Let me lay this out for you…
Beyond the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate being up for election, there are 37 Governors races, 30 Attorneys General races, and 46 state legislative races on the ballot in November. With such a huge turnover in political party control and leadership possible, the potential for change is actually a realistic possibility this time around.
Here’s where we are right now: Democrats currently control 26 gubernatorial seats, and Republicans hold 24 seats. Out of the 37 races, 24 of them have no incumbent running making them completely open-seat opportunities.
This offers a prime opportunity for Republicans to take control of not only the House, but also take back the vast majority of the governorships nationwide. And there is a path to victory here.
The top issues this election season are the economy, jobs, state budget deficits, taxes, health care reform, illegal immigration, and border security. It’s obvious the states and the people are sick and tired of being overwhelmed with an overreaching government focused on regulating every aspect of their lives, charging them high taxes to do so, and failing to protect and secure our borders. They have drawn the connection between Democratically controlled administrations and legislative bodies, and higher taxes, less national security, and a dramatic failure of government to deliver on their promises and a stagnation of the economy.
The whirlwind of issues combined with the volume of elections being held this year has created a perfect storm for Republicans to take back control of the US House, possibly the Senate, and the vast majority of the states. According to Real Clear Politics’ “No Toss-Up” predictor, at the end of 2010 we could be left with as many as 35 Republican governors, only 14 Democratic governors and 1 independent.
Current breakdown of Republican and Democratic Governors:
Real Clear Politics “No Toss Up” predictions:
The opportunities are obviously endless for Republicans this year, and the elections are theirs to lose. Fortunately, we’ve seemed to be staying on the right side of the issues and the majority of Americans are with us. However, there are a few things that could derail our path to victory.
While the Tea Party has done an excellent job in driving grassroots effort and bringing fiscal spending issues to the forefront, they have also put up several very inexperienced candidates against well-known name brand politicos and leaders. Though the intentions are pure and the anti-incumbency factor is strong, running political novices against the well-oiled Democratic machine could be potentially disastrous.
The Senate race in Nevada is a perfect example of putting up a well-stated, principled Tea Party candidate, Sharron Angle, against a long-known Democratic leadership incumbent, Harry Reid, and creating an unnecessary uphill battle. Yes, she sounded great in the primaries and she probably will be great if she wins, but here we are in the general election. Her target audience of voters has now changed, and she needs more than just the ultra-conservative vote if she ever expects to oust Senator Harry Reid. What should have been an easy slam-dunk win for Republicans in Nevada has now become a toss-up race. We’ll have to withhold judgment until after Election Day, but with them polling neck-and-neck, this race is far too close for comfort and could have been easily avoided by going with the mainstream Republican candidate.
We wish her the best and support Angle’s candidacy against Senator Reid, but it’s a risky move for Republicans in an era where we cannot afford to lose and must focus our efforts on what we need to do to win and take back control. There is too much at risk, too much for us to lose, by not being smart and selective about the candidates we put up to run against Democrats who are ready to fight for their political lives.
The 2010 elections are a light at the end of the tunnel for Republicans. Though the issues and the people are with us, we cannot lose sight of the end goal: taking back control and instituting common sense solutions in a time of government leadership’s lunacy.
** About the author: Lindsey Paulsen is a public affairs and political consultant based in Washington, DC.