Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
If there's any state where it's clear that Democrats will clean up next month, it's New York. Hillary Clinton will get a big win in her Senate reelection bid, while Eliot Spitzer, the state attorney general, is not only favored to win the governorship but may take as much as 70 percent of the vote.
E.J. Dionne, a liberal columnist for The Washington Post, writes that the NY GOP has been weakened by a confluence of factors. The party marchinery is worn out after 12 years of running the state (or at least the governor's office). Reagan Democrats in blue-collar upstate areas are upset about the bad turn the local economy has taken, and blame the incumbent (national) party. And suburban Republicans are put off by the social conservatism of that same national party.
As I said, Dionne is a liberal -- he closes his column by musing, "As New York goes, so goes the nation?" That may be wishful thinking on Dionne's part, but there's no question that happy days are nearly here again for Empire State Democrats.
With the top of their ticket looking so strong, it's no wonder that several other Republican seats are in play. As many as five or six upstate House seats now held by Republicans could fall to the Democrats.
Those are U.S. House seats. Democrats are certain to hold the New York Assembly; they've held the majority since 1974. But what about the state Senate? Republicans have withstood all political tides and retained their majority since 1966. Is it finally time for a change?
No one I've spoken with in New York thinks Democrats can take the five seats they would need for control. (The current partisan breakdown is 35R-27D.) Thanks to the wonders of redistricting, even Democratic Senate leaders have expressed hopes of chipping away, not actually seizing control.
From our aerie here on the 13th Floor, we've debated whether there might not be some surprises come November 7. Count me as skeptical -- but how long can the GOP hold out in one institution alone, when they've been so badly weakened elsewhere?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.