Unless you’re coming back from Burning man or living in a cave with Crocodile Dundee you know it’s election day in the US of A. The question is, who wins and who loses? I offer a few brief thoughts of my own on key races across the country. Apologies in advance for spelling mistakes in this post. I’m multitasking right now.
Incumbent candidate or party listed first.
New Hampshire: Scott Brown vs. Jeanne Shaheen:
Alaska: Mark Begich vs. Dan Sullivan- As you will see today, the midterm election is being shaped as a referendum on President Obama, and a lot of Democrats are defending seats where Obama is not well-liked. Alaska is one of these. Begich has baggage for supporting ACA (“Obamacare”) and he will lose. Winner: SULLIVAN
Arkansas: Mark Pryor vs. Tom Cotton- Cotton is a US Army veteran, having served inboth Iraw and Afghanistan. This plays very well in the deeply conservative Arkansas. Pryor is not a bad candidate, but Cotton’s campaign has been very succesful at tying him to Obama. Close race but decided early in the night. Winner: COTTON
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu vs. Bill Cassidy: Landrieu is from a Lousiana political dynasty. She has tried to make herself appeal as a somewhat conservative Democrat in the conservative state. Unfortunately for her, see Arkansas and Alaska above. Winner: CASSIDY in a runoff against Landrieu.
North Carolina: Kay Hagan vs. Thom Tillis and Sean Haugh (libertarian)- third party candidates are often blamed for taking votes away from D’s or R’s, and Haugh will be no exception. But who loses more votes? My guess the winner will be just a shde under 50%. Hagan has run a very good campaign and Tillis is not the most liked guy around. Winner: HAGAN
Colorado: Mark Udall vs. Cory Gardner: Udall ran on ONE issue: women’s rights, meaning abortion/birth control, etc. This strategy was so bad even the Denver Post, no lover of Republicans, endorsed Garder just to spite Udall. Gardner is a strong candidate, Udall less so. Very close race, decision early morning hours. Winner: GARDNER
Iowa: Burce Braley vs. Joni Ernst: Neither is an incumbent, they are trying to win the seat beign vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin. Braley has been shooting himself in the foot, first disparaging Iowan farmers over the summer and then Harkin made a comment about Ernst’s looks no Republican could ever get away with without being called “sexist.” Add this to the fact that Ernst is a military mom (and grandmom!), and this is one of the big upsets of the year. Winner: ERNST.
Kansas: Patr Roberts vs. Greg Orman (Independent) and Randall Batson (libertarian)- Orman is the fill-in for the Democrats who did not run anyone against Roberts. He is a centrist businessman and a good candidate. Roberts, like the Kansas governor Sam Brownback, is not very popular. BUT- Kansas is a deeply conservative state. Expect multiple recounts over the coming weeks but I will stick with the incumbent by less than 0.5%. Winner: ROBERTS
Georgia: David Perdue vs. Michelle Nunn and Amanda Swafford (libertarian): For a while Democrats were excited about taking this seat from the GOP vacated by Saxby Chambliss. Despite two women running to become Georgia’s first-ever elected female senator, Obama is very unpopular here and Nunn has not run the best of campaigns. A chance to pick off a seat from a not-very-likeable corporate businessman seems to have gone by the wayside. Swafford won’t play a factor. Winner: PERDUE, no runoff
Delaware: Chris Coons vs. Kevin Wade A shout-out to my home state. Coons is up for re-election, having finished Joe Biden’s term when Biden left to become Vice President. Wade is an interesting candidate but he doesn’t really have a chance. He’ll be lucky to crack 40. Winner: COONS
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell vs. Alison Grimes- Democrats were dreaming they’d tae down the Senate Minority Leader, who is seen as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) but a lot of Kentuckians. But, a) Obama is despised because of the war on coal b)Grimes ran a terrible campaign and c) by old white guy standards, McConnell is actually well-liked. Winner: MCCONNELL
Michigan: Gary Peters vs. Terri Lynn Land and three third-party candidates with no shot: Land is the former Secretary of State for Michigan. She doesn’t appear to have much traction and has made some bizarre remarks (and lack of them-check her ‘War on Women’ ad on Youtube) and while Peters isn’t the most charismatic guy, he’s going to win. Big. Winner: PETERS
Mississippi: Thad Cochran vs. Travis Childers: There has been speculation that Cochran might have lost this race because of spiteful Republicans bitter about his campaign’s under-handed tactics to defeat Chris McDaniel. However, I think the prospect of Harry Reid staying on as Senate Majority Leader is too much even for the R’s who hate Cochran. A very close race. Winner: COCHRAN
Montana: Amanda Curtis vs. Steve Daines and Roger Roots. This is an open seat vacated by Max Baucus. That’s the only reason I bothered to list this race: Because the Republicans are going to take it. Curtis is a bad candidate, filling in after the previous front-runner was caught in a plagiarism scandal. She has no chance unless aliens invade. Winner: DAINES
South Dakota: Rick Weiland vs. Mike Rounds, Larry Pressler (Ind) and Gordon Howie (Ind.), Seat vacated by Democrat Tim Johnson. Some think this might be close with the third-party candidates, but South Dakota is a conservative state and Weiland isn’t very good at convincing people he’s conservative enough. Also, Obama is not well like here. Winner: ROUNDS
Virginia: Mark Warner vs. Ed Gillespie: Gillespie is a former GOP Chairman. Warner is the incumbent. Warner was leading for a while, but a late surge by Gillespie has made this race close. Again, Obama is hurting Warner because of how close his voting record is to the President. But, with northern Virginia now more like San Francisco than Virginia, that won’t hurt Warner like it will other Dems. Winner: WARNER, but closer than expected.
