Hey there. I know I've been neglecting the blog, and I have pictures to post and all, but finding gainful employment comes first. Sorry for the layoff but, hey, I'm laid off. Give me time.
I would normally preview the upcoming election on this blog, so I'm going to. For the next four days I'll cover some different races by category, things to watch for, and so on. Then, on Tuesday, I'll post predictions in the morning, so you can see how far off I am while watching the coverage Tuesday night.
Now, if some huge event occurs in the next couple days, it could throw all these predictions and comments off. So, you know, if nothing happens we're good. Anyway. Caveat lector.
Normally I'd start with governors, and I intend to, but really, only one of them is particularly close, that in North Carolina, and we have close Senate and Presidential races there to watch instead. Governors races are less impacted by events nationally than other races so the contest in North Carolina may not be a good indicator of which way the wind is blowing on election night. Furthermore, unless you live in North Carolina, the choice of governor there won't much impact you, the way the races in the House and Senate may.
That being said, there are some races with potential interest. The North Carolina one, between Lt Gov Bev Perdue (D) and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) is the closest one in the country. Perdue was supposed to win easily as recently as this summer but McCrory has fought hard and turned the race into a toss-up; if the "wave" on election night is more about change than about electing Democrats (which I suspect will be the case), McCrory stands a good chance of earning a narrow victory here as he's been working to paint Perdue as an establishment hack.
There's also the Missouri governor's race. Jay Nixon, the attorney general, has been in office since 1992 and has run for governor at least twice already. The sitting governor, Matt Blunt, a Republican, was already polling behind Nixon last year, so he decided not to run for re-election. The sacrificial lamb is Congressman Kenny Hulshof, who has run a decent race but won't be able to keep the seat in the GOP's hands. It's Nixon's time--the only question is, by how much will he win, and, given how close the presidential race is in Missouri, will Nixon have any coattails for Obama? Tough to say. If Nixon wins big, though--and the networks should call this race before the presidential one--it could mean good things for Obama. A close result here and McCain will probably carry Missouri.
The other two races have more esoteric interest. Joe Biden is running strong for re-election in Delaware, but if he is elected Vice President, the next governor of Delaware will get to name his replacement. I don't know Delaware law; some states require the governor to name a person from the party of the departed Senator, others give the governor wide discretion to name whoever he or she wants. If the Delaware governor's race went to GOP candidate Bill Lee, things could get interesting. The race isn't thought to be very close (Democratic candidate Jack Markell is expected to win handily) but there's been no recent polling so it might be worth looking for this one.
Finally we have the gubernatorial contest in Indiana, where former Bush budget director Mitch Daniels, the GOP incumbent, is in a race with former Congresswoman and USDA bigfoot Jill Long Thompson. Polling on the race has been mixed and more than likely Daniels will win safely, but if Thompson manages a victory here, and if McCain wins the White House, Thompson might get a few looks as a potential presidential candidate in 2012. She is 56 and more Janet Reno than Sarah Palin, but she will have experience at all levels of government, a charming and normal family history, moderate views on most issues, and she's attacking the GOP incumbent for raising taxes. Interesting profile, indeed, and it's not hard to imagine her whispering campaign getting an early start. Unfortunately it is hard to imagine her winning this race.
Tomorrow: the House.