Happy Election Day! May the elections going on across the country today not be marred by voting machine malfunctions, hanging chads, vote fraud or any other shenanigans. May whoever wins today win fair and square.
The five “big” elections in this off year are for the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia, the special House election in NY District 23, the Mayor of New York City and Prop 1, to overturn the Maine government’s approval of gay marriage. With Michael Bloomberg expected to be re-elected easily in NYC and Bob McDonnell leading all the polls by double digits for the last week-plus, the eyes of the nation will be on The Garden State and Northwest New York state.
Anything could happen in those two races. Both will come down to who gets their base to the polls in larger numbers. Since turnout in off-year elections is usually low, the usual theory about needing to play for the independents and undecideds doesn’t necessarily apply. As a Republican (and a fairly conservative one at that) in deep blue New Jersey, turnout will be extremely important for Chris Christie if he hopes to oust incumbent Jon Corzine.
Whatever happens tonight, pundits are going to spin it as a referendum on President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. And they’ll be wrong. These are all local elections on local issues. If Christie somehow wins tonight, it will be because enough NJ voters were disenchanted with the state of affairs under Corzine and considered Christie to be better, not because they want to send a message to Obama. The result in the NY-23 special election could be a statement of whether or not moderates are welcome in the Republican Party, but it also won’t be a referendum on Obama.
Polls close at 7 p.m. ET in Virginia, 8 p.m. in NJ and ME and 9 p.m. in New York. And there are municipal elections across the country as well. So make sure you vote.
It’s part of every election – endorsements, both from individuals and from the newspapers. Given the decline of newspapers everywhere, the latter doesn’t hold the clout that it used to. But they’re interesting to see in New Jersey’s Gubernatorial Election, given the state’s very liberal political leanings and the unpopularity of the liberal incumbent.
Republican challenger Chris Christie, the former GWB-appointed U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, has been endorsed by three of Gannett’s New Jersey papers – the Courier-Post (Camden), the Courier News (Bridgewater) and the Home News Tribune (East Brunswick). Presumably, he’ll also be endorsed by Gannett’s other New Jersey papers (the Asbury Park Press and the Daily Record of Morristown) and, given its conservative editorial slant, the Trentonian.
Most surprisingly, the Star Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, has endorsed independent Chris Daggett.
Christie’s endorsements come from more community-oriented papers, Corzine’s from the big city ones that don’t cover New Jersey as thoroughly (especially these days).
Christie jumped out to a huge lead in this race by hammering Corzine on his record. But Corzine, with a rather large personal fortune to tap into, spent the summer running ads that defined Christie as another Bush type, a very toxic label in this state that has a strong aversion to anything Republican. The ads about Christie favoring the dropping of health insurance mandates, in particular for mammograms, were especially effective. Throw in the issue with the loan to his former assistant U.S. Attorney, the wrong way street traffic accident and the not-so-subtle shots at Christie’s…um…size, and he plummeted in the polls, with many of his votes not going to Corzine, but to Daggett. And Christie, without Corzine’s money or the ability to call in heavy hitters from the national party (I don’t think having Sarah Palin or Jim DeMint stump for you is a way to win over New Jersey), has had trouble fighting this shift in narrative.
There will be plenty of drama two weeks from tonight.