West Virginia: Natalie Tennant vs. Shelly Moore Capito: we conclude our key Senate races with…two women! That’s right, West Virginia will decide which woman will represent them in the Senate. Ironically, there are three independent candidates, but they’re all men. So which woman will win the seat? West Virginia is actualyl a Democrat-party leaning state. But: Obama is viscerally hated in this state. As in, he’s about as popular as Ebola, mainly because of his war on coal. Winner: CAPITO
Key Governor’s races:
Colorado: John Hickenlooper vs. Bob Beauprez: this is one of the closest to call. Hickenlooper is a slight favorite but he might get dragged down by lack of enthusiasm for Udall. Beauprez, like Gardner, is done well courting the Hispanic vote. This is an absolute toss-up, but I’ll give it to the challenger for one reason: Hickenlooper’s support for gun control in a state where guns are more popular than you-know-you. Winner: BEAUPREZ
Connecticut: Dan Malloy vs. Tom Foley: Foley is a moderate Republican businessman. Malloy is a dishonest politician (surprise!) who raised taxes on the middle class after saying he wouldn’t do that. In a state so Democratic like Connecticut, the fact that Foley is within the margin of error in polling is an embarrassment. Still, this state is blue. Winner: MALLOY, with at least one recount.
Florida: Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist. This is one of the suckiest races to vote for. Both are dislike able, Crist is a shapeshifer who “goes with the flow” while Scott comes across as insensitive and too business-like instead of diplomatic. I think, because Scott went back on his word after suring the Feds over Obamacare, the good-will vote goes to the former governor. Winner: CRIST.
Georgia: Nathan Deal vs. Jason Carter- Jimmy Carter’s 39 year old grandson wants to be governor. Some polls have this as a possible Democrat upset. I say: see Obama, above. Winner: DEAL
Illinois: Pat Quinn vs. Bruce Rauner. Quinn is, like Scott and PA governor Corbett, among the most disliked governors. He is an embarrassment to the state and even Democrats know this. Given Illinois’ blue advantage and the fact that Rauner is a super wealthy developer/stock market guy, he shouldn’t be well received here, except that under Quinn’s “leadership” Illinois’ bond and credit ratings have taken a hit. The dead vote in Chicago will decide the winner of this one. Winner: QUINN
Kansas: Sam Brownback vs. Paul Davis: Whereas most GOP governors maintained or managed to somewhat improve their state’s economic climate (at least enough for re-election), Brownback cost Kansas their top credit rating. Plus, he broke one too many pledges here. This is one, like the Senate race, going to multiple recounts. Winner: DAVIS
Maine: Paul LePage vs. Mike Michaud and Eliot Cutler (Ind): Cutler and Michaud are solid liberals. LePage is actually Tea Party more than Republican. If Cutler wasn’t running the Democrats would have won this seat. But Cutler IS running, and he will take votes away from Michaud. LePage will win with less than 50%…just like he did in 2010. Winner: LEPAGE
Maryland: Anthony Brown vs. Larry Hogan: Brown is Martin O’Malley’s Lieutenant Governor, and this state at this point is solid Dem. Oabam got 62% here in 2012. So why is Hogan close? Brown is a weak candidate, O’Malleable imposed a “rain tax” (if it rains on your property and runs off into the street you pay a tax on that) and MD’s running of the Obamacare website totally stunk, and I think this might be the upset of the night. Winner: HOGAN by less than 1.5%.
Massachusetts: Martha Coakley vs. Charlie Baker: Coakley lost in solid D Mass 5 years ago to Scott Brown because she didn’t bother campaigning. She evidently hasn’t learned her lesson. Plus, she is a weak candidate with few views on anything of note. Baker has taken the lead and it looks like the Republicans are picking this race up, Winner: BAKER
Michigan: Rick Snyder vs Mark Schauer: Snyder isn’t super well liked either, and Land will probably hurt him. This is one of those races where Snyder benefits from being the incumbent and just competent enough, especially with the Detroit turnaround. Winner: SNYDER
New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan vs. Walt Havenstein- I think all the female governor candidates up for re-election are up this year. Hassan is up narrowly in the polls and New Hampshire seems to have turned somewhat blue. It may be that the Brown-Shaheen race decides this one. Winner: HASSAN
Texas: Wendy Davis vs. Greg Abbott: I only threw this one in because of all the noise made about Wendy Davis “Standing up for abortion rights”. This is going to be a Texas-sized massacre. Winner: ABBOTT
Wisconsin: Scott Walker vs. Mary Burke. Walker is running for the third time in four years, and Burke is a succesful businesswoman. Walker has the momentum and he’s looking at a presidential bid for 2016. Walker will hold Burke off by abour 4-5%. Winner: WALKER
Marijuana decriminalization is on the ballot in: Alaska, Florida, and Oregon. AK and OR will have weed, Florida will vote against it because of the large number of religious people in the state.
Minimum wage hike is on the ballot in: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota. This is an issue D’s are hoping drives people to the polls. IL and AR will vote yes, the other states no.
Your thoughts? Who do you think will win tonight?