Legislative Races to Watch Tuesday

While Virginia and New Jersey are the only states with regularly scheduled legislative elections on Tuesday, several states have irregularly scheduled legislative elections. If you'...
by | October 30, 2009

While Virginia and New Jersey are the only states with regularly scheduled legislative elections on Tuesday, several states have irregularly scheduled legislative elections. If you're getting frustrated clicking refresh on election returns in New Jersey, Maine or New York-23, here are a few races around the country that have caught my eye (in addition to the state Senate seat in Michigan that I mentioned the other day).

Alabama House District 65: This seat in Southwest Alabama opened up when the incumbent Democrat was elected to the state senate in another special election. The district traditionally favors Democrats in state elections. The interesting thing is that the Democrat who lost the primary here is loudly claiming that fraud was involved. Whether those allegations have given the Republican candidate an opening isn't clear to me.

Missouri House District 73: This St. Louis County seat tilts toward the Democrats, but it opened up when  the incumbent Democrat pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges. So, I'll be watching whether there's any backlash against the party.

South Carolina House District 48: The Republican incumbent moved to Kentucky earlier this year, creating an open-seat in this fast-growing district across the border from Charlotte. The only reason I mention this one is that the Republican candidate actually campaigned with Mark Sanford a few weeks ago. This seat ought to be a Republican hold, but if the Democrat pulls an upset we'll know who to blame.

Washington House District 16, Position 2: Of the races I've listed, this is the one I'm most confident will be close. Rep. Bill Grant, the Democratic incumbent, died in January. His daughter, Laura Grant, was appointed to the seat, but now must go before voters. The seat is a rare Democratic outpost in Eastern Washington. In the "top-two" primary in August, Grant received 46% of the vote to Republican Terry Nealey's 38%. Another Republican received 10% of the vote and an independent took 6%, suggesting the runoff between Grant and Nealey will be very tight.

Of course, there also are plenty of competitive races in the Virginia House of Delegates (where Republicans are expected to keep their majority) and the New Jersey Assembly (where Democrats are expected to keep their majority). The Richmond Times-Dispatch recently cataloged some of the close contests in Virginia, while the Star-Ledger did the same in New Jersey.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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