By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
In the 20th District of New York, vacated by the appointment of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Republican nominee Jim Tedisco leads Democratic nominee Scott Murphy, 50 percent to 29 percent, according to Tedisco's pollster. That's not bad, but it's certainly not dispositive. Tedisco benefits from high name identification; he's the Assembly minority leader (and it's quite a small minority: Republicans have 41 seats and Democrats 109). Murphy is capable of self-financing, and in this one-media-market (Albany) district, that counts for a lot. On the other hand, it appears that Murphy has some tax problems.
In Virginia, pollster Scott Rasmussen shows Republican Robert McDonnell ahead of each of the three Democrats competing for their party's nomination—42 percent to 5 percent against former Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe, 39 percent to 30 percent against Delegate Creigh Deeds, 39 percent to 36 percent against former Delegate Brian Moran. McDonnell was elected attorney general in 2005 by a mere 320 votes; in accordance with Virginia custom, he has announced that he will resign that office later this month. None of these candidates are particularly well known to most voters, and none of them get close to 50 percent, so this must be regarded as a wide-open race.
In New Jersey, Quinnipiac reports that U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie leads incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, 44 percent to 38 percent. That's a pretty dismal number for Corzine. He's got all the money in the world to overcome it, but it may take more than money. New Jersey is in dreadful fiscal shape, with high taxes and oodles of big government.
In Illinois, former Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans school superintendent Paul Vallas is returning to Chicago and running as a Republican for Cook County Board president. In 2002, Vallas finished a close second to Rod Blagojevich in the Democratic primary for governor. The incumbent county board president is Todd Stroger, widely deemed to be a dim bulb; he got the job in 2006 after the incumbent, his father, John Stroger, became disabled after winning the Democratic primary. Barack Obama, by the way, supported John Stroger over a reform-minded Democrat in the primary and Todd Stroger over a reform-minded Republican in the general election. I interviewed Vallas when he was superintendent in Chicago and was mightily impressed.
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