Despite many people donating, volunteering, and trying to shine a light on the Louisiana runoff elections this month, fairly abysmal turnout coupled with the state’s general conservative bent resulted in Democrats Foster Campbell and Marshall Jones being defeated. As such, for those who wish to knock Donald Trump and his allies down a peg, their next chances will be 2017’s handful of major races. For liberals, moderates, progressives, and independents who are furious with the outcome of the 2016 election, the next round of skirmishes begins in January. This upcoming year year will only have a handful of races, so they can easily be divided up based on geography. If you live in the region where a race is taking place and can spare a few bucks, volunteer, or hound your family, friends, and acquaintances to vote here’s your next chance.
New Jersey Governor Race
Northerners are highly encouraged to get involved. After the way Chris Christie has dragged the Republican brand name into the ground in the state over the past two years, a Democratic victory should seemingly be all but assured. There are few sure things in politics, though, and thus northerners who want to stick it to Trump and his allies best get involved. Right now Democrats have at least two solid candidates to choose from, one a former Ambassador to Germany and the other a leader in the state assembly. That being said, New Jersey is more competitive at the state level than in presidential races.
New Jersey voters also have to guard against being conned by a deplorable masquerading as a moderate Republican. New Jersey once had a moderate Republican in Governor Christine Todd Whitman. She was about as middle of the road as they come in American politics, and for the most part did a respectable job as governor and later as head of the EPA. With Chris Christie, of course, voters thought they were getting another such breed of Republican. But unfortunately by his second term, Christie had revealed himself something of a crook. Sadly Governor Christie would fall lower going from a Trump critic who referred to the president elect as “painfully naive,” a “carnival barker,” and as acting like a “thirteen year old” before becoming a Trump lackey. As such, New Jersey voters would do well to pay close attention to their candidates lest they be fooled again. More details
Virginia Governor Race
As a Southerner, I sincerely hope people get involved and take this race seriously. With most of the South being blood red it is important to keep things competitive where they can be, and this race seems likely to be a tough one. While Virginia seems to be moving in an increasingly blue direction in presidential elections, state politics are highly competitive. The 2013 Governor’s race, for example, was decided by roughly sixty thousand votes. Due to Virginia’s practice of only allowing Governors to serve one term, Governor Terry McAuliffe (who recently made history restoring voting rights to ex felons) will be retiring. As of now his Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam is the only Democrat seeking to succeed him.
In 2013, Northam, a native Virginian, graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, and army physician was the perfect running mate for McAuliffe. The two balanced each other out well with McAuliffe being a New York liberal, and Northam a moderate southerner. Northam’s likely opponent Ed Gillespie, a former chairmen of the state’s Republican party, is a strong one particularly due to just how close he came to taking the popular Senator Warner’s seat in 2014. More details
New Jersey State Legislature
In addition to a gubernatorial election, New Jersey also has elections coming up for the General Assembly and state Senate. Presently, New Jersey is one of only about a dozen states where Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature.
Virginia House of Delegates
Presently Republicans hold a greater than thirty seat advantage in the state’s House of Delegates. As such Virginians should not just pay attention to the Governor’s race, but also their local elections. If this gap is not narrowed, there is only so much a Democratic Governor can do.
North Carolina General Assembly
Perhaps the most important legislative elections will take place in North Carolina where the General Assembly, will be having special elections due to court ordered redistricting (more details). These elections may be of crucial importance to the state’s political history. Despite being one of the most purple states in the nation, Republicans enjoy a super majority in both state chambers. Some of this is likely due to the simple shuffling of the deck with Republicans doing better in the state’s more numerous rural areas. A gulf this wide, though, is also likely the result of gerrymandering.
At the congressional level at least, North Carolina has some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation. That such a purple state would have ten Republican districts to three Democratic ones should strike most as odd. Odder still, the state’s three Democratic districts make absolutely zero geometric sense. As such the redrawing of the state’s legislative districts may result in the state becoming much more evenly balanced, or the same Republican majority that stripped incoming governor Roy Cooper of many of his executive powers may remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Kevin covers southern U.S. politics from Alabama