Election Day is scheduled in early November because in the Good Old Days when everyone was farming the onset of winter was the first time anyone actually had time to vote. It also comes right after Halloween, and I went trick-or-treating with my six year old Saturday night dressed as a Republican so I could scare the kids in my neighborhood.
The last two election cycles have been brutal for the GOP, but it looks like the 2009 off-year races might bring the Party of Lincoln (and Hoover) some good news for the first time since 2004.
In Virginia Bob McDonnell has a steady and sizeable lead and should be the Commonwealth’s first GOP Governor since 2001. McDonnell is cut from conservative cloth, is remarkably well-organized, and has taken advantage of President Obama’s relative unpopularity in the Old Dominion. The other two state-wide elections for Lt. Governor and Attorney General also look to be in the GOP column.
In New Jersey Republican Chris Christie has a small lead over Democratic Governor Jon Corzine. Corzine’s job approval is so low (below 40 in most polls) it is hard to believe he can be re-elected. The race is complicated by Independent Chris Daggett, a Green Republican who appears to be draining votes from Christie.
The special Congressional election in New York 23, a gigantic and freezing up-state district, is especially interesting. A three way race to fill the seat of new Army Secretary John McHugh just turned into a two way race, as liberal GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race this weekend when her support collapsed under pressure from the national conservative movement, which had rallied behind Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman. The race takes on national significance as a possible harbinger of conservative activist renewal, in tandem with the tea-party and Town Hall activists.
Even if Republicans run the tables on Tuesday, they should not get too excited. Obama is still above 50 in his national job approval rating, and it is clear that a lot more than a few electoral setbacks will be needed to deter him from his ambitious big government agenda. He ain’t no Bill Clinton.
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