GOVERNING.COM COVERAGE & ANALYSIS IS HERE.
ELECTION NIGHT LIVEBLOG IS HERE.
I'll be on the 13th Floor Tuesday night, monitoring state and local election results, so make sure to stop by throughout the evening for the latest news. Here are 10 races and referendums we will have our eyes on:
Washington State Smoking Ban: There are some signs that the momentum in favor of smoking bans is slowing. Washington's referendum will be a good test of whether voters still support going smoke-free. Right now it appears likely to pass.
Detroit Mayor: As recently as a few weeks ago, controversial incumbent Kwame Kilpatrick appeared to be a goner. Detroit voters seem to be experiencing some sellers' remorse, however, as a recent poll has him down by only 3 percent. Challenger Freeman Hendrix is the candidate most suburbanites prefer, which likely makes him less appealing to the city voters who will actually decide the election.
Washington State Gas Tax Repeal: This referendum would reverse an increase in Washington's gas tax that the legislature passed earlier this year. Georgia already passed a temporary gas tax repeal in September, so if this ballot measure passes it could create some real momentum on the issue in legislatures nationwide. Right now the referendum appears headed to a narrow defeat.
New York City Mayor: In a contest between a liberal Democrat and a fairly liberal Republican, the Republican, incumbent Michael Bloomberg, has the edge.
Gay Rights in Maine: This vote will be a good test of the progress of the gay rights movement because similar votes in Maine in 1998 and 2000 went against the gay rights community. The measure seeks to overturn a state law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As of now, polls show the measure losing. In other words, gay activists are poised for a victory here.
San Diego Mayor: The San Diego mayoral race will hinge on voters' willingness to raise taxes in a time of fiscal crisis. Democrat Donna Frye is more amenable to increasing taxes than Republican Jerry Sanders to cope with San Diego's fiscal mess. Sanders may be ahead, but only barely.
Ohio Redistricting Changes: Ohio Republicans have been hit by scandals in recent months and as a result Democrats are pushing a number of ballot measures. They include a measure intended to remove partisanship from redistricting, limits on campaign contributions and other changes in how elections are run. Polls show mixed results. One interesting dynamic is that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is irking fellow Republicans by backing the redistricting measure.
California Referendums: Schwarzenegger has invested much of his political capital in passing a set of reform ballot measures highlighted by non-partisan redistricting and limits on state spending. Polls generally show the measures failing, although it depends how the questions are asked.
New Jersey Governor: Democratic candidate Jon Corzine is ahead in poll after poll, but he is struggling to crack 50% support. The McGreevey scandal ought to be helping Republican Doug Forrester, but the Democratic bent of the state appears to be giving Corzine the edge.
Virginia Governor: This one is as tight as they get. Amid all of the rhetoric about the death penalty, illegal immigration and other hot-button issues, an interesting policy debate is taking place. Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore favors widening I-66 (a major highway into Washington, D.C.) to reduce gridlock, while Democrat Tim Kaine prefers giving localities more power to restrain growth. Outgoing Democratic Governor Mark Warner's presidential ambitions would be aided by a Kaine victory.
Other elections we will be watching: Mayoral races in Houston, Boston, Cleveland and Buffalo, New York's budget ballot measure, Seattle's monorail vote, Texas' gay marriage referendum, New Jersey's measure to create a lieutenant governorship, Dallas' strong mayor referendum, legislative and other down ballot races in Virginia and New Jersey, King County's Executive election. And more!