Election 2013 Preview: Races and Ballot Initiatives Worth Keeping an Eye On

It’s election day 2013, and just because it’s an odd year doesn’t mean that there aren’t some important races occurring. Today, the fate of two governor’s mansions, a number of state legislative seats and many mayoral races are up for grabs. What are the big races to watch today? Here are some key picks.

Governors: Both Virginia and New Jersey will be electing governors today, and national eyes are on both races. The governor’s race in Virginia is expected to be a nail-biter, even with Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a single digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Who wins is expected to depend on whether Democrats can turn out the women voters, who are far more supportive of McAuliffe, or if Republicans can rally the Christian conservative base enamored with Cuccinelli. With heavy hitters from both parties stumping for the candidates and a massive last minute get out the vote effort, it really is still anyone’s game.

The New Jersey governor’s race, on the other hand, isn’t much of a nail biter at all. Republican Chris Christie is expected to easily win over his opponent, Democratic candidate state Sen. Barbara Buono. In this race, the question isn’t really whether he will win but how much he will win by, a situation deliberately created when Gov. Christie decided to opt for a special senate election two weeks ago to ensure that there would be less reason for Democrats to come out on November 5. In this case, a massive win is expected to be a set up for a 2016 presidential bid, a scenario Gov. Christie hasn’t put much effort into denying.

In Virginia down ticket races are involved as well, with Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General both up for grabs. The most attention has been paid to the Lieutenant Governor race, where the Republican candidate has been so far out in right field that even his own party has edged away from him.

Legislatures: The Virginia House of Delegates is up for re-election, and top of the ticket issues could possibly flip the House from Republican to Democratic control, although that would be a pretty major shift. New Jersey is even less likely to flip from GOP to Democratic in their legislature, especially with so little going on at the top of the ticket.

Mayors: A number of cities are holding off year elections for mayor today. New York City appears to be poised to elect Democrat Bill de Blasio, who beat a tight field of other Democrats, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Rep. Anthony Weiner, for the party nomination earlier this fall. A number of other cities — such as Seattle, Wash., St. Paul, Minn., Houston, Texas, and other — have strong incumbents who aren’t facing serious challenges. In Detroit, Mich., the new mayor could depend on who looks like he will be best able to help the city recover from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Minneapolis, who is about to attempt instant run off voting and a “ranked choice” voting system, has 35 candidates on their ballot and no real frontrunner heading into election day.

Ballot initiatives: Some of the most interesting races this off election aren’t for offices but revolve around policy. Colorado’s Amendment 66 would raise additional money for public schools via a tax increase.

Also, Washington will vote on Initiative 522, which would force companies to label products that contain genetically modified foods and seeds. There’s just a little time left before this initiative is decided, but you can still tell Monsanto to stop funding campaigns opposing GMO labeling.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Keevin Shultz
Keevin Shultz5 years ago

I originally wrote this Oct 1, 2011, before the '12 election and it still seems to apply:
As they say "You ain't seen nothing yet." If you think it's bad now just wait and over time we will be in or near a depression. I'm afraid nothing is going to happen to help the economy and job situation before the election. President Obama has some good ideas but the house won't pass anything he wants despite the majority of people siding with the President. That takes us up to the 2012 election. One of two events will occur: 1. The people will finally wise up and vote a strong Democrat majority so reelected President Obama can tackle the economy and strong growth along with jobs will follow. 2. The repubs add to their gains and take the senate along with the house. (And I will be sick if President Obama loses!) The repubs with their false belief in a voter mandate will further cripple both the economy in the U.S. and around the world leading us into a depression or very close to one. Just to point out the obvious the gap between haves and havenots will widen leading to very probable riots in the U.S. and more around the world.
Reminds me of history when we studied the Dark Ages. We are possibly about to enter a new Dark Age.

Anne Moran
Anne Moran5 years ago

Yeah,, good idea to keep your eye on things...

John chapman
John chapman5 years ago

@ Barbara V.

Texas is getting ripe to start turning.

The fly in that ointment, is that because of the demographics.

It still won't not favor helping women in the area of reproductive rights.

Barbara V.
Barbara L5 years ago

I hope everyone who could vote did so. It is the day after elections and women made the difference in Virginia. Thank you!

Now if only we could turn Texas blue!

john hall
john hall5 years ago

Yes let's respect the V and say the hell with life that makes sence to me.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Thank you for the article...

Robert K.
Robert K5 years ago

Margaret Thatcher was a hateful moron when it came to doing what was good for her country. Socialism beats the bejabbers out of unregulated capitalism. All the nut jobs always talk about how bad socialism is, but never substantiate I, because they can't.

Keevin Shultz
Keevin Shultz5 years ago

Why Vote?
“Socialism works only until you run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher
Don't want to be a Socialist? We (the 99%) are already Socialists running out of money giving to (the 1%) and didn't even know it.

Birgit W.
Birgit W5 years ago