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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I went to bed before NJ or NY-23 was called, so while I'm slightly disappointed to see the Republican win in NJ after all (Booker '13?) I'm very glad to see the extremists cost the GOP that century-old House seat in NY-23.

Nate Silver goes race by race at Here's NJ:

Obama approval was actually pretty strong in New Jersey, at 57 percent, but 27 percent of those who approved of Obama nevertheless voted for someone other than Corzine. This one really does appear to be mostly about Corzine being an unappealing candidate, as the Democrats look like they'll lose just one or two seats in the state legislature in Trenton. Corzine compounded his problems by staying negative until the bitter end of the campaign rather than rounding out his portfolio after having closed the margin with Christie.
And here's NY-23:
NY-23: Democrat Bill Owens prevails in a result that will be regarded as surprising; the final tally isn't in yet but it appears as though it will be something on the order of 50-45 over Conservative Doug Hoffman. I don't think I've ever hedged more on predicting the outcome of a race; the main issue is that there was a rather large discrepancy between the polling, which heavily favored Hoffman, and what I perceived to be the facts on the ground. NY-23 is solidly Republican but not especially conservative (it voted for Barack Obama last year), and Hoffman was a relatively uncharismatic candidate with poor command of the local issues.

If New Jersey was a win for the incumbent rule, then NY-23 may have ben a win for the Median voter theorem, as Owens -- a conservative Democrat -- was actually much closer to the average ideology of the district than the capital-C Conservative Hoffman. It was also a reminder that all politics is local (sometimes). More than 95 percent of Hoffman's contributions came from out-of-district, and the conservative activists who tried to brand him as a modern-day Jefferson Smith never bothered to check whether he resonated particularly well with the zeitgeist of the district. In any event, this is a Democratic takeover of a GOP-held seat and they expand by one their majority in the House.
Like Kos, I'd have traded all three races for the Maine marriage-equality vote. That's a heart-breaker, and shows again why it's never a good idea for a society to put minority civil rights on the ballot. Another slight bright side: a civil unions bill passed the ballot in Washington state.