November 8 will be that exciting day for all election junkies when voters all over the country head to the polls to vote on various things. We've got elections, special elections, recalls, and ballot questions. Whatever happens, it should be an exciting night. There will be several races such as the OR-01 primary and Houston mayor which aren't expected to be very competitive, but I've tried to identify the most interesting races (IMO).
Did I leave off a race? Is there a race going on in your area that you want everyone to know about? Do you think that a race I left off on purpose is going to be interesting and worth watching? Leave a comment!
(h/t Darth Jeff for filling in some info!)
All times are in Eastern. If you live in Central, subtract an hour. If you live in Mountain, subtract two hours. If you live in Pacific, subtract three hours. If you live in Alaska, subtract four hours. If you live in Hawai'i, subtract five hours. Simple enough right?
Without further ado...
There are going to be several mayoral races worth watching here. Most of the state's areas close at 6, although some (such as Evansville) close at 7. The main attraction will be Indianapolis, where Democrat Melina Kennedy hopes to unseat incumbent Republican mayor Greg Ballard. For more info on this and Kentucky, I highly recommend SouthernINDem's guide.
The eastern half of the state including Louisville will close its polls at 6. We'll get to see if incumbent Democratic governor Steve Beshear can exceed 60% against Republican trainwreck David Williams and weirdo indy Gatewood Galbraith. Two incumbent Dems, AG Jack Conway and Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, will be defending their offices against Republicans Todd P'Pool and KC Crosbie, respectively. There are also open Democratic seats for Secretary of State, where Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes faces crazy teabagger Bill Johnson, and Auditor, where Democrat Adam Edelen faces Republican Bill Kemper. Finally, there is an open Republican seat for Ag Commissioner, where Democrat Bob Farmer faces Republican James Comer - we need to win that one to prevent Republicans from building up their bench in Kentucky. In addition to SouthernINDem's guide, I also recommend this one by drhoosierdem.
The rest of the state's polls close, including Evansville.
The western half of the state's polls close.
This one will be a race to watch. Democrats are hanging on by a 22-18 thread in the state senate, and if they lose control of it, Republicans will have free rein here. For more detailed information, check out this diary by Johnny Longtorso.
In addition to a few state legislative special elections which should be foregone conclusions, several places in the state will be voting to allow the sale of alcohol on Sunday. We're also going to be rooting for Terry Miller in the Douglasville mayoral election. (h/t fitchfan28)
One of the marquee races of the night, Ohio's Issue 2 is a vote on SB 5, an anti-union bill passed by the Republican thugs who rule Ohio. We're rooting for No, and polls show No winning by wide margins, but people who are on our side have warned against complacency. We're also rooting for No on Issue 1 (which raises the retirement age for judges) and Issue 3 (anti-individual mandate for health care).
Democrat Anthony Foxx won an impressive victory for mayor of Charlotte in 2009 and now faces re-election. Republican Bill Knight managed to upset the incumbent Democrat in Greensboro in 2009, so hopefully we can knock him off. The incumbent mayor of Durham also faces a challenge from some other Democrats, including one (Sylvester Williams) who is an avowed homophobe. Lastly, Wake County will see an election to determine control of the school board. A loss for our side could mean a setback for integration efforts.
There will be four special elections for the state house here. The reason why this is important is because Republicans are very close to a vetoproof majority, and the further we keep them from that, the better. Three of the seats should be Safe D, but HD-15 is a Republican-tilting seat which Democrats could theoretically pick up. For more information, read Johnny Longtorso's guide to state special elections.
Mississippi will be voting on statewide offices and state legislature. Mississippi Democrats face a tough fight to retain control of the State House. Republican Phil Bryant is expected to cruise over Democrat Johnny Dupree in the Governor's race. Attorney General Jim Hood, the only statewide elected Democrat, should be able to hang on. We also need to root for NO on Initiative 26, which would define a fertilized egg as a person.
The Garden State will hold state legislative elections. We should be able to hang onto our majorities with no problems, but it will be interesting to see if we can elect more supporters of marriage equality, especially in the state senate, in anticipation for the (hopefully) end of the Christie administration in 2014.
State Rep. Paul Scott faces a recall. He's a Republican, so we want YES (which would recall him). The aforementioned link to Johnny Longtorso's roundup of state legislature special elections is a good place to look for more details.
Led by boorish governor Paul LePage, Maine Republicans are trying to make it harder for Democratic constituencies such as students to vote. They tried to pass a law taking away Maine's same-day registration system, but we managed to put it up for a vote before it could go into effect. We want Maine to vote YES on Question 1.
Incumbent Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter should be easily re-elected, but there are some other local races going on. In particular, pay attention to Springfield Ward 1 Commissioner, where DKEer Cole Stevens is the Democratic nominee. Also pay attention to the at-large Philly city council race where Republican Michael Untermeyer (who ran this racist ad - skip ahead to 0:20) is running.
