by Todd Beeton, Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 07:15:02 AM EST
Happy election day! Are you voting? What's the buzz on the ground? What's the turnout like? Here is a round-up of the more high-profile races being decided today:
In Kentucky, the Ernie Fletcher/Steve Beshear showdown is finally upon us. Democratic challenger Beshear goes into election day with a double digit lead over the incumbent and as TPM alerts us, the GOP is getting desperate.
Just yesterday, in an effort to boost his prospects among conservative voters, Fletcher put up a display containing the Ten Commandments in the state Capitol Rotunda, and a robocall from Pat Boone is warning that Beshears will work for "every homosexual cause."
Now comes word of a second anti-Beshear robocall with an anti-gay-themed message. This one purports to be from an actual gay rights organization in Kentucky and touts Beshears' support for "the homosexual lobby." But the group, Fairness.org, denies any being responsible for the call. The Fletcher campaign also denies any involvement.
This sounds to me to be all very 2004. Does this shit still work? We'll get a sense today. Local blog Bluegrass Report doesn't think it will and predicts a 61%-39% Beshear blowout. Would love to see Kentuckians send such a loud and clear message today.
Religion is playing a part in the Mississippi gubernatorial race as well where Democratic challenger John Arthur Eaves, Jr. has tried to puncture the goodwill Barbour received as a result of his response to Hurricane Katrina by tying Barbour to corruption.
Barbour's opponent, Democratic trial lawyer John Arthur Eaves Jr., quoted Scripture when he accused the governor of being beholden to "moneychangers" such as big tobacco, oil and insurance companies through his old Washington lobbying firm.
Barbour responded in a recent debate by reciting a passage from the Book of Daniel in which a hand appears out of nowhere to write a message on the wall of the temple in Babylon. If another hand appeared and wrote out a denial of Eaves' allegations, Barbour said, "that wouldn't be good enough for my opponent."
Conventional wisdom has it that Barbour will skate to an easy re-election.
In Virginia, hundreds of local races are being decided, the most significant of which will be in the state senate where Democrats need a net gain of just 4 seats to win control. Marc Ambinder puts the Democrats' chances this way:
Democrats are poised to take control of the State Senate (unless immigration gets in their way, which is possible).
If immigration is going to be a thorn in the side of Democrats next year, Virginia may tell us today. WaPo has more on what voters will be deciding today:
Voters will signal what direction government should take on such high-profile issues as immigration policy, improving traffic and managing growth. Their choices will indicate whether they approve of a transportation plan devised last winter by Republican lawmakers that funnels hundreds of millions to Northern Virginia roads and transit system but imposes steep new fees on the state's worst drivers. And in races in which candidates have focused on immigration policy, they will indicate whether they want action on this emotional issue at the state and local level.
Polls in Virginia close at 7pm EST and as always, check out Raising Kaine for local coverage.
The AP has a rundown of some ballot measures that are being decided today as well:
Several states were voting on ballot measures, including a Utah proposal that would create the nation's first statewide school voucher program open to all families. If approved, the plan would grant $500 to $3,000, depending on income, for each child sent to private school. Unlike other voucher plans geared toward low-income students or those in failing schools, Utah's plan would be available to anyone, even affluent families in well-performing districts.
Oregon voters considered a measure to raise the cigarette tax by 84.5 cents a pack -- to $2.02 -- to fund health insurance for about 100,000 children now lacking coverage. Tobacco companies opposing the plan have outspent supporters by a 4-1 margin, contributing nearly $12 million.
New Jersey voters were deciding a referendum authorizing the state to borrow $450 million over 10 years to finance stem cell research. The Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups opposed the measure, which was placed on the ballot by the Legislature with strong backing from Gov. Jon Corzine.
Check out Swing State Project for a more comprehensive list of races to watch and each state's poll closing times.
What races are you watching today?
Update [2007-11-6 12:50:48 by Todd Beeton]:Progressive Majority is doing some excellent and largely unheralded work at the local level around the country. Check out a rundown of all the great progressive candidates whose races will be decided today HERE.