2011 Campaign

Lessons from Election 2011

John Avlon: “In past recessions, populist anger was directed at either big business or big government. Now voter anger is directed at both, and the two parties are having a hard time adjusting their left/right playbooks to account for this shift. The anti-incumbent narrative likewise failed last night, as Kentucky Democrat Beshear was easily reelected. Instead, there seem to be a consistent impulse to reject ideological overreach, a reassuring sign of rational ticket-splitting even in this overheated political environment. Neither party should feel false confidence heading into 2012.”

First Read: “Voters punished elected officials for going too far. They might not be
happy with public-sector unions, but they don’t support taking away
their collective-bargaining rights (especially for first-responders).
They might be against abortion in Mississippi, but don’t want to
potentially outlaw things like birth control. They might be troubled by
illegal immigration, but they don’t want their elected officials to look
like they are targeting on specific community. They might believe
government should do something about health care, but they don’t want to
be forced to buy insurance. And they might be concerned about the idea
of voter fraud, but they don’t want to lose rights they had. Politicians
may be pushing absolutes, but voters are sending a different message.”

Maine Repeals Voter Registration Changes

Maine voters “repealed a law requiring voters to enroll at least two
days before an election, restoring a four-decade policy of allowing
registrations as late as Election Day,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

“The referendum was put on Tuesday’s ballot through a ‘people’s veto’
initiative after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a law in
June requiring voters to register at least two business days before an
election is held. Maine’s tradition of allowing “same day” voter
registrations began with a law passed in 1973.”

Bryant Will Be Next Governor of Mississippi

Phil Bryant (R) won the Mississippi governor’s race, headily defeating Johnny DuPree (D) to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour, who couldn’t seek a third term as governor, the Clarion Ledger reports.

“The 56-year-old Bryant makes history as the first Republican to succeed another Republican as Mississippi governor in modern times. Barbour unseated a one-term Democrat in 2003.”

26 Recall Elections Today

Joshua Spivak points out that in an otherwise less-than-memorable Election Day, there will be at least 26 recall elections across the country today, including two big state legislative recalls — the first time in history that two states will have a state-level recalls on the same day.

It’s not clear if the recalls today is a record — because no one has kept statistics — but it does point to the growing use of the recall.

Five Races to Watch Tonight

The 2012 presidential election is less than a year away, but voters across the country head to the polls today to decide thousands of local races.

First Read is watching five contests: 1) the referendum on the anti-collective-bargaining law in Ohio, where polls close at 7:30 pm ET; 2) the governor’s race in Kentucky, where all polls close at 7:00 pm ET; 3) the governor’s race in Mississippi, where polls close at 8:00 pm ET; 4) the “personhood”/abortion amendment in Mississippi; and 5) the battle of control for the state Senate in Virginia, where polls close at 7:00 pm ET.

David Nir provides a handy “pocket guide” to today’s elections.

FBI Arrests Man for Extortion Threat Against Tomblin

The FBI alleges a Florida man “attempted an extortion plot that threatened to smear acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) in West Virginia’s upcoming special election for governor,” the AP reports.

The threat involved a video allegedly showing inhumane practices at an Oklahoma greyhound kennel. In the emails, the man says the campaign of Bill Maloney (R), wanted the video. Maloney has attacked Tomblin over his mother’s greyhound breeding business.

The special election is on Tuesday.

Running with a Record

The Concord Monitor reports that mayoral candidate John Cook spent a night in jail “after he was charged with disorderly conduct and exposing himself to two Concord police officers.”

“Cook has had three run-ins with the Concord police in recent years that have led to criminal charges, including a 2005 incident when he allegedly kicked two police officers as they took him to Concord Hospital while he was ‘heavily intoxicated,’ according to court records.”