The first Tuesday in November in odd numbered years isn't quite as big as even numbered ones or those divisible by four. Last year we had this
This year we have these races (along with the Maine Gay Marriage Referendum (thread)
New Jersey always does this. A not-that-well-likely incumbent Democrat looks like they are in trouble and the GOP licks their lips. Then as it gets closer to election time the leading Republican falls back and the Dem usually ends up winning out. Polls
suggest that might be the case again this year with the added twist of an environmentalist spoiler. No Republican has won statewide office since 1997 and the last GOP Presidential candidate to do so was GHW Bushin 1988. All three candidates are pro gun control and moderate on immigration.
Gov Jon Corzine D
- former Senator. He's had mixed reviews as Governor, but he's a Democrat. He holds most of the positions a standard Dem has - he's considered pro-education, pro-union, pro-progressive taxation, socially liberal with pro-choice and has incrementally moved from pro-civil unions to pro-gay marriage. Christie has attempted to link Corzine to the perennial corruption in New Jersey but has not found strong links as of yet.
Chris Christie - R
- former US Attourney - A fairly standard to moderate Republican. Pro-life but not aggressively so. He wants tax credits and vouchers for private schools, would lower taxes (but not immediately) and supports the current civil unions but would veto a gay marriage bill. He's been hounded by unforced errors (if not outright corruption) in campaign financing and by claims he used his US Attourney's office for partisan purposes, such as when he publicly subpoenaed now-Senator Menendez's on the eve of the 2006 elections on a specious grounds. He is also fat and that has gotten coverage.
Chris Daggett - Independent/spoiler
- former regional head of the EPA. Daggett is polling at 10-20% which could decide the race. He seems to mostly be running on environmental issues with the endorsement of the Sierra Club. He's socially liberal, pro-gay marriage, pro-choice etc, but seems to be taking votes from Christie more than Corzine, suggesting Christie's support may be more negative (anti-Corzine/established Democratic party) than positive.
This was supposed to be a big one but now looks like it'll be a walk.
Robert McDonnell (R) has a lead of approximately 10-15% over Creighton Deeds. Deeds lost statewide to McDonnell in 2005 as well when Tim Kaine was elected but managed to beat out Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran in the primary.
Robert McDonnell R
Attourney General of VA until he resigned to run. McDonnell holds most conservative Republican positions, and once wrote his JD thesis
(pdf) on conservative policies saying government policy should favor married couples over 'cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators'," "man’s basic nature is inclined towards evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter", supporting "covenant marriage" and attacking the Griswold case family. McDonnell says he has backed off many of these positions but hasn't articulated systematically which ones.
Creigh Deeds D
- a state Senator. Deeds has been uninspiring but did manage a surprise primary victory over the more liberal Moran and the most established McAuliffe. He's pro-choice, will admit to wanting to add a new gas tax and wants to expand the death penalty, even to juveniles. Anti-gay marriage but voted against a state constitution change to that effect. Deeds is now far behind in the polls
NY-23 (special election)
Moderate Republican Representative John M. McHugh
resigned to become Secretary of the Army in the Obama Administration. Although nominated in June, he did not resign until September, representing his district in the interim and allowing the special election to coincide with the general election.
The district is very rural for the Northeast, and occupies the most northern portion of New York state, sharing a border with Canada and Vermont. A Republican has held this seat since 1871
. However, while McHugh coasted to victory (never receiving below 63% since first running unopposed in 2002 and his predecessor receiving even greater support for 10+ years before that) the district only have a Cook PVI of R+1. This can be traced to close Presidential voting patterns: Barack Obama won the district 52-47, and Bush won twice 51-47 and 49-47.
The outlook this year is muddled because the candidates are odd. For one there are three major candidates:
Dierdre Scozzafava, State Assemblywoman
-R formerly Working Families nominee Independence Party
- A former local and county official, she is now in the NY State lower house. She is far to the left of the national Republican party, especially on social issues. She supports gay marriage, is pro-card check and pro-choice but anti-public option and most of the new health care bill. She has been endorsed by the NRA, the NYS Teachers Union, Log Cabin Republicans and Newt Gingrich. The state Democratic party claims she has spoken to local party members about switching parties to D.
Bill Owens, attorney D Working Families
- A fomer Air Force Captain and current lawyer and professor. He's pro civil unions, pro card check, pro choice and pro but a little tepid on the public option. However, he wasn't even a Democrat until he registered for this run and some believe he'll just be a Blue Dog (such as Kos
The third candidate is where this gets interesting
Doug Hoffman, accountant from Lake Placid
(which is not in the district) Conservative
Doug Hoffman is the winger in this race, a Club For Growth candidate. While the Republican candidate has been endorsed by most Republicans, the more extreme ones have endorsed Hoffman, including Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jim DeMint, Rick Perry and George Pataki (among others
). Hoffman wants flat taxes, is anti-gay marriage, pro-life and holds pretty much the positions you were expect from a right winger. Hoffman would caucus R.
have this one close and the dynamic of a three way race makes it somewhat difficult to project. Hoffman has surged clearly taking votes from Scozzafava, but to what extent is unclear. Two shitty/small sample size Republican polls held by groups that endorsed Hoffman (GFG and "Minuteman PAC") have him up. The most recent Kos/R2K poll had Owens up 1 on Hoffman (33-32-21). Independent polls from earlier in the month had Owens up ~5% on Scozzafava.
There are several other races including NYC-Mayor, Boston Mayor and a few not close Congressional special elections, along with the Maine referendum on gay marriage, which has its own thread. Any other races interesting people? What do the locals think about these races? Can they be really seen as referendums on Obama? Discuss and such