A number of key New York congressional seats were at stake election day last week. When all the votes were counted, though there were over a half-dozen competitive races only three districts changed partisan hands. One of those belonged to Hudson Valley Rep. Nan Hayworth, a freshman Republican who came in on the Tea Party wave two years ago and narrowly lost her seat this time around to Democratic attorney Sean Patrick Maloney. On Friday, Ms. Hayworth went on Richard French Live to look back on her unsuccessful election, as well as the broader national race.
“Look, Hurricane Sandy did have an effect on the public discourse,” she contended. “There are issues of momentum that affected races like mine. The President had a substantial percentage margin over Governor Romney and we had known if there were a really large margin for the president, above say 5 points, that that would be very hard for us to overcome structurally in the new district that I was running in.”
Although most of the attention last night was rightfully placed on the presidential race, a number of important state legislative campaigns were also waged, which, depending on how they turn out, could potentially have a significant impact on the legislation and policies that emerge out of Albany in the coming years. Notably, control of the New York State Senate hangs in the balance, and if Democrats win there, the party would control the trifecta of the state government as they already have an overwhelmingly majority in the State Assembly and a similarly aligned governor.
With one temporary exception, the senate has been continuously controlled by the GOP in recent years. Despite a large fundraising edge and an aggressive gerrymander which appeared to have locked in a Republican majority for the immediate future, a number of surprisingly strong Democratic victories pushed back against the conventional wisdom that they had no chance at reversing their fortunes this year,
Late in this year’s election cycle, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suddenly announced the creation of a “super PAC,” Independence USA, through which the billionaire mayor could funnel unlimited sums of cash to candidates who support his political agenda of gun control, gay marriage and education reform. Looking at the federal races Mr. Bloomberg aimed to influence through the new political action committee, however, a majority of his candidates narrowly lost last night.
For example, in western Connecticut, moderate Republican Andrew Roraback suffered a 48%-to-52% loss to Democrat Elizabeth Esty, despite Mr. Bloomberg spending more than a million dollars on Mr. Roraback’s behalf. Similarly, in another suburban seat, Mr. Bloomberg dropped roughly a million dollars boosting GOP Rep. Bob Dold in Illinois, only to see him lose by less than 1%. And, down in Florida, he spent more than $2 million in an attempt to vanquish Republican Congressman Dan Webster, but the incumbent still beat back a strong challenge from Val Demings, 52% to 48%.
President Barack Obama has a pre-election ritual where he plays a friendly game of basketball as the votes are cast. Today was no exception and the president hit the court this afternoon as voters across the country cast their ballots in what he has referred to as “my last election.”
According to tweets from Alexi Giannoulias, a longtime friend of Mr. Obama’s and a former Illinois State Treasurer, Mr. Giannoulias and Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen joined the president’s team to face off against former Obama body man Reggie Love and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Vice President Joe Biden, fresh off voting for himself in Delaware, returned to the pivotal battleground state of Ohio this afternoon to do a final round of campaign stops before polls close. And, true to form, Mr. Biden seemed to be having fun.
Approaching a booth at a Greek diner in Cleveland, Mr. Biden apologized for causing a commotion, jesting diners just came to get some spaghetti, “and Joe Biden shows up.”
Next, the vice president met, according to a pool report, “the number one Biden superfan.” The supporter, “struggling to contain excitement,” offered Mr. Biden her food before chanting, “Biden! Biden!”
In a conference call this afternoon, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign had one central message for their supporters when Election Day arrives tomorrow: They should “keep calm,” even if they hear snippets of information favoring Republican Mitt Romney.
“My warning, we need to stay calm for much of the day,” Stephanie Cutter, Mr. Obama’s deputy campaign manager, said, touting thousands of early ballots already submitted by voters. “We’ve already banked a pretty big portion of our vote.”
In a surprising announcement this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who left the Republican Party in 2007 and has been courted extensively by both presidential candidates, endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection. Mr. Bloomberg publicized his decision in a Bloomberg Viewop-ed and said Hurricane Sandy’s destruction and the need to tackle long-term climate change motivated his decision.
“We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks,” he explained. “His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”
In contrast, Mr. Bloomberg said Republican candidate Mitt Romney was “abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported,” and the issue is simply “too important” to let slide.