A series of elections are set to culminate the 2013 political season. Among the most notable are the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, the mayoral race in New York city and a ballot initiative in Colorado to dramatically raise the state’s income tax. This elections can tell us something moving forward. What follows below is a quick synopsis of each race/initiative, the expected result and what it what it means. I should add the caveat this is a little unpredictable as the Virginia race is narrow enough there could be an upset.
NJ Gubernatorial Race: Governor Chris Christie’s reelection run in a blue state is seen as a model for the national GOP to emulate. Christie is expected to be the first GOP Governor to hit 50% in an election since the 80’s and the state GOP hopes it carries down to the state legislature. Christie is running away with Independents, men, Republicans and more importantly women and Hispanics. His opponent, outspoken liberal state senator Mary Buono has not given him much trouble and the only question in this race is what the final numbers will be? Considering Christie has national aspirations based on his electability in blue states anything below 60% is likely to be considered a disappointment.
Results: Winner Chris Christie
VA Gubernatorial Race: If there were two more flawed candidates in a race a solid majority of voters might sit out this race. As it is, turnout is expected to be below 40% in the race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Both candidates have baggage a mile long and it appears McAuliffe’s edge can be directly related to three factors, 1) demographics, 2) money advantage and 3) a better campaign.
Polls in the race have tightened since McAuliffe went on the air attacking Cuccinelli for being anti-women and belonging to the party that shut down the government. Cuccinelli’s rise is likely buoyed by a surge in conservative outside group support and Obamacare’s woeful debut. Still, the race is McAuliffe’s to lose. Due to flaws of each candidate this race will likely come down to turnout.
Still, due to the fact this is Virginia and it has undergone a demographic and political transition since 08 (like Colorado), the results of this race will likely be hyperanalyzed. A McAuliffe win would suggests to Democrats demographics heavily favor them and that the GOP has not learned its lessons from 012 and the “War on women.” A Cuccinelli win, possible though unlikely, would give the party help that conservative candidates can still win in purple states. Democrats are easily expected to win the Lt. Governor’s slot meaning they would control the state senate and the Attorney General’s race is a dead heat.
Results: Winner McAuliffe
NYC Mayoral Race: There is not a lot of write here. Mayor Bloomberg is retiring and his likely replacement will be outspoken liberal Bill De Blasio. Blasio’s GOP challenger is being outspent and stuck in the mid 20’s in surveys suggesting this could be a massacre. That said, the election is seen on a wider impacting policy known as Frisk and Search. Implemented under Bloomberg the law gives police the ability to search individuals they deem to be acting suspiciously. A local judge overturned the ruling but the left of center 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the law saying it is not for the courts to overturn local policies. Blasio is expected to win the race handily and has gained widespread support in all the city’s Burroughs for opposing such a law. So Stop and Frisk likely ends soon after Tuesday night.
Result: Winner Bill De Blasio
CO Amendment 66: Before 2008 the state of Colorado was thought to have found a balance between its liberal urban element and conservative, rural enclaves. Since 2008 that balance has been shattered. The election of 08 ushered in a Democratic legislature. In 2010 despite GOP gains in the state legislature a Democratic US Senator and Governor were elected. In 2012 Democrats once again won the state’s electoral votes and retook the Legislature. These conquests seem to have sent a message that the state is now a liberal/purple bastion and as a result Democrats have passed bills supporting new energy efficiency requirements, allowing civil unions and stronger gun control measures. Even after the recall of two Democratic state senators the Left’s wish list remains long. Amendment 66 seems to be another item on the list.
Simply put, this amendment would end Colorado’s 4.63 percent single rate income tax into a two bracket system that taxes the first $75,000 of income at 5.0 percent and a rate of 5.9 percent above that. It is estimated this would create over $950 million in income to fund public school. Colorado’s 1980 single income tax bracket was established in the 1980’s and some credit it as a reason state schools are underfunded. This is over-simplistic. State funding issues have more to do with promises not kept and voters fed up with being nickel and dimed.
Amendment 66 would in additional to raising taxes rewrite the Colorado School’s Finance Act. However, the way the question is going to appear on the ballot has confused many voters who have received their ballots (CO is a mail-ballot state). Worries about where the money would go are rising along with concerns about how it would affect the state in terms of business climate and job growth. WA State tried to raise money by implementing an income tax on high earners for funding education and it was not nearly as far reaching as this increase. WA State’s initiative was sunk by liberal suburbanites who love spending but not being taxed. CO’s Amendment 66 could be sunk if Denver suburbanites have the same inclination.
Expected Result: 55% No 45% Yes