If You’re in New Jersey, Remember to Vote Today

Dave Weigel did a tour through New Jersey over the weekend, and posted a whole bunch of good stuff, including an interview with Barbara “Oh yeah — the Democrat” Buono. And a long, dispiriting piece on “Christie, Getting Ready to Go National“:

… The last poll taken on the governor’s race before Hurricane Sandy put Buono down by 16 points to Christie. The first poll taken after the storm put her down by 38 points. Since then, she has never trailed by less than 18 points. This deficit understates how well Christie has outplayed Buono, and the impossible time she’s had looking for a consistent message against him. She’s tried to convince the state’s reliable Democrats to bail on Christie over his opposition to gay marriage, over his thwarting of a gun control bill, over the fact that he will probably run for president. In one of her final TV ads, Buono talks straight to camera about how she’s “the only one running for governor.”…

“She keeps saying he’s going to run for president,” says voter Jim Logan at Christie’s Somers Point rally. “Who cares? Some people think that’s a good idea. She shoulda fired whoever was working for her and she should have focused on property taxes.”

Too late to speculate. The governor has steadily won over local Democratic power brokers, even ones who (pre-Sandy) said they’d never back him. Their big idea: Spare the Democrats in the state legislature from the fallout of a Buono rout. It’s working, according to Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg. “We’re up in our tracking polls,” she tells me at a Democratic campaign office. Even that Rutgers-Eagleton poll, which Democrats don’t trust (it was 10 points off in the October race for U.S. Senate) has them up by 6 points in the race for the legislature. Christie’s “cult of personality,” as Weinberg calls it, hasn’t been transferred to Republicans. He’s outspent Buono; Democrat-aligned independent expenditures have buried the Republican candidates down the ballot…

Christie’s candidate, Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles, smiles and waves as the governor praised him. Not far away, in the highly diverse crowd, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. grinned at the prospect of taking the majority. All voters needed to do, said Christie, was vote straight down the ballot—“you’re not gonna vote for Buono anyway.” But neither in Atlantic City nor in Somers Point, both rallies attended by Balles, did Christie mention any particular policy he was stymied from doing because he didn’t have a Republican Senate. In Virginia, the struggling campaign of gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli insists that it’s gaining as the candidate makes the election a “referendum on Obamacare.” Christie never mentions Obamacare, or Obama, or any national political issue more specific than Washington’s status as a sick joke…

“Last election, for Cory Booker, that Senate election, did you know that three out of four people did not vote?” asks Buono. “It was the lowest voter turnout in our history for a general election. Cory Booker has twice as many people following him on Twitter! This governor wants to disenfranchise people. He wants you to think it’s over. Why else did he veto a bill we sent him that would have allowed in-person early voting?”

That Senate race might be left out of Wednesday morning analysis. Christie, empowered to set an election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, could have bundled it with the Nov. 5 race. He opted to set the Senate race for Oct. 16, a Wednesday—“People were showing up on Tuesday thinking they could vote!” says Buono—which unbuckled the fate of Buono or Jim Whelan from the fate of Cory Booker…

Voter suppression — the softer side. So hip!

Where is ACORN when you need it?

Tuesday is Election Day and I’ll be following the results on the school bond issue I’ve been helping with here. I’ve been working primarily with two younger women – one is the head of the Young Republicans, a stay-at-home mom and school volunteer and the other is a young woman who was the volunteer coordinator for our local Obama effort in 2012.

The (mostly) Republicans on the bond committee approached me and asked me to help and I then asked the Obama volunteer, Amanda, for help. She was generous enough to agree and she’s put together all of the information we’ve collected canvassing so we have a list of “yes” voters for GOTV on election day. Amanda is a single mom, her son is 9 years old, and he attends the public school that will benefit most from the bond issue. She went from agreeing to help because I called her and begged her to taking this whole thing very personally and emailing me every 4 minutes with completely speculative “updates” on what she overheard at McDonalds or whatever.

I don’t have any sense of how it’s going to go. We have a mayoral race that is on the ballot so that might generate some turnout, but our mayoral races are non-partisan and we have a “weak mayor” structure where the city council has all of the power so it doesn’t matter who wins that, really. I voted for the incumbent because I like him personally. He canvassed my house yesterday. After I told him I already voted for him he asked me how I think the school bond will go and I told him I don’t know. Republicans here over-rate my political predicting abilities, generally, after they all thought Obama would lose in 2008 and then again in 2012 and I told them he would win, so the mayor asked in a pleading way, hoping for good news or thinking I was going to pull some ACORN magic out of my hat. He then said with real certainty “it will be close” in this sort of grim way, and maybe he’s right.

