Today is the first Tuesday in November which means the polls are open all across the country. I’m staying up late this evening to watch the numbers come in for some interesting races and referenda. I did not vote today. While I will not miss an election that deals with a political office, I tend not to vote in off years. Usually the only thing that will be on a ballot will be a request for millage increase or some other such nonsense which usually gets voted down anyways. This year, was pretty much moot as there was nothing on the ballot this year. But let’s get to some of the local stuff.
The RTA tax was voted down overwhelmingly in St. Joe County. The proposal was to raise the local income tax another quarter percent. Folks around here are already pissed when their local income taxes were more than doubled beginning last month. I, too, was included in that because I work in St. Joe. Whether or not I would be exempted from this hike, I’m not sure. The tax was basically about upgrading and consolidating the South Shore Line which is the rail line connecting South Bend and Chicago. 95% voted against raising their taxes.
Galien’s Road Millage Proposal passed with 85%. I don’t know what plans they have but if puts an end to all this chip n’ seal, I’ll be happy. Best part is that while I use the roads in the township, I technically live just outside the borders so the millage wouldn’t affect me. Oh wait… I don’t own property so it doesn’t affect me anyways. Yay!
Mike Nofs took Michigan’s State Senate seat for the 19th District. It’s a sweet piece of candy as the Republicans only have a hold on the Senate. The governorship and the State House of Representative are firmly in the grip of the Democrats. Could this be a sign of what’s to come next year when all senate and house seats come up for grabs?
One of the more interesting races was, or rather still is as of this posting, New York’s 23’rd Congressional District. They are having a special election as the seat was vacated by Congressman John McHugh (R) to serve Obama’s administration. Local Republican party leaders chose to select Diedre Scozzafava to run against the Democrat’s Bill Owens. Now this district has been firmly in Republican control in the past but the Dems have been eyeing it. If the Dems win it, it would reduce the Republicans to only two seats in the state’s Congressional delegation. Scozzafava was probably chosen in hopes of capturing the moderate to liberal vote, keeping the district in the Republican column. She has been known to be on the liberal wing of the party with her support for same-sex marriage and abortion. This caused some outrage with the party base and Doug Hoffman came up and ran under the Conservative Party hoping to bump off Scozzafava. A split between the Conservative (Republican) and the Liberal (Republican) would have seemed disastrous for the party as Bill Owens would be able to swoop in. Scozzafava, the other day, chose to suspend her campaign but in a spiteful move to her party, she threw her support to Democrat Bill Owens. Last report has Bill Owens taking NY-23.
The Republicans are having better luck with the New Jersey and Virginia governorships. Virginia was a knock out with Republican Bob McDonnell defeating Democrat Creigh Deeds with 60%. Virginia has been as sore spot since the normally Republican state was secured by Obama in the last election.
New Jersey was setting up to be a nail biter. Polls up to election day showed Rep. Chris Christie and Dem. Governor Jon Corzine virtually neck and neck. New Jersey is a Democrat stronghold--the bluest of the blue and the fact that they would vote a Republican almost makes you do a double take. Perhaps if Corzine wasn’t seen as an epic failure, he could have kept his seat.
I suspect that I will be going to bed without knowing the results of Maine’s Question 1. A Yes vote would cancel out the legislature’s act to allow gay marriage. After a despicable campaign ad focused on scare tactics, the anti-gay marriage groups were able to close the gap. Exit polls are showing the YES and NO side at half and half.
Although President Obama is still polling with a relatively high approval ratings, there are questions about whether or not these races are a sort of referendum on him. The White House has already made sure to insulate itself as much as it can from this. The standard line will be that these are all local races made with local concerns. Perhaps that is true but then again there’s seems to be a larger backlash against all the policy points that are coming out of the White House and the Democratic Party. Bush’s economic mess has now become this administration’s and I think that people aren't getting or seeing the changes they were hoping for.