by Davey D
Today’s election is shaping up to be a referendum on President Obama and his theme of Change which propelled him into the White House. Many of the races, in particular the NJ governor’s race, The NY congressional race in NY’s 23rd district & the Virginia Governor’s race may be political bell weathers.
In NY’s 23rd district, it’s the battle of the Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh tea party crowd versus more traditional, moderate republicans. As of now the Republican candidate was bounced out of the race, by the crazies. Sarah Palin came through and endorsed a more conservative candidate, Douglas Hoffman who isn’t even in the GOP. The Republican who dropped out Dede Scozzafava went and endorsed the Democratic challenger Bill Owens. If Hoffman wins, the Tea party folks will see this as sea change of sorts and become even more emboldened. In other words look for them to wratch it up.
In Virgina and NJ, record number of people came out, in particular young people and folks of color. People are predicting low voter turn out and both states and Obama’s young enthusiastic crowd is nowhere to be seen. Thats speaking volumes. In Virginia the Democratic candidate, Creigh Deeds refused to work with the Obama administration for his election. He is now getting smashed and may set the state that the Dems worked so hard to win backwards. It’s a bad look..
In NJ, the race is highly contentious between Republican challenger Chris Christie and current Governor Jon Corzine. Christie has been running a campaign that speaks to the discontent of an ineffective Obama backed Goldman Sach’s candidate. He’s tapped into the tea party crowd. Corzine who was endorsed by Obama has run a campaign that is anything but Obama like. he’s been doing all the negative ads etc… He’s not staying above the fray. One may be disappointed in the approach but it’s moved him from behind in the polls to a dead even heat. Again the big question maybe why didn’t Corzine or the Obama machine tap into those millions of young voters who came out to put him in office. How is this administration keeping all those new voters politically engaged?
Stay tuned folks cause after today 2010 will be a doozie.
Races to Watch Across the NationBy Kate Phillips
It may be an off-year, election-wise, but a few key races have certainly caught the buzz of Republicans and Democrats alike. Whether they augur for a lesser staying power of President Obama’s influence and electoral pull heading into the 2010 midterm elections, or offer Republican conservatives a map for consolidating their base against a more moderate wing of the party, all remain to be seen.
The Times’s Adam Nagourney provides an overview of the top races, counseling caution against taking stock in overly broad interpretations of results in these contests as harbingers for the midterm elections.
And several of our national correspondents offer their takes below on mayoral races in the nation’s larger cities, and on a few referenda from Maine to Washington State.
VIRGINIA: Robert McDonnell, the Republican candidate, has pulled ahead of Creigh Deeds, the Democrat, in recent weeks, in a race that’s been closely watched. President Obama carried the state last year, in an effort that demonstrated the purplish swing regions, especially in northern Virginia. But voters have been focused on much more local issues, especially transportation and roads in areas where gridlock and tolls prevail. Both made high-profile appeals for the women’s vote. Polls close at 7 p.m.
NEW JERSEY: Gov. Jon Corzine’s bid for reelection has been bumpy and his race against Chris Christie, the Republican, has been close for weeks. A third-party candidate, Christopher Daggett, had also had some influence in earlier polls. The Times’s David Halbfinger notes that this statewide race may come down again to the suburbs, as many Jersey elections usually do. In perhaps a sign of what’s at stake for the White House and national Democrats, President Obama campaigned for Mr. Corzine just last Sunday. Polls close at 8 p.m.
New York’s 23rd District: The twists and turns in this race to replace John McHugh, the Republican selected to become secretary of the Army, have conservatives salivating for a victory that they hope will keep energizing the G.O.P. base into the 2010 cycle.
Their opposition to Dede Scozzafava, the moderate Republican who dropped out over the weekend and threw her support to Democrat Bill Owens, has been clamorous, with high-profile Republicans like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others backing Douglas Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate.
