[Posted by Karl]
There’s good news in Senate races in Illinois, Connecticut, and Delaware; there’s good news in gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey. Looking past that, the GOP is probably going to take back the governor’s mansions in Kansas, Oklahoma, maybe Tennessee, maybe Wyoming. The GOP has to like their early chances in Ohio and Michigan. And perhaps most surprising, in Colorado, former congressman Scott McInnis leads Gov. Bill Ritter, 48 percent to 41 percent, and Ritter’s disapproval is 49 percent.
And now there are all kinds of interesting developments in New Hampshire…
Even in Massachusetts, one of the country’s most solidly blue states, Democrats are increasingly nervous about Gov. Deval Patrick (D), who recently drew a wealthy GOP challenger and has seen his approval ratings plummet since February.
Patrick’s counterpart in New York, Gov. David Paterson (D), is widely dismissed these days as a dead man walking and, according to polls, would lose to either Republican eyeing the race, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or former Rep. Rick Lazio. A survey this week showed that voters, so dissatisfied with Paterson, wish his disgraced predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, had never resigned. The silver lining for New York Democrats: Paterson will likely lose a Democratic primary to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who then looks strong next fall against both Republicans. But Paterson’s legacy could linger until November, when his Senate appointee, Kirsten Gillibrand (D), could face a tough race.
For that matter, Cuomo could be weaker than he looks. Geraghty extends the list to House candidates in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Florida, and Pennsylvania, even excluding races where Republican House members lost by a hair in 2008 and are thinking of running again. Soren Dayton totes up GOP wins in a batch of special elections for state legislative seats since November, while Geraghty notes that the GOP is gaining ground at the local level in Obama-friendly spots like northern Virginia. Beyond that, we are seeing discontent with the status quo in California and even Cook County, Illinois.
Don’t get me wrong — the GOP remains a zombie party at the moment. The party is politically and intellectually exhausted, largely leaderless, with a chasm between its elites and its grassroots. The rough parity on the generic Congressional Ballot among likely voters reflects a lack of enthusiasm for either party rather than gains for the GOP. But Americans have been pretty fond of divided government over the past few decades, and it seems that impulse is already playing out in these smaller, off-year elections. Moreover, the fact that decent candidates seem to be lining up for 2010 provides plausible alternatives, should the economy continue to plod or decline next year. It’s not good, but for Day 108, it could be worse.