The unofficial count on local races and issues here are announced in the entry area of the courthouse, so people who are candidates or otherwise very invested in the results gather at the courthouse and wait for the Board of Elections member to arrive and read the vote totals. This count will be quick because they’re only tallying about 5000 votes. I don’t go as a general rule, and I probably won’t go this time either because the GOTV will be run out of my house and it’s unlikely I’m putting my shoes back on once I’m back at my house after the polls close.

What races are you watching?

This is a pretty good preview of state and local races one might want to watch.

Open Thread: Another Liberal Dem Running for the House

Among the many news stories that got overlooked while the GOP terrorists were holding the economy for ransom: Massachusetts had a primary on Tuesday for Ed Markey’s old seat in the House of Representatives. Senator Warren sent out an email that she wasn’t endorsing any candidate “because we are lucky to have a number of great candidates. The men and women running in this election have a tremendous amount to offer to the Commonwealth, and many of them worked their hearts out for our campaign last year…”, Katherine Clark had a head start at fundraising, plus the endorsement of EMILY’s List. Peter Koutoujian was spoken well of by people I trust, including Charles P. Pierce and the owner of Waltham’s Back page Books. Carl Sciortino had the best YouTube ad.

Results, per the Boston Globe:

State Senator Katherine M. Clark bested six Democratic rivals Tuesday, winning her party’s nomination in the race to succeed Edward J. Markey in the House of Representatives and setting her on course to probably become the state’s newest member of Congress.

Clark, a Melrose lawyer, captured 31.6 percent of the vote. Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian and state Representative Carl M. Sciortino trailed with 22 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively.

As the Democratic nominee in a liberal district north and west of Boston — one that voted by more than 30 percentage points for President Obama over Mitt Romney last November — Clark is now the strong favorite going into the December general election. She will face Frank J. Addivinola Jr., who won the Republican primary Tuesday night…

Now, my fellow Massholes, it’s up to us to show up and vote on December 10 to make sure that the Repub carpetbagger goes back where he belongs (Boston).

Unskew the polls!

We had a Democratic mayoral primary last night as mistermix mentioned. Just to emphasize the point he made (and throw in some links), a Siena (pretty respected pollster) poll showed a few days ago:

Richards Lead Over Warren Increases to 36 Points

Here’s what actually happened:

Warren defeated Richards with 58 percent of the vote. Richards received 42 percent of the vote.

Turn-out was very low. I didn’t vote myself because I had a meeting scheduled on me at the last minute…and because I thought it was a done deal after the Siena Poll.

Because this is New York State, there’s a million lines to run on and they’ll do this all over again in November with one additional Green Party candidate.

A friend of mine just started a local political blog. Here’s his take on it.

Show your hand


I saw that Cuccinelli in Virginia released his education plan (pdf) so I thought I’d compare his work to model bills churned out by ALEC, the corporate-owned state law factory.


Review and reform teaching requirements and establish paths to teacher licensure external to education institutions.

Model Law that corporations wrote:

Offer teaching credentials to individuals with subject-matter experience but no education background with the Alternative Certification Act, introduced in seven states.


Create and expand Virtual Classrooms. Provide legislation that will eliminate barriers to successful implementation of a virtual school curriculum such as seat-time, pupil-teacher ratios and high school course hour requirements.

Model law that corporations wrote:

Send taxpayer dollars to unaccountable online school providers through the “Virtual Schools Act,” introduced in three states, where a single teacher remotely teaches a “class” of hundreds of isolated students working from home. The low overhead for virtual schools certainly raises company profits, but it is a model few educators think is appropriate for young children.

Ohio was the poster child of online for-profit K-12 scams for years, but now I think Pennsylvania has us beat. Here’s great reporting out of Maine with details on all the sleaze. As usual, there’s a Bush brother involved.


Enact Parent Empowerment And Choice Act Legislation For Parents In Failing Schools.

Model law that corporations wrote:

Create opportunities to privatize public schools or fire teachers and principals via referendum with the controversial Parent Trigger Act (glorified in the flop film “Won’t Back Down”), introduced in twelve states.

Here’s an inspiring story about how parents in Florida banded together and beat Michelle Rhee’s lobby shop when they parachuted into that state to sell Parent Trigger. I’m waiting for a movie about how grass roots public school parents beat Michelle Rhee and Jeb Bush but I’m not holding my breath. That’s a movie that will never be made.

For the second straight year, significant parent opposition to “parent trigger” legislation in Florida has led to defeat in the legislature despite powerful supporters, including former governor Jeb Bush. The parent trigger campaign in Florida has recently been marked some unusual episodes, including the gathering of signatures on a pro-parent trigger petition by StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee’s advocacy group, that includes names of people who didn’t sign it. Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano said in this piece that the petition backfired: The petition was supposed to prove this pro-charter school legislation had grass roots support among parents, but instead it highlighted what critics have been saying all along: This law is about pushing Jeb Bush’s education agenda, and little else.

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