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2009/2010: Splitsville, NY-23

Stu Rothenberg on the '09 elections: "If George W. Bush were still in the White House, Deeds almost certainly would be elected governor of Virginia, so it's a little difficult to swallow the argument that national politics has nothing to do with the Virginia results. But it's also important to note that Virginia Republicans united behind their nominee and that McDonnell has kept his focus on jobs, taxes and transportation, rather than stressing social issues." In New Jersey, "[T]he result in the Garden State will say little or nothing about Obama."
And NY-23, "has become a two-way race between the Democratic nominee and the Conservative Party nominee… Owens deserves to be favored in the race, if only because of the presence of a credible Republican and a credible Conservative Party nominee. Democrats could win two out of the three races, but only because multicandidate contests might allow Corzine and Owens to sneak through with a minority of the vote.
"A win is a win, but even if that happens, it's not great news for Democrats for 2010. In fact, Democrats might be better off were Hoffman to win the special election in New York. Yes, that outcome would prevent Democrats from expanding their House majority, but a Hoffman win might embolden the Club for Growth and encourage conservatives to take on other Republicans who aren't entirely pure. And encouraging a bigger GOP civil war is something that could help Democrats win more than a single additional seat in the House."  

Nathan Gonzales looks at hyped House recruits who have flamed out. 
MASSACHUSETTS: The biggest issue distinction between the candidates the Boston Globe can find so far is on PAC contributions. 
NEW JERSEY: Gov. Jon Corzine has outspent opponent Chris Christie almost 3 to 1 over the course of the gubernatorial campaign, PolitickerNJ reports. He has raised $24.1 million so far and spent $23.6 million of it. $22.6 million of the total come out of Corzine's own pocket. Christie has "maxed out on matching funds," having raised a total of $11.7 million and spending $8.8 of it. Independent candidate Chris Daggett has raised $1.3 million and spent $1.2. "The totals do not include heavy spending by outside groups or money raised or spent by the candidates after October 20." 
During a word-association portion of a Monmouth University focus group, which included 10 white state residents between ages 30 and 70, Corzine was paired mostly with negative associations: "corrupt," "crooked," "too liberal," "incompetent," and "it's probably not fair, but Carla Katz." Christie received more positive connotations, like "law enforcement," his take-downs of "crooked politicians" and his being "aggressive" and "ambitious" in a positive sense.  He did get some negative responses, however, including "untrustworthy" and "science fiction" -- a reference made by one panelist in what he saw as Christie's overly vague plans.  
NEW YORK: "If his poll numbers stay in the tank, Gov. Paterson will 'reassess' in early 2010 his decision to run for election, the Daily News has learned."
NY-23: Mitt Romney didn't explicitly endorse Doug Hoffman, but on FOX he said, "I have chosen not to endorse the Republican candidate in New York's 23rd District. and that should speak a certain amount of volume. I can't endorse our candidate in that race." 
RNC chairman Michael Steele announced his support for the embattled GOP candidate in the special election, Dede Scozzafava. Steele told MSNBC, "I support the Republican nominee, as the Republican Party chairman, and that's the way it should go."

VIRGINIA: A Virginia Commonwealth University poll released yesterday showed Bob McDonnell leading Creigh Deeds 54% to 36%.