On Monday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden stumped for Mr. Owens, highlighting the extraordinary pitch of this race. Jeremy Peters offers up the final glimpses in a district brimming with ideological influences.
California’s 22nd District: The special election to replace former Representative Ellen Tauscher, who became an undersecretary in the State Department, seems destined to remain Democratic. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, the Democratic candidate, is considered the frontrunner against David Harmer, the Republican.
MAINE: Voters will decide whether to repeal a law allowing same-sex marriage, passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. John Baldacci in May. With the two sides in an apparent dead heat, both have intensified get-out-the-vote efforts in recent days, bombarding voters with phone calls, e-mails and ads.
Still, state officials are predicting that only about 35 percent of voters will turn out because there are no elections, only referenda, on the ballot.
The campaign has been closely watched around the nation: gay-rights advocates, still reeling from last year’s passage of a ballot measure banning gay marriage in California, say that losing in Maine would further a perception that only judges and politicians embrace it. Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire all permit same-sex marriage, through either legislation or court decisions. But voters in about 30 states have rejected same-sex marriage in constitutional amendments placed on the their ballots.
Opponents of gay marriage have taken a page from the California playbook, warning that if same-sex marriage survives in Maine, it will be taught in public schools. Supporters, who have raised more money, have stressed that all people, including gay men and lesbians, should be treated equally under the law. Here’s the latest on the battle. –Abby Goodnough
WASHINGTON: Voters here will decide today whether to expand legal protections for couples registered as domestic partners under a state ballot measure nicknamed “everything but marriage.”
Under Washington State law, a law passed by the Legislature can be put to a state referendum if enough petition signatures are gathered. A group called Protect Marriage Washington gathered just more than the necessary 120,000 valid signatures to force the referendum.
Although the campaign has not received as much attention as the fight in Maine over gay marriage, Protect Marriage Washington has tried to generate opposition to Referendum 71 by casting it as a last stand against same-sex marriage.
The election in Washington is largely vote-by-mail, with ballots required to be postmarked by Tuesday. Results may not be clear until later in the week. — William Yardley
ATLANTA: In the mayor’s race, poll watchers are focused on the chance that the frontrunner, Mary Norwood, may win without a runoff, making her the first white mayor of Atlanta since 1974, when Maynard Jackson became the first in a long line of black mayors.
Ms. Norwood, who has served as an at-large member of city council for eight years, is squaring off against Lisa Borders, a black business executive who has served as council president, another citywide position, for seven years, and Kasim Reed, a black lawyer who served in the state Legislature for 11 years before stepping down to run for mayor. Mr. Reed has raised $1.6 million, Ms. Norwood $1.5 million and Ms. Borders $1.3 million.
But the race has heated up in the last few days as the state Democratic Party and Mr. Reed have attacked Ms. Norwood for being a Republican, putting her on the defensive. Ms. Norwood, who lives in the largely white, conservative community of Buckhead and has voted more often in Republican than Democratic primaries, has risked alienating her base with a new ad in which she ticks off a list of Democratic presidential candidates that she voted for. “I believe in President Obama’s call for change and accountability,” she says in the ad. Georgians do not register by party.
The ad may dampen voter enthusiasm for Ms. Norwood, who had successfully tapped into anger at the current administration over crime, poor financial accounting and a recent tax increase, leading some analysts to predict that she would have the edge in a race expected to have very low turnout.
“The voter intensity on the white side was pre=”was “>much stronger” than among blacks before the new ad came out, said Matt Towery, who has been polling the race. “It doesn’t mean that she’s not going to still capture the lion’s share of the white vote,” he said, “but 1,500 to 2,000 diehard Republicans who get offended and don’t show up it could put you in a runoff.”
Ms. Borders, the favored candidate of the downtown business establishment because she was seen as a “bridge” candidate who could pull white voters away from Ms. Norwood, has gotten significant support from Republicans herself. She was once in second place but has lost considerable ground in the last two weeks to Mr. Reed, who has been tailoring his message to black voters, announcing endorsements such as that of Mr. Jackson’s daughter, Brooke Jackson-Edmond. Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, and Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, have campaigned for Mr. Reed.
