Election Day Nears With 4 Key Races
In less than four days, the electorate in New Jersey and Virginia will choose new governors. In California and New York, voters will elect new members in the House of Representatives to replace incumbents, a Republican and a Democrat.
Michael Barone points out in his Examiner editorial that all four of these constituencies voted for Barack Obama nearly one year ago. Therefore, many think that this is the first real test of the strength and durability of the Democratic majority that assumed power in 2008.
The character of the individual candidates and local issues can make a difference. But the basic issues in these four contests are reasonably congruent with the national issues now being debated in Congress and debated this summer in town halls across the nation, Barone stated.
Going down the list, Virginia is a safe victory for Republican Bob McDonnell. Obama and his entourage appear to have distanced themselves from Creigh Deeds as if to disclaim any association in Deeds’ defeat.
New Jersey continues to be a toss up with polls showing Republican Chris Christie slightly ahead of the incumbent governor, Jon Corzine. So close that the weather could be the deciding factor, however, the fly in the ointment is the presence on the ballot of Independent, Chris Daggett. Daggett will probably pull anti-Corzine votes from Christie. However, as Barone notes, if Corzine wins because he is perceived to be the lesser of three evils, it will hardly be an endorsement of Democratic policies.
In the House races, the campaigns for the 23rd District of New York are almost crazy. To make a long story short, the Conservative party dislikes the assemblywomen nominated by the Republicans and are running their own candidate who is leading iin two polls. He has also picked up endorsements from both Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty.
This race is indicative of a trend amongst conservative Republicans and Independents: As William Galston points out in the New Republic, during Obama’s presidency voters have been growing more conservative but remain disdainful of Republicans.
Gaston’s comment bears repeating: “during Obama’s presidency voters have been growing more conservative but remain disdainful of Republicans.”
Is the elephant listening?
According to Barone, the 10th District of California results will come in last, and just about everyone will be astonished if the Democrat, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, doesn’t win in this San Francisco Bay area district.
Barone summarizes as follows:
“Both parties will try to spin the results seven days from now. But one thing seems clear. None of the Democrats seems likely to equal Barack Obama’s 2008 percentages in these states or districts. None may even come close. But Republicans may find it difficult to convert the increasing unease with Democratic policies into Republican (or Conservative) victories across the board.”