Posted by: jamesvw | November 6, 2011

Election Day 2011 Preview

Election Day 2011 Preview

It’s finally here, Election Day 2011. While we haven’t posted here recently, I will go through a run-through of the races that will be decided on Tuesday and then be back that night with results.

Got a race not written about? Add it quickly – or add results as they occur Tuesday!

Lets get down to it:


Phoenix: Democrats think they have a good chance to hang onto the mayoral seat in one of the largest US cities – Greg Stanton is their candidate. Republicans have Wes Gullett as their standard bearer.

Tuscon: Voters will pick a new mayor for the first time in 12 years. Democrats have chosen Jonathan Rothschild while Republicans selected Rick Grinnell in the primary.

State Senate District 16 – There is a recall election facing voters in the 16th district. There, State Senate President Russell Pearce, sponsor of the notorious SB 1070 immigration law faces recall. Voters will decide between the incumbent and Jerry Lewis, a fellow Republican and a charter school superintendent.


There is an exciting group of elections in San Francisco – for more information on the races, click here


Hartford will be electing their mayor. Incumbent Pedro Segarra will be seeking another term. For more info, click here

Kentucky (For links to candidate websites, click here)

Governor: All signs point to the reelection of Democratic governor Steve Bashear. Republican David Williams hopes that the polls have been wrong in a state where Republicans originally saw an opening to pick up the seat.

Secretary of State: Democrats nominated Alison Lundergan over the incumbent. She will be seeking to hold the seat for the party against Republican Bill Johnson.

Attorney General: Incumbent Democrat Jack Conway has had to fight against the state’s partisan tilt as well as fallout from his run against now-Senator Rand Paul last year. He faces Republican Todd P’Pool.

Treasurer: Democrat Todd Hollenbach is looking for a new term but Republican K.C. Crosbie hopes to oust the incumbent.

Auditor: In an open seat, Democrat Adam Edelen faces Republican John Kemper.

Agriculture Commissioner: In another open seat, Democrat Bob Farmer faces Republican James Comer.

Legislature: Democrats control the State House of Representatives 58-42 while Republicans control the Senate 22-15 with 1 independent.


Indianapolis: Republican Mayor Greg Ballard faces a stiff challenge in this race from Democrat Melina Kennedy.




SD-18 – One of the most important races of the night is in Iowa where the Democratic incumbent left office to take a job in the administration. Democrats hold a one-seat margin in the legislative body and so if the Republicans pick up the seat, it will be tied, giving the party more opportunity to pass legislation onto the Republican governor. Democrats selected Liz Mathis, a former TV news anchor, as their nominee. Republicans backed Cindy Golding, a Linn County Republican Party official.


There are four ballot questions facing voters on Tuesday.

Question 1: The one garnering the most attention is a Voter Referendum trying to reinstate Same Day Voter Registration. The Republican legislature had eliminated the practice and Issue 1 will allow voters to decide on the law. Vote Yes to allow Same Day Voter Registration and Vote No to eliminate Same Day Voter Registration.

Question 2 and 3: Both votes have to do with gambling in the state. A Yes Vote on Question 2 would allow for a second Racino (casino and racetrack) while a No Vote on Question 2 would not open up the state for a second. A Yes Vote on Question 3 would allow for a slot machine facility in the state, while a No Vote on Question 3 would not allow slot machines.

Question 4: This involves redistricting after the census – so the changes will not go into effect until 2021. However, a Yes Vote would change redistricting practices to be completed by one year after the census (in time for the 2021 election) and a No Vote would keep the practice as is and therefore three years later (in time for the 2023 election.)


In my neck of Massachusetts, voters will choose a new mayor in Pittsfield, the largest city in Berkshire County. They will choose between Peter Marchetti and Dan Bianchi. In North Adams, voters will decide whether to give Mayor Richard Alcombright a second term or to choose City Council President Ronald Boucher.


HD-51 – Republican Paul Scott faces recall in this election after his role in passing a bevy of Republican legislation when the new governor and legislature were elected in 2010. This is an up and down vote and if the recall is successful (if Yes carries the vote) then parties will select nominees for a special election a few months later.

Mississippi (For candidate links, click here)

Governor: Republican Phil Bryant seems destined to be elected the new governor of the state, but Democratic candidate Johnny DuPree is seeking to upend conventional wisdom.

Attorney General: The only Democratic statewide officeholder is Jim Hood. He will be attempting to hold the office against Republican Steve Simpson.

Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner: Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is facing Democrat Joel Gill.

Insurance Commissioner: Incumbent Republican Mike Chaney is facing a challenge from Democrat Louis Fondren.

Legislature: Democrats hold the State House of Representatives 72-50 while Republicans hold the Senate 27-25.

