2014 Midterms – Races I’m watching

Midterm elections are tomorrow. Here are the races I’ll be keeping an eye on:

Measure D:

This is a soda tax measure on the ballot in Berkeley. The tax isn’t perfect, and I was initially opposed to it. However, the intensity of opposition to Measure D made me realize this wasn’t about creating the ideal soda tax, but taking a step in the right direction.

Measure S:

This is a Berkeley redistricting measure designed to create a student district for City Council elections. Even for those that share the goal of a student district, the boundaries S would impose are controversial. Many students, myself included, are not part of this so-called student district – and I live across from campus. But on a more fundamental level, I don’t think a student district would be the best way to let the student voice be heard in City Council. Indeed, having just one designated student representative would allow the other City Council members to easily mute the student voice. I’m hoping S fails and we can have a fresh debate about student representation on City Council.

CA – 07:

Congressman Ami Bera is in a tight race with former Congressman Doug Ose. While I was in DC, I told Bera he ought to run for Governor. He smirked and said something about getting him reelected. I hope he gets reelected. And runs for Governor.

CA – 17:

Congressman Mike Honda is up against Ro Khanna, who’s been district (s)hopping for some time now. A DC taxi driver once yelled at me incredulously for suggesting Honda might lose. He then went on to mention that Honda was his favorite member of Congress. He was also the only member of Congress he knew. The interaction gave me an idea of the role Congressman Honda plays in creating a positive image of the United States internationally. It is highly doubtful Khanna could do that. Further, I have yet to hear a single coherent argument for voting Honda out of office.

Side note, it seems both campaigns have released internal polls showing the race being close. Given the decisive margin by which Congressman Honda won the primary election, I’m highly skeptical about these numbers and do not expect a close race.

HI – 02:

Here’s to Congresswoman Gabbard getting an upgraded office next Congress.

Texas Governor’s Race:

It is unlikely Wendy Davis can win in Texas, but that was clear from the outset. Battleground Texas needed a candidate for short-term excitement while trying to build long-term infrastructure. While one can hope for a miracle, the bigger question is whether excitement about making Texas more competitive over the long-run will remain after the election.

Georgia:

In the early 1970s, Georgia had a Governor named Carter and a Senator named Nunn. That might be happening again.

Other Senate races:

Overall, the big question is whether Democrats can keep the Senate and most models predict Republicans have the advantage. On Thursday, the New York Times Editorial Board predicted a Republican Senate would lead to more gridlock. While I would prefer the Senate to stay blue, I am skeptical about this diagnosis. Nominations might be slowed down, but even a Democratic Senate with relaxed filibuster rules has been sluggish on nominations. Republican control of both Houses of Congress, combined with Republican Presidential aspiration in the Senate, ought to give rise to at least some compromise. The House will no longer be able to blame the Senate for blocking everything, and vice versa.

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