Incumbent Houston mayor Annise Parker, an out lesbian, is expected to cruise to re-election after a narrow win in 2009, but there are city council races to watch. Trowaman sums it up. Houston will also be having school board elections, and we should cheer for Ramiro Fonseca to defeat homophobic incumbent Manuel Rodriguez Jr.
In SD-16, right-wing nutjob (and State Senate President) Russell Pearce faces a recall. His opponent is another Republican, Jerry Lewis, but we should root for Lewis because he is not nearly as batshit crazy as Pearce. We also have some mayoral races: In Phoenix, Democrat Greg Stanton and Republican Wes Gullett will face off in a runoff for the right to succeed outgoing Democratic mayor Phil Gordon. And in Tucson, Democrat Jonathan Rothschild and Republican Rick Grinnell will battle to succeed outgoing Republican mayor Bob Walkup (who would've thought Tucson would have a Republican mayor at the same time Phoenix has a Dem mayor?)
Also, Daniel Hernandez, the heroic (and gay!) intern who saved Gabby Giffords' life by tending to her wounds while waiting for medical help, is running for Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board.
Democrat Mark Poloncarz is challenging incumbent Republican Chris Collins for the position of Erie County Executive (not to be confused with County Clerk, which is what Kathy Hochul was prior to her election to Congress). A Siena poll showed the two neck-and-neck, so this one will be really interesting to watch. Poloncarz should dominate in Buffalo, but will probably lose everywhere else. Suffolk County will also see a race for Co. Exec between Dem Steve Bellone and Rep. Angie Carpenter, who are vying to replace the douchey Steve Levy (an immigrant-bashing Democrat who became a Republican in 2010 to run for governor only to not even make it past the state convention).
Also in Erie County, there will be a special election triggered by the resignation of Republican Assemblyman James Hayes. Democrat Craig Bucki will face Republican Raymond Walter. If Bucki wins, Democrats will have a supermajority in the Assembly. (h/t David Nir) Finally, Democrat Maria Whyte and Republican Christopher Jacobs will face off in a special election for Erie County Clerk, which was initiated by Kathy Hochul's election to Congress (h/t jmartin4s).
Another marquee race, Democrat Liz Mathis and Republican Cindy Golding face off in a race for control of the state senate. If Mathis wins, Democrats will retain control at 26-24. If Golding wins, the senate will be split 25-25, meaning that Democrats and Republicans would have to form a power-sharing arrangement. Democratic Majority Leader Mike Gronstal says he won't allow a vote on same-sex marriage to come to the floor under any circumstances, but just in case there's any funny business, we really need to root for a Mathis victory. Democrats have outpaced Republicans in early voting, but Republicans traditionally do better in election day voting in Iowa, so hang on to your hats!
Incumbent San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee was appointed after the previous mayor, Gavin Newsom, resigned to become Lieutenant Governor. There are sixteen candidates running, and I won't list all of them, but these seem to be the heavyweights: Incumbent Lee, State Senator Leland Yee, former Supervisor Bevan Dufty (who would be the city's first openly gay mayor if elected), and City Attorney Dennis Herrera. San Francisco has IRV, so second choices matter. To my knowledge the election is technically nonpartisan but in this super-liberal city, all of the candidates (at least the serious ones) are Democrats.
In Seattle, Sharon Peaslee, Kate Martin, Michelle Buetow, and Marty McLaren all appear to be challenging incumbents on the school board from the left. The whole state will also be voting on Initiative 1183, where a YES vote would close all state-run liquor stores (they have those?!) and instead place an extra fee on alcohol retailers and distributors. (As a college student, I'd be tempted to vote NO if I lived there!) Since Washington votes by mail and only requires ballots to be postmarked by election day, I'm not sure if these races will be resolved on election night, though. (h/t seabos84 and jmartin4s)
Also, in Spokane, incumbent mayor Mary Verner will face right-wing Republican nutjob David Condon (although the race is technically nonpartisan).
We also have two special elections. LD-49 is a Dem-leaning seat (54 Murray, 46 Rossi) in Vancouver, and appointed incumbent Democrat Sharon Wylie and Craig Riley (lolol rhyming names) are facing off for the State House. This election was triggered by the sudden resignation of Democrat Jim Jacks. Interestingly enough, Wylie used to be a state legislator in Oregon back in the 90s. She has outspent Riley pretty significantly.
Meanwhile, on the State Senate side of things, LD-4 will see a special election triggered by the death of Republican senator Bob McCaslin. Two Republicans, Mike Padden and Jeff Baxter, are facing off in this 62-38 McCain district. Padden is best known for casting one of WA's electoral votes for Reagan in 1976 even though Gerald Ford won the state. Baxter is the appointed incumbent - I guess we should cheer for him because Padden is an extreme Reaganophile, but Republicans are Republicans. (h/t meekermariner)