For her part, Ms. Borders has focused on female voters – her advisers say the largest group of undecided voters are black women – by running her ads on cable channels like Hallmark and Lifetime. — Shaila Dewan
BOSTON: Mayor Thomas Menino is seeking an unprecedented fifth term for office, in a wild race with a popular candidate, Michael H. Flaherty, a councilor at large. The Boston Globe indicates today that voter turnout and the outcome may largely depend on who has the biggest boots on the ground.
HOUSTON: Voters go to the polls to decide a mayor’s race between a former gay activist, a prominent black lawyer and a wealthy city councilman who has pumped more than $2.4 million of his family fortune into the race.
A fourth candidate, a Hispanic Republican with a conservative message, is trailing so badly in the polls, he is considered a longshot, at best. Most voters have found the race incredibly tedious, since the current mayor, Bill White, is popular and there is little anger at City Hall. Plus, the three major Democratic candidates are so close to one another on the issues they have almost nothing to argue about.
Mayor White cannot stand for re-election because of term limits; he is running for the United States Senate.
Despite its ho-hum rhetoric, the contest might give the nation’s fourth-largest city the chance to make history. Houston would become the largest city in the country to elect an openly gay candidate to the mayor’s office if it gives the nod to the City Controller, Annise Parker. Ms. Parker has been elected citywide twice before and tends to play down her sexual orientation on the campaign trail, focusing instead on bread and butter issues. She is running second in most polls with about 20 percent of the vote.
The front runner has been Peter Brown, a city councilman and an architect who wants to establish a master plan in a city adverse to planning. Mr. Brown says he is the independent candidate in the race since he has financed his campaign largely with his own fortune and the money of his wife, a heiress to the Schlumberger oil services fortune. The only black candidate in the race is Gene Locke, a former student radical-turned-establishment lawyer who has the support of business leaders and many black politicians.
In the last week, the candidates have been lobbing some negative attacks at one another in a desperate attempt to break the deadlock. Mr. Locke, for instance, has accused Mr. Brown of trying to buy the election.
Most pundits and political strategists believe the race is headed for a run-off in December, as most Houston mayoral contests do. The calculus of who eventually wins depends heavily on which two candidates face off in the final round. One wild card in the calculations is where will Republicans, who are about a third of the vote, go if their candidate is knocked out, as is likely. And if Mr. Locke is knocked out of the race, then the black vote will be up for grabs, some strategists say. — James McKinley
DETROIT: Dave Bing, a former basketball star, is widely favored to be re-elected as mayor of Detroit on Tuesday night. It’s the fourth mayoral election in this city, which has been stricken financially, since February – a result of the departure last year of Kwame M. Kilpatrick, the former mayor who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a scandal over his romantic relationship with his chief of staff.
In a poll last month, Mr. Bing, a longtime businessman in the Detroit area, led Tom Barrow, his opponent in the nonpartisan election, by more than 20 percentage points. Mr. Bing had beaten Mr. Barrow 74 percent to 11 percent in an August primary election, but Mr. Bing had tangled with city unions in the months since then and had offered a painful – realistic, he would say – assessment of all that needs to be cut to make the city’s government financially stable again.
Far more change is anticipated Tuesday night on Detroit’s city council, an entity often criticized for its bickering, battling with mayors and other woes. Earlier this year, Monica Conyers, a city council member (and the wife of John Conyers, the United States Representative), pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bribery and awaits sentencing. Another city council member, Martha Reeves, the former Motown singer, lost her chance to return to the council during the August primary, when she was vastly outpaced by a wide array of challengers.
Five incumbents and 13 challengers – including former police officers and a former local television newscaster – are seeking the nine council seats, all of which are open this election. Some observers, including Mr. Bing, have predicted significant change to the council.
