Can O Se-hun Avoid an Upset This Time?

The conservative Seoul mayor candidate has an unfortunate streak of being on the wrong side of an upset.

Can O Se-hun Avoid an Upset This Time?

Image: Tweet by Jeong Se-gyun, predicting he would close the 17.3% gap with O Se-hun in the 2016 Assembly election.  Credit: Twitter feed of Jeong Se-gyun.

O Se-hun is an upset maker, and not in a good way. In a RealMeter poll from March 25, People Power Party 국민의힘’s Seoul mayor candidate O Se-hun 오세훈 led the Democratic Party 민주당’s Park Yeong-seon 박영선 by a significant margin, 55% to 36.5%. The recent elections for O, however, are full of situations in which the former Seoul mayor was up by a mile in the polls, then won by inches or lost outright after the actual ballots were cast.

Two weeks prior to the 2010 Seoul mayor election, O was leading the former prime minister Han Myeong-suk 한명숙 by as much as 22.8% - but O barely hung on in the actual election, prevailing by the razor-thin margin of 0.6%. With less than three weeks to go in the 2016 Assembly election, O was leading Jeong Se-gyun 정세균 (who is now the prime minister) in the Seoul Jongro 종로 district by 17.3%. Jeong declared confidently in a tweet: “The gap of 17.3% - please remember this number. I will prove that the gap is not real.” Jeong was true to his word, winning the election in a walk, 52.6% to 39.7%. With about a month to go in the 2020 Assembly election, O was leading the former Blue House spokeswoman Go Min-jeong 고민정 전 청와대 대변인 by 9.6%, but lost the actual election by 2.5%.

Perhaps chastened by these memories, O Se-hun on the campaign trail was telling his supporters: “Don’t believe the polls. The news says I will win but they’re lying.”

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