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Latest U.S. State & Local Elections Opinion & News Articles
  • More than 30 U.S. governors' races will be decided on Tuesday, with more than a dozen considered too close to call and a large number of incumbents struggling to defend their economic policies as they seek to remain in office. Hot-button issues from gun control to abortion restrictions and healthcare figure in some races. For many voters, however, the economy has remained the central issue. An uneven recovery could prove the undoing of several incumbents, including the governors of Kansas and Pennsylvania, who are being held accountable for their states' fiscal woes.
  • A freak early-season snowstorm has paralyzed large parts of Maine, leaving thousands without power and putting a damper on today's election. Some parts of the state recorded up to 21 inches of snow. CentralMaine.com reports that up to 65,000 residents were still without power as of Monday, and some towns had to change their polling locations because of the outage.
  • Rick Scott, once the nation's most unpopular governor, has managed to secure reelection in a race against former governor Charlie Crist. Crist had been a longtime Republican who switched parties, first to independent to run against Sen. Marco Rubio, and then to Democrat to run against Scott. Florida voters don't seem to have appreciated Crist's ever-shifting loyalties, even as they despised Scott almost as much. The race was a virtual toss up in the polls right up until the last week of the campaign, when Crist seemed to gain momentum. But Scott seems to have managed to mobilize the tea party activists who helped him win by 1 percent in 2010 as an outsider—even though many of whom were unhappy with him this time around.
  • Heavily black and Latino precincts often have long lines and fewer voting machines on Election Day. Why?
  • Over the past few weeks, a number of Republican candidates have run deceptive advertisements or used sneaky language to paper over their hardline views on reproductive rights. Pols who've done this include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Senate hopeful Scott Brown in New Hampshire, and Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. Now you can add another name to the list of pro-life GOPers who are suddenly talking about choice: Oregon's Dennis Richardson. Richardson, a Republican state representative running for governor, cut an ad (watch it above) featuring a self-described "pro-choice Democrat" named Michelle Horgan. Speaking directly into the camera, Horgan says: "I trust Dennis. He'll uphold Oregon's laws to protect my right to choose, and he'll work hard for Oregon families."
  • “I HAVE come to save the day. And I won’t leave until I’m done,” sang the voice of Lenny Kravitz as a tour bus pulled into a factory belonging to Dial Machine, an industrial components firm. The crowd, made up of factory workers and people in their Sunday best, greeted the bus with cheers. They were there to see Bruce Rauner, the Republican running for governor in Illinois. The loudest cheers, however, were for his opening act: Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who has been to the state three times in as many weeks to support him.
  • Eight days before Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback may lose re-election thanks to the disastrous consequences of his deep tax cuts, the Wall Street Journal has published an apologia for Brownback’s supply side experiment. And if you’re willing to suspend your faculties of observation and critical thinking, you just may find it persuasive. You know you’re in for a real doozy when Allysia Finley, a member of the Journal’s editorial board and the piece’s author, begins by comparing Brownback’s tax cuts with the 19th-century struggle against slavery. “During the 1850s,” Finley writes “Kansas turned into a battleground for a proxy war between abolitionists and slavery supporters. Today, Kansas has become the flash point in another national debate, this one over government’s role in promoting growth.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York has more jobs than ever and that upstate New York is rebounding. Republican Rob Astorino talks about people fleeing to states with lower taxes and higher employment.
  • The Republican party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, shares space in a strip mall with Best Friends Pet Clinic, a cowboy-boot repair shop and a Chinese restaurant called the Magic Wok. Inside, on a recent Wednesday afternoon, a modest gathering of party faithful mill about, I'M A BROWNBACKER stickers affixed to their blouses and lapels. It's a terrible slogan. Four years ago, when Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback first took office, you might've wondered if these people, on some subliminal level, actually wanted to be humiliated by a filthy-minded liberal activist looking to add a new "santorum" to Urban Dictionary.
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott and former Governor Charlie Crist traded barbs on Tuesday over the minimum wage, the death penalty and racism in the Republican Party in the third and final debate of a close, bitterly contested race for governor. Polls show the two in an expensive, neck-and-neck race for the country's largest swing state, saturated in recent weeks by tens of millions of dollars of negative TV advertising. This time, both candidates took the stage on cue, avoiding another repeat of last week's embarrassing debate-delaying squabble over a cooling fan.
  • Pity the poor Republican governor. Take John Kasich of Ohio. He's caught between a state budget that has to be balanced every year, one of the least healthy state populations in the country, a deep purple electorate, a Republican legislature, and his own presumed presidential aspirations in 2016. For a time, it looked like he might also face a stiff challenge to keep his office this year, though an improving economy and a catastrophically gaffe-prone Democratic nominee leave him in the catbird seat.
  • Trailing in polls and money with just two weeks until Election Day, Democrat Wendy Davis on Monday cast her ballot on the first day of early voting and rejected talk that her bid for Texas governor is headed for defeat.
  • During a meeting with the San Antonio Express-News editorial board, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declined to answer the board's hypothetical about whether he would have defended a law banning interracial marriage.
  • Let’s talk about The Fan for a minute. Better yet, let’s consider The Fan. The Fan is now the hottest story in American politics. With good reason, because it was the strangest moment in a political debate this year, and precisely the sort of stupid thing that the Florida governor’s race deserves to hinge on. Last night’s debate between former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and current Florida Gov. Rick Scott got off to a late start. Both candidates were late coming to the stage. Crist showed up first, and the moderators explained that Scott was refusing to appear because Crist had a portable fan placed underneath his lectern, allegedly in contravention of the agreed-upon rules. After several minutes, Scott appeared, and the debate took place. You may watch, here:
  • On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued an order that would keep abortion clinics in Texas open, pending an appeal of a restrictive new law; all but eight had been set to close. Nine hundred thousand Texan women live more than a hundred and fifty miles from any of the remaining clinics. The Court’s action means that women won’t find closed doors, or be forced to drive hours to exercise their right to choose. The same day, though, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas could enforce a restrictive voter-identification law. This means that some Texans will be turned away when they go to choose a candidate. The Justice Department has said that six hundred thousand voting-age Texans don’t have the forms of photo I.D.