# Maine

Election day open thread

This thread is for any comments or predictions about any election happening today. I expect turnout in Windsor Heights to be relatively high for a local election; this is the most competitive race for mayor and city council that I can remember. I’ve received GOTV calls on behalf of several candidates.

The Virginia governor’s race looks like a blowout for Republican Bob McDonnell. The conservative Creigh Deeds won the primary on an electability argument, but we might have been better off with a candidate who excited the Democratic base more. Probably we would have lost the governor’s race, but with less damage done down-ticket.

The New Jersey governor’s race is a dead heat according to the Pollster.com polling average, but my hunch is that Republican Chris Christie is going to pull out a narrow win. The independent candidate, Chris Daggett, will be buried way down the ballot with a bunch of no-hopers, and I feel that a lot of his leaners will land with Christie when the ballot is in front of them. Given where the race stood in the summer, it’s a miracle that Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine has any prayer of pulling this out in the middle of a severe recession.

Mark “mystery pollster Blumenthal and Chris Bowers also give a slight edge to Christie in this race.

I am cautiously optimistic about no winning the Prop 1 battle in Maine, although the most recent poll of that race showed the yes position ahead. A “yes” vote would overturn same-sex marriage rights, which the Maine legislature approved and the governor signed into law earlier this year. The No on 1 forces have a strong ground game and appear to have banked a lot of early votes there. The main problem is that younger voters are less likely to turn out for an off-year election, and older voters are less likely to support marriage equality. Adam Bink reports from the ground:

The field team is firing on all cylinders. Biggest concern is youth turnout in off-year. In 2005, an anti-discrimination ballot initiative went our way and we had one campus field organizer for the whole state. This year we have nine. But the numbers are tight as hell, and if turnout is like a normal election year, we’ll lose. Everyone is saying we have to execute a flawless [GOTV] program.

New York’s 23rd district will be an easy win for conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, who forced moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava out of the race over the weekend. Although Scozzafava endorsed Democrat Bill Owens and recorded a robocall on his behalf, this district just has too strong a Republican lean for a Democrat to win, in my opinion.

Looking on the bright side, the parade of national Republican politicians and commentators behind Hoffman will crush future GOP recruiting efforts in districts where they need moderates to win. There could be no clearer sign that moderates are unwelcome in the Republican Party. I expect the fallout to affect recruiting for state-level races as well as Congressional ones.

What do you think about any of these races, or local elections in your community?

UPDATE: Unusually heavy turnout (for a local election) in Windsor Heights today. I voted around 3:15 and was voter number 241. An election worker told me there are 1,211 registered voters in my precinct, so even before the after-work rush, turnout was above 20 percent.  

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Iowans, please support equality in Maine, Michigan and Washington

A public vote on marriage equality is years away in Iowa, but next Tuesday, Maine residents will vote on Proposition 1, an effort to overturn civil marriage rights for gays and lesbians. Several polls have shown narrow leads for the No on 1 campaign, which is trying to protect marriage equality. However, Stand for Marriage Maine has been well-funded and is running a pretty good closing television ad for the “yes” position.

Meanwhile, Washington state voters are considering Referendum 71, which would “retain the domestic partnership laws that were passed during this year’s legislative session, including using sick leave to care for a partner, adoption rights, insurance rights, and more.”

In addition, next Tuesday voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan will decide next Tuesday whether to overturn a local ordinance for housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for gay and transgender residents.

Phone-bankers are needed in Maine and Washington, and on-the-ground volunteers are needed in Kalamazoo.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to volunteer, please consider donating to any or all of these efforts at this ActBlue page.

After the jump I’ve cross-posted information from the Courage Campaign with more details on the ballot initiatives in Maine, Washington and Kalamazoo.

Iowans who support equality should step up during the next five days. We may need help from groups like the Courage Campaign if Republicans are able to push a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage through the Iowa Legislature.

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Iowans not eager to overturn marriage equality

Marriage equality is here to stay in Iowa, if the latest statewide poll for the Des Moines Register is any guide:

Forty-one percent say they would vote for a [constitutional amendment to] ban [same-sex marriage], and 40 percent say they would vote to continue gay marriage. The rest either would not vote or say they are not sure. […]

The overwhelming majority of Iowans – 92 percent – say gay marriage has brought no real change to their lives. […]

The poll shows that 26 percent of Iowans favor April’s unanimous court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, 43 percent oppose it and 31 percent don’t care much or are not sure.

Despite the 43 percent opposition to the ruling, 61 percent of Iowans say other issues will influence their decision on whether to vote to retain Iowa Supreme Court justices in the 2010 elections.

Selzer and Co. surveyed 803 Iowans between September 14 and 16, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

I recommend clicking through to view the chart showing the breakdown by party affiliation on this issue. Among independents, only 44 percent either oppose or strongly oppose the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision that cleared the way for marriage equality, while 32 percent “don’t care much” and 22 percent either favor or strongly favor it.

Many Iowa Republicans are convinced that they can gain traction in next year’s legislative elections by bashing statehouse Democrats who oppose a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. However, the Republican candidate fell just short in the recent special election in Iowa House district 90, even though the National Organization for Marriage poured nearly $90,000 into ads supporting the Republican because of the marriage issue. (The NOM plans to be involved in next year’s Iowa elections as well.)

A poll commissioned by The Iowa Republican blog in July indicated that two-thirds of Iowans wanted a public vote on same-sex marriage, but that poll framed the question as follows: “The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled gay marriages can legally be conducted in the state. Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, do you think Iowa voters should have the chance to vote on a traditional marriage amendment to the constitution or is the issue best decided by the Supreme Court?” Todd Dorman was right to point out that it would have been more enlightening to ask respondents how they would vote on a marriage amendment.

The Register’s poll could strengthen the hand of Republicans like Doug Gross, who have been saying all year that the GOP should downplay divisive social issues and focus on the economy in next year’s elections. On the other hand, 51 percent of Republicans surveyed by Selzer and Co strongly oppose the Supreme Court decision, while 11 percent just oppose the decision, 27 percent don’t care much and only 10 percent either favor or strongly favor it. Gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats promises to issue an executive order on day one halting same-sex marriages if elected, and he will find plenty of support among the Republican rank and file.

I’ve been telling my friends, “Don’t worry, be happy,” since the Iowa Supreme Court announced its Varnum v Brien decision in April. I figured that with each passing year, more Iowans would understand that no one is harmed and thousands are helped by granting gays and lesbians civil marriage rights. I also felt that Republicans would not be able to win many races on this issue in 2010, let alone in subsequent years. Still, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a poll this year showing majority support for overturning the Supreme Court ruling. Learning that a constitutional amendment on marriage lacks majority support even now makes me that much more optimistic. (UPDATE: Forgot to add that Iowa has a lengthy constitutional amendment process.)

Now it’s imperative to defeat Proposition 1 in Maine this November. Please help if you can.

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