NY-20 Closer than Minnesota
If you enjoyed the 5-month recount in the Minnesota Senate race,
you are in luck. The House race in NY-20 to replace Kirsten Gillibrand
is even closer. With all the in-person votes counted, Democrat
Scott Murphy leads
by 59 votes. However, there were slightly over 10,000 absentee ballots
of which 5900 have been returned already.
The remainder, including 1882 military and overseas ballots, have until
April 13 to arrive, so the counting won't even be completed until then.
The court challenges have already begun, however.
One advantage NY-20 has over the mess in Minnesota is that there are
only about 5% as many ballots to haggle over.
Both parties put a lot of effort and money in the campaign, far more
than for a normal special election in a somewhat obscure district.
While full-blown spinning has
not yet begun, the Democrats probably have the edge in the spin wars.
After all, an unknown Democrat who has never run for public office before
held the leader of the Republican Party in the state Assembly to a tie
in a Republican district (PVI R+3). If minority leader Jim Tedisco (R)
had won a big victory, the GOP would have said this represented a rejection
of President Obama's policies, but even if Tedisco manages to win by 100
or so votes (possibly after a long court battle), it is hard to read
any national implications into this race.
Similarly, a tiny Murphy win doesn't say that people strongly support
Obama. Either way, what was a national race has suddenly been demoted to
a local race.
Minnesota Judges Order Only 400 New Absentee Ballots to be Inspected
In a somewhat surprising ruling, the three-juge panel overseeing the
election contest in Minnesota
yesterday that only 400 new absentee ballots were incorrectly
disqualified and must be brought to them for inspection on April 6.
The judges will then determine if they were cast legally, and if so,
will open and count them.
Some of these were ballots
pointed out by former senator Norm Coleman (R) but others were ballots
selected by Democrat Al Franken. With Franken leading by 225 votes
currently, it is now inconceivable that Coleman wins the election
However, winning the election contest (the trial) is not the final
word. Coleman has said he will appeal if he loses, which is now
virtually certain. Furthermore, NRSC chairman John Cornyn has
that the appeals process could take years. (English translation: we really
don't want 59 Democrats in the Senate since that would mean
all the Democrats would need for cloture is to flip Olympia Snowe and she
is from a small blue state, extremely wealthy, and not up for reelection until
2012, so we have no leverage over her at all.
Specter is in a tough primary fight so he's a safe vote for the moment;
Collins isn't rich, is somewhat conservative, and doesn't like Snowe much,
but is also not entirely reliable for us.)
Governor's Races in the Middle Atlantic States
Continuing the rundown of gubernatorial races in 2009 and 2010, let us now
look at the Middle Atlantic states (including Maryland, which is sometimes
included in this region and sometimes not, although politically it certainly
belongs here and not in the South).
Of these states, New Jersey has a gubernatorial election in 2009 and New York,
Pennsylvania, and Maryland have them in 2010. Here are capsule summaries of
Politics is a blood sport in New York. This time will be no exception.
Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) succeeded to the governor's mansion when
Eliot Spitzer resigned after being ensnared in a prostitution sting.
Paterson, the state's first black governor as well as the nation's first
blind governor, has done a singularly poor job so far, in no small part
due to the clumsy way he handled appointing Hillary Clinton's successor.
If Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D), son of former governor Mario
Cuomo (D), challenges Paterson in a primary, the polls show Cuomo winning
in a landslide. If Cuomo is the nominee, no serious Republican
will enter the race and Cuomo will be elected governor.
If, however, Paterson somehow wins the primary, or Cuomo decides
not to run, then it is possible that former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani
might enter the race and at least make it interesting. Giuliani probably
won't risk facing the popular Cuomo since even he can get just so much
mileage from saying "9/11" once a minute for 10 months.
New Jersey is one of the two states with a gubernatorial contest in 2009.
Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) is up for reelection and despite a major traffic
accident that almost killed him physically and approval ratings that almost killed
him politically, he's running--and he has a chance of winning, to boot.
Why? No Republican has won any statewide contest in New Jersey in more than
a decade. However, 2009 might be the GOP's lucky year. Former U.S. Attorney
Chris Christie (R) has an image as a corruption fighter, something that
might work this year. However, despite the backing of the Republican
establishment, he may face primary challenges from either Franklin mayor
Brian Levine or former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan, or both.
Open seat. With two-term governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), retiring in 2010,
the governor's mansion in a key swing state will be up for grabs.
The race is wide open on both sides with numerous representatives,
state legislators, and county officials interested. There are just too
many potential candidates at this point to say much about the race--except
one thing: the Democrats now have a huge registration margin in the
state, which means if they come up with a candidate having statewide appeal,
the Republicans will have a steep hill to climb.
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD) will be running for a second term in this very
blue state. Early in his term he raised taxes, which lowered his approval
ratings somewhat. If former one-term governor Bob Erlich (R) wants to get his
old job back, he might have a small chance. Without him, the situation for
the GOP is hopeless.
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