The Note: Asking for the Vote

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8

NEWS SUMMARY

It is Election Day 2005, and isn't it exciting to be a member of the national news media covering it all???!!???

Not according to Republican National Committee spokesguy Danny Diaz, who tells the Boston Globe regarding today's two gubernatorial contests: ''We need to look at these for what they are: local races based on local candidates and their views. I don't know that these races are determinate of larger trends."

Begging to differ, the New York Post, which leads one story thusly: "If there's one race in America where President Bush's prestige is clearly on the line today, it's the neck-and-neck Virginia governor's race."

The Note has watched in amusement in the last 24 hours as national political analysts have gone on TV to say, in effect, "stop us, before we over-analyze again."

Mr. Diaz's wise words notwithstanding, no matter what happens, both parties will spin the results of today's elections.

At this writing, we do not see any broad national political themes emerging in the few electoral contests of interest. These races will indeed be fought and won on local issues and the personalities of those on the ballot. And there will be very little exit polling that will allow us to make broader judgments.

But we are willing to wait for the results and see what emerges. Any party that might win both gubernatorial contests at least earns the right to try out its spin on skeptical ears.

We feel confident in saying that a certain New York City mayor will be stronger tomorrow than he is today, that a certain West Coast governor is likely to be weaker, and that a certain President has got bigger problems to deal with than losing a race or two.

Democrats are defending two open gubernatorial seats in New Jersey and Virginia. Republican Michael Bloomberg is running for reelection as mayor of New York City without any public involvement from the RNC or the White House. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has staked much political capital on four ballot initiatives in California -- also without any public involvement from the national party in his Democratic-leaning state.

President Bush's diminished approval rating caused a couple of Democratic candidates (Corzine and Ferrer) to do their best to tie their opponents to the national party and the President, including with TV advertising, but it is not clear how much of an impact these ads have had on the contests.

In Virginia, polls open at 6:00 am ET and close at 7:00 pm ET. For results: LINK

In New Jersey, polls open at 6:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET. For results: LINK

In New York City, polls open at 6:00 am ET and close at 9:00 pm ET. For results: LINK

In California, polls open at 10:00 am ET and close at 11:00 pm ET. For results: LINK

Many voters across the country will also be electing mayors today including in Detroit, Boston, Houston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Paul, San Diego, and Pittsburgh.

Maine voters will decide whether to repeal a state law banning discrimination against gays. Ohio voters are weighing changes to the way the state draws its congressional districts. Another ballot measure would give an independent panel -- rather than the elected/partisan secretary of state -- oversight of its elections.

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