Previewing 2013 Elections

So 2013 is technically an off year for elections, but this year is surprisingly packed with a lot of important elections. Just a few weeks ago, we saw the newest United States Senator, Cory Booker, win his Senate seat. We are also on the cusp of several other important elections. Some people think that there is not a lot at stake but I have to disagree. So let’s look at these races one by one.

The first is the gubernatorial race in New Jersey. This one is all but locked up with all signs pointing to Chris Christie winning reelection. No one is surprised by this but what is particularly interesting is how he has campaigned. He has really made an effort to run on his record of working across the aisle with Democrats to move New Jersey forward. He has every right to do so too. New Jersey is a traditionally blue state but he is set to be reelected by record numbers. Along with working with the Democrats, he has really pushed hard to target women and minorities with his campaigning. While some will look at this and say that they aren’t surprised, there is no way you can tell me he isn’t aligning himself for 2016.

Along with winning reelection, he is in line to take over as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. This is a key position for him, in that he will spend time in key battle ground states such as South Carolina and Florida (and possibly Virginia, more on that state coming) working with Republican governors. This will be a huge asset for him going into his presidential campaign. On top of that, this past Sunday evening, Mitt Romney appeared on Meet the Press and gave what could be construed as a ringing endorsement for Christie. I won’t get into his chances as a candidate in 2016 in this blog, but every sign of his gubernatorial campaign points to a 2016 run.

The next election is I want to look at is the mayoral race for New York City. The unofficial capital of the United States has elected a Democratic mayor since 1989. Since then, Rudy Giuliani (Republican) and Michael Bloomberg (Republican and then ‘independent’) have run the city. The interesting thing is that when Giuliani came to office, the city was plagued with crime and he did a pretty effective job at cleaning up the city. He took a hardline stand against crime and Mayor Bloomberg has followed in his footsteps, but taken it even more to the extreme by implementing the controversial stop and frisk program which targeted led to racial profiling. His hardline policies have turned a lot of New Yorkers against him and helped Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill Di Blasio to be heavily favored to take office against Republican Joe Lhota. The defeat will be one of the largest landslide victories in the history of the city by a candidate from the opposing party of the incumbent. Democrats are certainly excited to see a Democrat once again take the office.

The last major race set for Tuesday is the gubernatorial race for Virginia. It is by far the most intriguing race to watch tomorrow and one that Republicans and Democrats have been paying a lot of attention to. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe has garnered support from Bill and Hillary Clinton (her first campaign appearance since leaving politics), and today from Vice President Joe Biden. His challenger for the governor’s office is Tea Party darling Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli has enlisted the help of Senator Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee. You see why people are billing this to be a heavy weight fight now?

For Republicans, they will argue that if Cuccinelli is elected, it will be as a rejection of Obamacare and to the Democrats poor managing of the economy. It will also give the 2016 presidential candidate (i.e., Chris Christie as I said above) a strong vocal supporter in office for the presidential election.

For Democrats, they feel that McAuliffe is almost a sure bet to win and will be an ultimate rejection to the radical Tea Party who shut down the government in hopes to defund Obamacare. Winning the governor’s race in this key battleground state will be a huge victory for Democrats. Do the math and you can understand why Hillary Clinton’s first campaign speech was in this state…looking at 2016 also?

Either way it should be a fairly close race but I think as long as voter turnout is as high as expected, McAuliffe wins the office. The Tea Party is reeling after the shut down and this could be another major blow to them.

One last smaller but local race tomorrow is the runoff election between Republican Bradley Byrne and Tea Party backed Dean Young. The runoff election is basically the general election, as the district is largely Republican and will defeat any Democrat challenger for the Congressional seat. But it will be interesting to see if Mobile area voters reject the radical Young who has praised Ted Cruz for his fight to defund Obamacare and supported the government shutdown. He has also criticized Byrne as not “accepting the Bible as literal truth.” Byrne has been endorsed by pretty much the entire establishment in the city of Mobile and accuses Young of being more interested in promoting himself rather than the wishes of the people he will represent if he wins. I certainly love watching Republicans beat up on each other and this race is the ultimate example of the current civil war going on within the Republican Party between the moderates and the Tea Party. Be sure to watch for the results!

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