Among other issues facing Detroiters on Tuesday’s ballot: Whether to support a $500 million bond for construction and renovations in the Detroit Public Schools, an institution whose troubles led Michigan’s governor to send in an emergency financial manager. — Monica Davey
MIAMI: This mayoral election is occurring after a relatively drab campaign between two city commissioners who stand on opposite sides of one important issue: whether current Mayor Manny Diaz did a good job.
Tomás Regalado, known to many here as the “just say no” commissioner, has regularly attacked the Diaz administration for over-building at the behest of developers. At 62, with a slight stoop, he has pitched his campaign to voters as a “back to basics” effort that will let Miami “take a breather” after the go-go years of construction.
Commission Chairman Joe Sanchez has also tried to mine frustration with Mr. Diaz, who is leaving because of term limits. Mr. Sanchez recently voted against a new, more pedestrian-friendly zoning plan that that the mayor views as his legacy. Yet after years of supporting Mr. Diaz’s ambitious plans – for a port tunnel and a new baseball stadium downtown – Mr. Sanchez, 44, is still largely seen as pro-business, and in favor of big plans.
Is this city up for that, when downtown remains marked by conflicting signs of the Diaz reign – a new restaurant here, a condo tower in bankruptcy there? This is one of the questions that Tuesday’s nonpartisan election may begin to answer. — Damien Cave
NEW YORK: Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sail into his third-term, with his challenger, William Thompson, unable to gain enough traction in recent weeks. But as Michael Barbaro reports in this morning’s paper, the mayor’s outsized spending on the race — expected to reach $100 million — has turned off some voters. In addition, the contest has exposed deep class and borough divisions between supporters of either candidate.
PITTSBURGH: Ian Urbina wrote this weekend that Luke Ravenstahl, the young mayor of the municipality formerly known as the “Steel City” is favored for reelection.
SEATTLE: >Mayor Greg Nickels, a two-term Democrat, came in third in an August primary in which only the top two finishers moved on to the general election.
Mr. Nickels was defeated by two relative unknowns, Mike McGinn, a lawyer and former head of the local Sierra Club chapter, and Joe Mallahan, a vice president with T-Mobile. Mr. McGinn, who initially built his campaign around opposition to a multibillion plan to build a highway tunnel beneath the Seattle waterfront, but has since said he would not stop the project, fared best among the city’s most liberal voters during the primary. Mr. Mallahan, who has said from the beginning that the tunnel project should go forward, did better with more moderate and affluent voters; he has won endorsements from many business leaders and top elected officials. — William Yardley
Other Notable Issues
OHIO: For the fifth time, Buckeye State voters get a chance to determine whether they should allow casino gambling, with a referendum labeled Issue 3 on the ballot. If approved, the measure would permit casinos in four cities; Cincinnati, Toledo, Columbus and Cleveland.
This time around, the vote is being viewed through the prism of the recession, with proponents arguing that it could create hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue in a state where the unemployment rate hovers near 10 percent or more in some pockets. Proponents alone had spent more than $30 million through mid-October to campaign for the measure’s passage.
PHILADELPHIA: Talk about going deeply local. Karl Rove, the former top Bush adviser, sent out an appeal on Monday to voters seeking support for Joan Orie Melvin, the Republican candidate for a state Supreme Court seat in Philadelphia. She and Democrat Jack Panella have been vying for a vacancy that has pitted big money and major interests like the trial lawyers against major G.O.P. players like Mr. Rove. Both candidates are already judges, both received the highest ratings.
ELDERPOLITICS: We found one of the most amusing pieces in this off-year — and perhaps telling in terms of an aging electorate — emanating out of Pennsylvania. The Wall Street Journal took a deeper look at smalltown races in the Keystone State, which has a very high number of little governments and has a whole lot of elderly politicians seeking reelection to oh, like their 15th terms.