Larry J. Sabato wonks out on two races this fall where candidate selection may make all the difference. Nevada:
In a year when Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is being severely tested in Nevada, the state’s Democrats chose to balance the ticket by nominating his son Rory for Governor. That’s right, a controversial and embattled U.S. senator in dire straits was paired on the ballot with a dynastic candidate from his own household, thus offering the voters two helpings of an unpopular surname. Tea Party Republican nominee Sharron Angle is so controversial that she may reelect Harry Reidthough few seem willing to bet on that outcomebut the Democrats have ended their hopes for the governorship already. Republican nominee Brian Sandoval should easily dispatch Rory Reid on November 2nd. By the way, should Harry Reid survive, it is Republicans who will regret their failure to recruit a sure winner like Congressman Dean Heller, who probably would have been elected to the Senate with many votes to spare.
Jerry Brown was a strange choice to be the Democratic nominee for Governor of California in an anti-establishment year. This lifelong politician and former two-term Governor is a throwback to the 1970s and a very different time in the Golden State. The truth is that few promising, fresh candidates even considered a candidacy to run this massively troubled state, and in the end Brown was virtually unopposed for the Democratic nomination. If anyone who might be in charge of California’s hopeless budget and paralyzed governmental system could be called lucky, Brown is fortunate to be running in a state that is now so deeply Blue that this intrinsic partisan advantage may get him elected over Republican Meg Whitman. Yet Whitman is pulling out all the stops, having spent over $119 million of her own money on the campaign, more than any political self-funder in American history. For Whitman, a campaign fundraiser is lunch with her accountant.