An Election Day Primer: What to Watch

I’ve done the hard work of finding out what’s interesting, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy Election Day.

Presidential Race

What to watch for: Number of write-in votes for “Bronco Bamma”

Why: Because someone inexplicably decided that every news outlet in the known universe needed to cover this.


What to watch for: Number of states Nate Silver predicts incorrectly

Why: Because in 2008 he got 49 of 50, plus the District of Columbia, plus every Senate race.  Can he do better this time?

Hint: This is not a good drinking game.


What to watch for: Whether Obama wins Minnesota, Michigan, or Pennsylvania

Why: Because longtime Obama strategist David Axelrod has agreed to shave his mustache of 40 years if Obama loses any of those states.  Coincidentally (or not?), these are the states Romney is pouring money into these past few days.


Bonus: Where to watch the victory celebrations

If Obama wins: Fox News.  It’ll be like the whole thing never happened.  “Election? What election?”

If Romney wins: MSNBC.  It’ll be worth it just to see how devastating the damage is when Chris Matthews’ head explodes.


Senate Races

Who and Where: Elizabeth Warren (D) vs. Scott Brown (R) in Massachusetts

Why: Everyone’s favorite Contracts professor against World’s Sexiest Man.  What’s not to like?


Who and Where: Claire McCaskill (D) vs. Todd Akin (R) in Missouri

Why: Akin, of “legitimate rape” fame, still has a chance in this one.  A 12 percent chance, according to aforementioned genius Nate Silver, but after those comments a 0.1 percent chance would be surprising.


Who and Where: John Tester (D) vs. Denny Rehberg (R) in Montana.

Why: It’s the closest Senate race this year, meaning that Montana is politically interesting for the first time ever.


House Races

Who and Where: Syed Taj (D) vs. Kerry Bentvolio (R) in Michigan’s 11th District

Why: Bentvolio is favored to win.  This is interesting, because Bentvolio is a reindeer farmer and Santa Claus impersonator whose brother says is “mentally unbalanced” and will “eventually serve time in prison” if elected.


Who and Where: Scott DesJarlais (R) vs. Eric Stewart (D) in Tennessee’s 4th District

Why: Incumbent DesJarlais, a pro-life Republican and former doctor, took a hit recently when it was revealed that over 10 years ago he had an affair with a patient, and worse, tried to persuade her to get an abortion.  Uh oh.


Who and Where: Joe Walsh (R) vs. Tammy Duckworth (D) in Illinois’ 8th District

Why: Tea Party darling Joe Walsh went up against amputee veteran Tammy Duckworth in one of this year’s most negative, and close, races.


Who and Where: Carol Shea-Porter (D) vs. Frank Guinta (R) in New Hampshire’s 1st District

Why: Recent polls have had each candidate up by more than 5 points.  Who’s right?


Ballot Measures

What: Maine Question 1, Maryland Question 6, Minnesota Amendment 1, Washington Referendum 74

Why: Maine, Maryland and Washington are voting on whether to allow same-sex marriage; Minnesota is voting on whether to explicitly deny it.


What: Idaho Propositions 1, 2, and 3

Why: They all do the same thing.


What: Michigan Proposal 6

Why: It requires that any new bridge or tunnel to Canada be subject to general referendum.  It’s been highly advocated by a company that already has a bridge to Canada and stands to lose profits to any new bridge.


What: Oregon Measure 80, Washington Initiative 502

Why: The “stoner states” up in the Northwest corner of the country are trying to legalize Marijuana for public use.


What: Oregon Measure 78

Why: In what is probably the most nerdy ballot measure in the country this year, Oregon wants to amend its constitution so that its government has three “branches,” like the rest of the country, instead of “departments.”


Nathan Reeves is a 1L. His column runs every other Tuesday.

The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Record. 

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