There will be no coat tails on Tuesday for President Obama. In spite of the â€œbarnstormingâ€� the president and vice president have done in New York Congressional District 23 for candidate Bill Owens, in New Jersey for Governor Jon Corzine or in Virginia for candidate Creigh Deeds, Democrats will not score big victories or perhaps any victories at all.
Letâ€™s look at snapshots of Tuesday's three major races:
Virginia: For the past few weeks Attorney General Bob McDonnell has has a double digit lead over State Senator Creigh Deeds. In 2008 Virginia went for Obama currently a Democrat occupies the governor's mansion. The issue on voters' minds is the economy -- first and foremost -- and that will also be a wake up call for the Obama administration. They should be focused on the economy and not on the manufactured "crisis" of health care reform.
New Jersey: The fact that New Jersey -- a royal blue state for Democrats -- is as close as it is in tomorrowâ€™s governors race should be very troubling for Democrats. As of this morning, the Republican challenger, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie leads the incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine by 1.5%. Even if the Republican candidate cannot squeak out a win, the fact that the race is this close, should send shivers up the spine of Democrats now and as they look ahead to 2010. The issue in New Jersey is jobs and the highest real estate taxes in the country.
New York: The New York Special Election to fill the vacant seat of Congressman McHugh is a mess. The District 23 seat in upstate New York has been a safe Republican seat for over a 100 years. We would not even be talking about this race had Congressman McHugh not resigned to join the Obama administration as Secretary of the Army. That is water over the dam.
The Republicans in District 23 selected Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava to be their candidate to fill the vacancy; she had the support of local, state and national Republican Committees. Then along comes conservative multi-millionaire accountant Doug Hoffman -- who wanted to be a spoiler -- he challenged the socially moderate/liberal positions of the Republican nominee.
Mr. Hoffman got the attention of nationally recognized Republicans like former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson. All three of these nationally recognized politicians agreed to personally appear with Hoffman and also appear in campaign ads. As a result Hoffman started to make headway in the polls. High profile Republicans, turning on one of their own coupled with the unlimited financial resources of the rich spoiler, spelled the end for the Republican candidate dropped out of the race this past weekend.
But hold on, because the story gets better. Not only did the Republican Scozzafava drop out but she endorsed the Democrat in the race: Bill Owens.
Republicans need to get their act together if they are going to be able to exploit the opportunities that are available in 2010 to take back seats in the House and the Senate. Turning on one of their own -- after the primaries and selection processes for candidates has run its course -- will spell disaster for Republicans. For major national party leaders to come into states to campaign against Republicans should be unacceptable. I do not agree with some Republican candidates and office holders but will support them for the good of the party. You cannot sustain a party organization with a â€œevery man for himselfâ€� strategy.
Today, I wrapped up some 10 regional radio interviews for FOX radio affiliates all across the country. The number one issue on the minds of Americans is the economy. It is all about jobs, taxes, the growth of government, spending and the deficit. People are scared and there is a â€œthrow the bums outâ€� mentality that is reminiscent of 1994.
Bradley A. Blakeman is a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. He was deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04.
Former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush