It’s easy to forget, but Tuesday will be Election Day in two corners of the country.
In Nevada, residents of the 2nd congressional district will select their representative in Congress for the remainder of 2011 and 2012, choosing between Republican Mark Amodei, Democrat Kate Marshall, and two other candidates. Tim Fasano and Helmuth Lehmann.
Early voting has been brisk, with 20,038 registered Democrats, 32,068 registered Republicans, and 7,208 other voters casting ballots so far. That’s a healthy 12,030-vote margin for the Republicans, but there’s no guarantee that that translates to a 12,000-vote margin for Amodei.
Amodei’s closing negative ad compares Marshall’s cookie-cutter campaign rhetoric to that of some other well-known Democrats who aren’t polling well in this district these days:
And Amodei’s closing positive message is that “we’ve been promised recovery, and we’ve been given misery. Let’s send a message to Washington.”
A late-August poll from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling put Amodei ahead by only one, but there are signs that Washington Democrats are giving up:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s investment has been limited to a few field staffers dispatched from Washington. In truth, the party has all but given up on winning; early-voting numbers show a sluggish Democratic turnout, suggesting that Amodei is en route to a big win.
The two districts are mirror images of each other, in that Nevada’s is an R+5 while New York’s 9th congressional district, the district once represented by the infamous Anthony Weiner, is D+5 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index. But Democrats seem nervous about the chances of their nominee David Weprin, who’s apparently barely head of GOP candidate Bob Turner. For what it is worth, a poll of 2,055 likely voters by Magellan Strategies shows Turner with a four-point lead over Weprin. Patrick Brennan, NRO’s 2011 William F. Buckley Fellow, laid out why Turner could be “the Scott Brown of Queens” here.
Redistricting will force New York to lose a congressional seat in the 2012 elections, and so it’s possible that the winner of this special election will find himself running against an incumbent next November.
It’s worth noting that special-election victories don’t always foreshadow the trend of the following elections; Democrats enjoyed special-election wins by Scott Murphy and Bill Owens in New York, Ted Deutch in Florida, and Mark Critz in Pennsylvania in 2009 and 2010 before getting thrashed in the 2010 midterms; the GOP won special elections with John Campbell and Brian Bilbray in California in 2005 and 2006, and then went on to lose the House and Senate in 2006. But a GOP sweep on Tuesday would help set the conventional wisdom that 2012 is shaping up to be a tremendously difficult year for the Democrats.