With November creeping ever closer, all eyes are focused on the congressional races that could redefine the American landscape for the next two years.
While they’ve taken a backseat to the federal elections, gubernatorial races across the country are also heating up as Nov. 2 gets ever closer.
While Virginia is not embroiled in a gubernatorial election (that’s two years away), some of the largest states are undergoing a test to see if their local politics will change colors as well, which could be telling for America as a whole. Two such places that are worth bringing to light are Alabama and California.
The Alabama gubernatorial race swerved from the usual and became dirtier than most. While the Republicans nominated Robert Bentley as their candidate to succeed the Republican incumbent, the Democrats finally decided to support Ron Sparks.
Sparks is an upset contender who carved out a portion of the African-American Democratic vote from his opponent, and swept up the rest of the support to win the Democratic nomination.
As a supporter of Obama’s healthcare, Sparks fights an uphill battle in a state that heavily disapproves of the current administration and considers him one of ‘them’ as well.
It doesn’t help that Sparks’ party has faced several arrests on corruption charges, just as Sparks endorsed the expansion of gaming and the option to make it taxable as part of his platform. This has given his opponent, Bentley, running on a ticket of a transparent government, to attack him on ethical grounds that have led to personal attacks at an earlier point than usual.
According to Rasmussen, Bentley has a 20-point lead in the polls. Given this is heading into the final month, it looks like Alabama will remain a thoroughly red state—at least in the Governor’s mansion.
California, however, looks like it may be ripe for a change. The most populous state in the U.S. is nearing the end of the “Governator’s” reign. Attorney General Jerry Brown and Ex-CEO of eBay Meg Whitman are running to fill his shoes. While Whitman surprisingly held a slight lead for almost all of the summer, Jerry Brown has slowly climbed up the polls as the deadline approaches.
This change is not so much Jerry Brown’s rise as it is Meg Whitman’s fall.
Relatively new to politics, she poured millions of her own personal wealth into her campaign to get name-recognition and broke a U.S. record in personal wealth spent in one campaign.
This tactic of drowning her opponent only showed her fiscal irresponsibility and highlighted Brown’s own talent as a fiscal hawk for patiently waiting for the final stretch before using his modest funds.
While that hurts, the critical blow is the controversy of Whitman employing an illegal immigrant as a maid and then firing her (which angers Latinos, a group she’s trying to reach).
All Brown must do now is let Whitman’s scandal grow, which could be the first disastrous Republican campaign of the year. This could be a turning point in the American elections, for where the big states go, the little states are likely to follow.