The media is often used as a sounding board, but more often used by non-members of an organization to get their point across, because of the lack of listening from various organizations. This technique is specifically poignant as an important national election is on the horizon.
A loss rocked the political spectrum last week, as Minnesota Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. The plane crash took the lives of Senator Wellstone’s wife, daughter, two pilots and three members of his staff.
Wellstone was viewed as a loner fighting with a liberal voice and speaking his mind with conviction. In his last political vote, he spoke up against force against Iraq, like his first vote in the Senate against the Gulf War. Senator Wellstone rose to power shocking many in 1990, winning a Senate seat, coming from his background as a university professor.
The Democratic and Republican parties were shocked by the news, which leaves the election in a state of confusion. Norm Coleman, the Republican Candidate, must wait for the Democratic Party to decide if it will leave Senator Wellstone’s name on the ballot or select a replacement. According to Minnesota law, a new nomination must be filed within seven days. The election will take place on Nov. 5, with the control of the Senate in question.
In a year with 36 gubernatorial races, 34 Senate campaigns and 435 House seats on ballots, no single issue dominates. A recent Wall Street Journal-NBC poll found that 47 percent of those surveyed cited the economy as the most important issue, but 39 percent selected terrorism and Iraq, according to ABC news.
Republicans hold power in governors, currently holding 27 to 21 for the Democrats and two independents. Among the many races for Congress, there are four incumbent verse incumbent races.
One of the most notable races is Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District, with Democrat Congressman James Maloney facing off against Congresswoman Nancy Johnson. Johnson is currently ahead of Maloney by a large margin and looked as the odds on favorite to represent this newly aligned district. Republican Governor Rowland and Congressman Rob Simmons of the Second Congressional District look like they will also represent Connecticut voters after Nov. 5.
If you were a resident of the Fifth District, you could turn on the television and see one negative campaign advertisements after the next. They seemed to work like clock work, as one party bashes the other, attempting to alter perception and garner support.
Democratic Representative John Baldacci is favored in Maine’s governor’s race. Republican Senator Susan Collins is good for second term. Republican Kevin Raye is still in a battle with Democrat Michael Michaud in competitive race for Baldacci’s House seat.
Democratic state Treasurer Shannon O’Brien faces Utah Olympics organizer and Massachusetts Senate candidate Mitt Romney for governor in Massachusetts. Senator John Kerry is a lock to keep his seat while tuning up for 2004 Democratic presidential campaign.
Republican Craig Benson of New Hampshire is favored over Democrat Mark Fernald for Governor, while neither Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen nor Rep. John Sununu have established a clear lead in the Senate race. Recent polls favor Republicans in battle for Sununu’s House seat.
After the great ballot switch, former Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg seems ahead of Republican Douglas Forrester to succeed Senator Robert Torricelli in New Jersey. Most Republicans would love to cry foul play in this race, as Torricelli quit and let a better candidate take his spot.
Governor George Pataki is favored for re-election over state Comptroller H. Carl McCall in New York’s most notable race. Spending roughly $40 million is Billionaire Tom Golisano, currently in third place after a most recent poll. First-term Republican Representative Felix Grucci faces a tough challenge for a House seat from Long Island.
Former Philadelphia Democratic Mayor Ed Rendell is a heavy favorite in the gubernatorial race. Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Tom Holden and Republican Rep. George Gekas are in a close and expensive campaign for a House seat.
Polls show a very close race for governor between Democrat Myrth York and Republican Donald Carcieri in Rhode Island. While Democratic Incumbent Senator Jack Reed looks like he’ll retain his seat easily.
In Vermont, Democrat Doug Racine appears narrowly ahead of Republican Jim Douglas for governor.
Republicans find themselves in a position and an opportunity to gain Congressional seats, that seemed improbable before Sept. 11, 2001. The party in power in the White House has lost seats at every midterm election except three since Abraham Lincoln was president. The White House’s party last gained Senate seats at a midterm election in 1982 when Ronald Reagan was president.