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October 25, 2013 11:57 AM Slim But Significant Pickings Down-Ballot

By Ed Kilgore

As we get closer to the off-year general election date of November 5, it’s a good time to look down-ballot at state legislative contests in New Jersey and Virginia. Stateline’s Daniel Vock has a good brief summary of the landscape today.

With Democrat Terry McAuliffe now expected to win the governorship comfortably, it’s kind of a shame for his party that his potential coat-tails are limited: the evenly-divided state Senate is up two years from now, and Republicans likely have too big a margin in the House to lose control. On the other hand, if (as appears very likely) Democrat Ralph Northam defeats Bishop E.W. Jackson in the Lieutenant Governor contest, Democrats will get the tie-breaker in the Senate. But Northam’s election would also open up a Senate seat to a special election, as will either outcome in the third statewide race, for Attorney General.

In New Jersey, meanwhile, Democrats are pretty confident about holding onto both legislative chambers despite an expected big win by Gov. Chris Christie. “Independent expenditure” campaigns in the state have actually shown a pro-Democratic tilt this year, though Americans for Prosperity has put some money into New Jersey in an effort to secure a Republican takeover of the Senate, their nearest target.

It all bears watching if the top ballot contests in these off-year elections wind up, as now expected, lacking drama.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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