Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Election day round up

There were primaries all over the country yesterday. You don't get to say this very often, but the big one was in Rhode Island where liberal Republican incumbent Senator Lincoln Chaffee fended off a challenge from conservative Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey. National Democrats were pulling hard for a Laffey win which would virtually assure that Rhode Island, a liberal state, would end up in the blue column come November.

State Republicans figured this out and Chaffee, who opposed President Bush on the Iraq war and tax cuts, won by a larger than expected margin. The Democrats still have a solid chance to defeat Chaffee in the general election but, given Chaffee ended his hotly contested primary with all the momentum, he should be a slight favorite to retain his seat -- which would be the death knell to the Democrats' dwindling hopes of capturing the Senate.

In New York big names Hillary Clinton and Elliot Spitzer
cruised to easy Democratic primary victories in their races for senator and governor respectively. The real fun was down the ticket where perennial election losers Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green squared off for attorney general. It was like the war France and Italy never fought, and it was won by the son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo. While Andrew will be the heavy November favorite, nobody's putting anything past him.

Voting booth
chaos reigned in Maryland, but Ben Cardin emerged the clear victor in the Democratic primary to replace retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes. There is a school of thought suggesting African American voters in Maryland could be persuaded to vote for black GOP candidate Michael Steele in the general election -- especially since Cardin's primary win came at the expense of Kweisi Mfume, a black candidate many African American voters thought was owed the Democratic nomination. But Cardin's eight point margin and Mfume's quick and enthusiastic endorsement of Cardin's candidacy means that scenario has little chance of developing.

Down the road in DC, somebody beat somebody else and that person will eventually, technically, be the mayor. But the big news was former mayor Marion Berry was
pulled over for running a red light at 3 AM Sunday morning. The officers suspected he was drunk, but Barry passed his breathalyzer with flying colors. Wisely, he refused a blood test.

This is the second time in the last few months when a "clearly impaired" Barry has frustrated law enforcement with a low blood alcohol reading.

Which is just to say Barry has learned it is best not mix alcohol with crack cocaine and automobiles.

Clever moves like that are why Marion Barry remains DC's real mayor for life.

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