Tuesday's Biggest Upset: You Pick 'Em
Even in this humdinger of a political year, the pathetic truth about our damaged democracy is that most voters will step into the booth on Tuesday only to find that many, if not most, of the races on the ballot are already decided.
Many elections, especially at the local level, are uncontested. And even at the congressional level, while there is at least token opposition in all of our local House races, the sad fact is that only the contest in Maryland's 1st District (Eastern Shore and parts of Anne Arundel County) comes close to being a tossup. Virginia Democrats crow about the fact that they have someone running in each of the commonwealth's congressional districts, but in all likelihood, there won't be a single photo finish among Virginia's House contests.
Around the country, there's been at least some progress toward more vibrant democracy since 1998, when I reported from Florida on the fact that 18 of that state's 23 House members faced no major party opponent. Fourteen of the incumbents didn't even appear on the ballot that year because they'd been declared winners when no one -- not even minor party challengers -- bothered to run against them.
Nationwide this year, there are, depending on which ranking you like, somewhere between 20 and 25 House seats for which there is no clear favorite. Another 40-45 seats are close enough that they are only considered to be leaning toward one candidate or the other. The Frank Kratovil-Andy Harris race in Maryland's 1st fits into that category, as do Virginia's 11th (Republican Keith Fimian against Democrat Gerry Connolly) and 2nd (Democrat Glenn Nye against Rep. Thelma Drake). If you want to be (probably overly) generous, you could add Virginia's 10th (Democrat Judy Feder against Rep. Frank Wolf).
Ok, so it's contest time. Vote for the race you think is most likely to end in an upset, then, in the comments section below, please come ahead with your more detailed prediction--name your upset, then give the percentage breakdown of the vote. I'll pick a winner late next week and ask the winner to get in touch so I can send along a prize from the Vast Vat of Values. And if you're so inclined, please add a tiebreaker to your comment by answering this question: Who will win the presidential race in Virginia and by what margin (expressed in percentage points)? Good luck, all.
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Posted by: JCequality | October 29, 2008 9:22 AM
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