It’s easy to only get excited about elections during presidential election years, but even off-year elections can be interesting. Of course, the midterm elections aren’t until next year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequential elections taking place this year. In fact, there are a few races in particular that I plan to watch the results of, and you may want to pay attention to them, too.
Buffalo mayoral race
Normally, this isn’t a race that would earn national attention, except that long-term Democrat incumbent Byron Brown was defeated in the primary by Democratic socialist India Walton. As someone who worked in the city of Buffalo for several years, I’ve never been a fan of Byron Brown. In fact, one time I openly insulted him while he was in earshot in a downtown Buffalo Starbucks. But India Walton makes Byron Brown look like Ronald Reagan. In addition to her radical politics, she was arrested seven years ago for threatening to kill a coworker. Nevertheless, Walton has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
So, in a bizarre turn of events, I’m actually rooting for Brown, who has launched a write-in campaign since his defeat in the primary. Brown is still favored to win the election, but successful write-in campaigns aren’t easy.
New Jersey gubernatorial race
I know… Democrat incumbent Phil Murphy is favored to win this race. If I were betting money in this election, I’d put my money on him, too. However, the reason to watch this race will be to see by how much (or how little) he wins the race. Joe Biden won the Garden State by 16 points last year, but his approval ratings are now 43% in the state, down from 55% in May. This decline could have a huge impact on turnout. I am generally not a believer in bellwethers, but Murphy’s margin of victory could be an indicator of how Biden’s unpopularity will hurt Democrats in 2022.
And who knows? Despite polls showing Murphy with a decent lead, I can’t discount the possibility, however unlikely it may be, that Republican Jack Ciattarelli could pull off an upset. It’s unlikely, but New Jersey did elect Chris Christie as governor twice. So I’d keep an eye on this one, if only to see what it might tell us about how Joe Biden is hurting his party.
Minneapolis City Question 2
The collective insanity of the radical left knows no bounds. In the wake of the death of George Floyd last year, the “defund the police” movement has become mainstream enough that even Joe Biden embraced it on the campaign trail. But Minneapolis residents will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to abolish the city’s police department.
It’s hard to imagine how such an initiative could pass. Cities that have managed to defund their police departments have seen disastrous results, and Minneapolis has enough problems. The city is facing a shortage of police officers, and homicides have skyrocketed in the past few years. If the ballot initiative passes, a new Department of Public Safety would be in place, and it would be subject to the whims of the radical city council.
Virginia gubernatorial race
This one is perhaps the most significant race that pundits will be watching on Tuesday. After leading the race for the majority of the campaign, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is now trailing Republican Glenn Youngkin in the RealClearPolitics average. McAuliffe has seen his lead disappear with Biden’s tanking popularity and the emergence of parental rights in education as a key issue of the campaign. A Youngkin win will devastate Democrats nationwide, as the race has become the key election to watch to gauge Biden’s drag on his party—even in a blue state. Some pundits even say that should McAuliffe lose, Joe Biden’s agenda goes down with him.