Everyone seems to offer predictions for the outcome for Tuesday’s election. I have never been one to predict elections. A sage political operative told me long ago, “Just when you think that you can predict the American electorate, you will be disappointed every time.” And he was right.
Rather, I will offer my suggestions of what to watch for on Tuesday night on national, regional, state and local elections.
National: I have no idea who will win on Tuesday. I am supporting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. What to watch are the following: Philadelphia suburbs, western Michigan, and coal mining areas of VA and WV breaking for Romney. If those three areas go for Romney, then these states go for Romney. Late closing states, including Iowa will be affected by that news. Iowa polls close at 9PM. Even if the results from the eastern states impact just .5% of the vote in Iowa, it is close enough here to make a difference. Also, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. This presidential election, I believe will be won or lost from either side in a handful of Ohio counties and east of I-35 in Iowa.
Regional: Todd Akin in Missouri is the seat that will decide the control of the US Senate. I believe that Scott Brown has lost in MA and George Allen is not going to win in VA. If Todd Akin loses because the NRSC and the national PACs would not engage in this race and the Senate is lost, this will be a huge hit for those groups. How will Todd Akin do? Recent polling has him from 2 pts up to 5 pts down, but with Claire McCaskill consistently below 50%. She has been a fixture in Missouri politics for over 20 years. Missourians know her and she still can not get above this threshold. Bad news for her. Todd Akin’s favorables are not good either; ironically, Mitt Romney’s coattails very well could help Akin. Also, in Missouri, 6 of the 8 Congressional districts will be won overwhelmingly by Republican incumbents. What to watch: Margins of victory for Todd Akin in St. Charles County, 7th Congressional District (SW Missouri) and the I-44 corridor. For Claire McCaskill watch her margins in St. Louis and Jackson Counties. Jefferson County is the firewall for her as well.
State: Iowa is a mess. Our politics are so convoluted because of the caucuses that both parties are in disarray. There are no statewide candidates on the ballot this year, but 4 contested Congressional races, 100 state house seats, and 25 state senate seats. Watch the Tom Latham race in the 3rd District in the only matchup between two incumbents. If Congressman Latham can win big in Polk County to defeat Leonard Boswell, look for a good night for the Romney/Ryan team in Iowa. Ben Lange is in a rematch with Bruce Braley in the newly configured CD1. Watch results in Linn and Dubuque Counties to know how this race will go. In CD2, which is arguably the least favorable for GOP candidates, watch Scott County. If John Archer can come out of his home turf, Scott County, with a winning margin to overcome Johnson and Wapello Counties, he will beat the ‘most ineffective member of the Iowa Congressional Delegation’. Watch Johnson County results as well. Anything above 35% in this bluest of blue counties will be a winning night for Archer coupled with a strong showing in his home county. If Steve King loses, well, pack in folks. But here I will make a prediction, King 55% Christie “Carpetbagger” Vilsack 45%
Iowa House stays with a comfortable GOP majority. Look for some upsets though. Some unexpected results for incumbents and newcomers may be in store.
Iowa Senate will be decided by the special election to be held in December to fill the vacancy left by the death of Sen. Pat Ward. On election night, the GOP squeaks out a 2 vote majority, only to be tested in December. (And you people in Polk and Dallas Counties thought that the phone calls would end???)
An unknown in Iowa is the effect of the Ron Paul voters. Will they fall into line with the GOP or will they continue to look for those candidates who are Pure Paul? The state party is under their control and they will be either vilified for defeats or will be able to have an “I told you so” attitude. Either way, the Iowa GOP is in dire need of an infusion of common sense. Look for some interesting alliances to form after the election as we move into the next election cycle—statewide elections to be held in 2014. Oh, and Tom Harkin’s seat will be up that year. Will Tom decide that it is time to move on? Depends upon the results of the congressional races I think.
On the Supreme Court Justice retention vote, I will predict that Justice Wiggins will not be retained and this will be the last of these votes to be held because with a GOP House and Senate, Iowa voters will finally get an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage and bringing an end to this disaster caused by an overreaching judiciary. Judges in Iowa, and other states will think again before legislating from the bench. Now if we could just get federal judges put up for a retention vote. (how fun would that be?)
Locally: In Johnson County there is a ballot initiative for a $48M Justice Center (aka jail and county courthouse complex). This has the GOP united and the Johnson County Dems split. If the Iowa City results start coming back with a majority of no votes, then this will go down in flames. If this can get a 55% yes vote out of Iowa City, then its chances for passage improve. It needs a 60% supermajority to pass.
So there it is. You are welcome to comment on Wednesday morning to congratulate me or tell me that I need to find something else to do in my spare time. No matter what, I know that for the past 3 years I have done my very best to work for candidates who in my opinion are the best leaders for our country. I have tremendous confidence in the American people to do the right thing. Even if the candidates that I have supported are not elected, I will abide by the decision and be ready for what comes next.