2011 Elections, September 11 Edition

In our previous installment, we had noted the onset of Louisiana election season, as well as the fact that Democrats had written off a special House election in Nevada, while getting more nervous about their chances in a special election for a House seat in New York City.

September elections

Qualifying has concluded in Louisiana, and as we noted in a precious article, the Democrats largely conceded the statewide races, and made a halfhearted attempt to compete in the legislative races. However, if you look at those who filed for the House and Senate, Republicans have already picked up two seats apiece in the state senate (where they currently have a 22-17 majority) and in the state house (where they currently have a 57-46-2 majority).

Now that election season has officially begun in Louisiana, it will be a quick sprint to the finish. Early voting starts in 4 weeks, and for the next several days, candidates who get cold feet can withdraw from the race – it’ll be interesting to see who drops out during this time period.

Additionally, this is the “window” for possible ballot challenges to candidates who have qualified. Up in Monroe, two legislative candidates are facing this unwanted scrutiny.

While candidates in Louisiana are working their races, there are special elections for open Congressional seats in Nevada and New York on September 13. The Republican has a good lead in the polls in Nevada, and is expected to hold the seat for the Republicans. In New York, things have turned sour for the Democrats (just like they did in Massachusetts) in the waning days of the campaign. Several consecutive polls are showing the Republican Bob Turner with leads over Democrat David Weprin (who in a recent debate not only admitted to living outside of the district, but declined to state when he’d make himself a resident).

The race in New York is interesting, because it has become a referendum  on the Obama administration in general, and its conduct towards Israel in particular. A recent Siena poll shows shocking weakness for the Democrats in a district that voted 67% for Al Gore, 56% for John Kerry, and 56% for Barack Obama. This poll showed that:

  • Jewish voters, by a 54-42% margin, were unfavorable towards the Obama administration;
  • Jewish voters prefer the Democrat by a tepid 51-45% margin (while Catholics prefer the Republican 62-33%);
  • Union voters favor the Republican 49-45%;
  • 79% of voters have already made up their mind;

What has to be reiterated when looking at these results is that (especially in the northeast), Jewish and union voters are at least 2:1 Democratic, and this district elected Chuck Schumer for 18 years and Anthony Weiner for 13 years after that. A Republican victory here would be an upset of the magnitude of Scott Brown in Massachusetts. In that race, the Brown victory foretold massive Democratic losses in the 2010 midterm elections; a Republican victory in New York City in a race where President Obama was the issue would not be a positive verdict on his re-election. It’s worth remembering that Jewish voters were similarly disenchanted with President Carter in 1980, and this disenchantment not only cost Carter a Democratic primary victory in New York, but he lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan while losing solidly Democratic states like New York and Massachusetts.

October elections

Early voting in Louisiana starts on October 8 (the primary election is October 22), but before that, West Virginia is holding a special election for governor on October 4.  A recent poll shows the appointed Democratic incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin with a 46-40% lead over Republican businessman Bill Maloney, which suggests that race will be competitive all the way to the end.