CSM6, he's worked hard to gather support this year, and I think he'll be elected to a top seven slot.
I didn't do as well with these predictions last year, but hey, I'll give it a shot. This group starts with...
Trebor Daehdoow. And damn if that won't be a little heart-breaking if it goes down this way. I want Trebor to make the top seven... but I don't think he's going to. I think he's going to fall just short. There's just too much competition this year, the bloc candidates have larger blocs to call from, and his get-out-the-vote efforts just don't seem to be getting the traction that they did last year. I hope I'm wrong. I want to be wrong. In my opinion, Trebor was CSM6's hardest-working member. I'll take it a step further than that: I don't think Mittens would have been nearly as successful without Trebor underpinning him. But I think Trebor's going to be listening to the Summits on speaker-phone this year.
Meissa Anunthiel. Matter of fact, I think it's possible that Meissa will out-do Trebor for votes this time around. Where Meissa gets all his votes, I have no idea, but he's shown that getting his voters into the booths is his strong point when election season rolls around. I don't think he'll be all that disappointed to be an alt this time, either. It might even be what he wants. He seems to be running a quieter campaign to match his CSM4 effort as opposed to his very active CSM6 effort.
Elise Randolph. He's going to continue to be a bridesmaid rather than a bride. Matter of fact, I think that might just be perpetual. Elise has a lot of fans, but a lot of those fans are bitter-vets that CBA to actually vote for him (assuming they still have EVE accounts to vote with).
Prometheus Exenthal. Ditto.
Riverini. I think the editor of EN24 got off to a strong start, but he hurt himself in a number of ways. I'll talk about it in my post-election wrap-up post when I write it. Still, he's got enough name recognition and enough fans of his hard work that I think he'll eke out an alternate slot. The interesting bit will be watching if Mittens tries to marginalize or exclude him. I don't think that'll happen. Mittens and Trebor got along on CSM6. Mittens and riv will get along on CSM7, particularly since I believe Mittens won't have to share a conference room with him.
Kelduum Revaan. If I'm wrong about anyone, I suspect I'll be wrong about Kelduum. He's hard to figure. He'll definitely pull in a strong share of E-UNI votes. He just doesn't seem to be making many in-roads into the Empire vote that's his for the taking. But it's hard to figure what Empire voters will do until they do it. Wish we were getting daily stats for voting they way we got them last year. If voter turn-out was extra high, I'd put Kelduum higher. I might even be completely wrong and he might make a top seven slot. But I don't think he ran all that good a campaign, and I think he'll only just scrape in as an alt.
Alekseyev Karrde. He didn't have any business being a first-tier or even a second-tier candidate this time around. His platform, when you get down to it, is really rather narrow. Still, he ran a really solid campaign and I think he's picking up the Empire voters that Kelduum just isn't. I'm probably wrong, but I think he'll squeak in.
Lyris Nairn. Will the Goons try to push through two candidates this year? I think the answer is no.
Mintrolio. Will the :lolcsm: voters sneak in another candidate after Mazz? I think the answer is no to this one, too. Matter of fact, I think the :lolcsm: "voting block" is done as a major influencer of CSM elections. But if I'm wrong, they'll actually vote for...
Xenuria. Will a raging loon make it onto CSM7? I have to admit that it'd be entertaining as hell. But no, I can't see this campaign working.
Voloses. Will a combined platform of NC former glories and pandering to Empire-dwellers work? Again, I think the answer is no.
And that's that. We'll see how my predictions come out in a couple of weeks. CSM7 election results will be announced during the keynote speech at Fanfest, 24 March.
EDIT (8/Mar/2012): I completely missed the location for the daily stats. Last year IIRC, they were posted in the "Voting is open" thread. This year, they have their own thread. So far, 10k more votes per day than last year. We saw a similar effect last year and it represented one motivated bloc rather than an overall more-motivated voting base. We'll see if it means the same this year. Thanks to Mynxee and Two Step for pointing me at the stats!