Initiative 26 – This has garnered a lot of attention – the newest front to the battle about abortion, opponents have placed on the ballot a question to define “personhood” in the state constitution. A Yes Vote defines personhood at the “moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof”. A No Vote does not add this amendment to the state constitution. If passed, this is sure to trigger a Supreme Court case.

Initiative 27 – A Yes Vote will require the presentation of state issued photo ID  in order to vote, a No Vote would not change the constitution.

Initiative 28 – This ballot question pertains to eminent domain, the practice of local or state government seizing property for the good of the community. A Yes Vote would ban the use of eminent domain by state and local government, a No Vote would allow the practice to continue. If passed, it would exempt the following uses of eminent domain: for levee facilities, roads, bridges, ports, airports, common carriers, drainage facilities and utilities. According to reports, the proposed amendment would not apply to public nuisances, structures unfit for human habitation or abandoned property.

New Jersey

There are legislative races in New Jersey today. Democrats have a 24-16 lead in the State Senate and 47-33 in the State House and many expect small gains for the party.

Question 1: Voters will decide whether to legalize sports betting in the state. This would only be legal in Atlantic City and at racetracks. A YES Vote allows sports betting while a NO Vote would keep sports betting out of the state.

New York

There are many county legislative battles throughout the state. One important race is on Long Island in the city of Islip where Democrats are looking to keep up their advantage in the historically Republican area. To read more, click here

North Carolina

Charlotte: In the city hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2012, Democrats are hoping to hang onto the mayoral seat. Four years ago, Anthony Foxx won the mayoral race and is hoping to be reelected to a second term. Standing in his way is Republican Scott Stone.




Perhaps the biggest bellweather of the country’s mood going into the 2012 election is Issue 2. This law is challenging the Republican governor and legislature’s decision to end collective bargaining rights for public employees such as teachers, firefighters and police.

A YES Vote keeps the law and eliminates collective bargaining.

A NO Vote eliminates the law and brings back collective bargaining for public workers.

Question 1: There are two other questions facing Ohio voters. The first is about judicial ages. A Yes Vote would raise the maximum age for judges from 70 to 75. A NO Vote would leave the maximum age at 70.

Question 3: Voters will ostensibly decide on the National Healthcare law – A Yes Vote would amend the constitution to forbid mandated healthcare. A No Vote would not amend the constitution. If passed, this question will actually be decided by the Supreme Court when the national law comes before the body this year’s session.


Houston will be electing its mayor and city council. For more information on Annise Parker’s run for reelection and the other local races, click here.

There are 10 (!!) ballot questions for Texas voters.  For more on each bill, click here

Proposition 1. A Yes Vote exempts the property of widowed spouses of disabled veterans. A NO vote does not change the law.

Proposition 2. A Yes Vote would allow the Texas Water Development Board to float more bonds in order to pay for water planning and infrastructure. These bonds would be capped at $6 billion. A No Vote does not change the current law.

Proposition 3. A Yes Vote would allow for new bonds to fund the Hinson-Hazelwood College Student Loan Program. This has already passed in 7 previous elections. A No Vote would end the program.

Proposition 4. A Yes Vote would allow counties to issue redevelopment bonds pledged by tax revenues from the increased property values in the redevelopment area. A No Vote does not change current law.

Proposition 5. A Yes Vote clarifies constitutional language to ensure that contracts between two municipalities are not considered “debts” and therefore does not trigger automatic tax increases to cover costs. A No Vote does not change current law.

Proposition 6. A Yes Vote removes a step in the process of providing education funds from the state to individual school districts for up to $300 million. A No Vote does not change current law.

Proposition 7. A Yes Vote would allow for a parks district in El Paso. A No Vote does not change current law.

Proposition 8. A Yes Vote would create tax incentives for certain landowners to use less water. A No Vote does not change the current law.

Proposition 9. A Yes Vote would allow the governor to pardon those with “deferred adjudications” on their records. While not convictions, these are records of arrest and potentially probation. A No Vote would not change current law.

Proposition 10. A Yes Vote would change the “Resign to Run” rule (where current officeholders must resign in order to run for a new office) in order to comply with the federal requirement ensuring that overseas soldiers and American citizens have time to vote absentee. A No Vote would not change current law.


Legislative Races – Republicans are extremely hopeful that this will be their year to take over the Virginia State Senate and polls suggest it is within their grasp. It is currently 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans. They also hope to pad their lead in the House of Delegates where they have a margin of 59-39 with 2 independents.


An important ballot question faces voters in this mail-in ballot state. A Yes Vote on Initiative 1125 would limit the use of collected gas taxes and toll revenue to only transportation-related projects. A NO Vote would continue to allow these revenues to be used for any state sanctioned purpose. This question is largely seen as anti-alternative and public transportation as revenue from roads would not be allowed to be used for the construction of train lines as has been done in the past.


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