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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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Reading the Tea Leaves on Primary Day

August 3, 2010 - 6:00 AM | by: Chris Stirewalt

In Missouri, primary voters will have the chance to decide whether to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall that would bar key provisions of Obamacare from going into effect in the Show Me State. Called Proposition C (you can read the ballot language here), the amendment would bar the federal government from enforcing the new health care law that requires every American purchase private health insurance or enroll in a government program. If the measure is approved, voters in November would have the chance to ratify the mandate ban.

The rest of the ballot is a pretty sleepy affair – the nominations for a Senate seat and other big races look to be cake walks – but we’ll still be able to get some insight out of this vote. Watch Democratic turnout and trends. Labor groups and other liberal organizations have been pushing against the measure and hope to see it fall short in the primary so they don’t have to contend with it this fall, when it may drive more Republicans to the polls. If Democrats turn out in droves to stop the amendment, that will be good news for Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan. If they measure is approved easily, though, that’s great news for Republican Senate candidate, Rep. Roy Blunt. Not only does it increase Republican turnout this fall, it lets him know that his opposition to the president’s health plan is striking a chord with voters.

In Michigan, Republicans have a great chance to take the governors’ mansion but first, they have to sort out a messy primary that has turned into a three-way tie between Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Attorney General Mike Cox, and businessman Tom Snyder. Snyder has spent heavily and seems to have the momentum heading down to Election Day. All three poll ahead of Democratic frontrunner, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, or the other Democratic contender, State House Speaker Andy Dillon.

Hoekstra was the early favorite in this race. He has a high profile from his national security work in Congress and represents the most Republican part of the state, the far west. Its home to Hoekstra’s socially and fiscally conservative Dutch Reformed brethren. Hoekstra also has the backing of Mitt Romney, a native Michigander and the son of a former governor. But Snyder has gained steadily over the long primary campaign, touting his experience creating jobs as CEO of Gateway computers and elsewhere in his career. He’s got the backing of the Ford family and the remaining Republicans of economically ravaged southwest Michigan and has been on air steadily throughout the campaign. Cox has been attorney general since 2003 and has a considerable statewide organization. He won statewide office the same year that outgoing Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm won office handily. Cox and Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land have been the only points of light for a beleaguered state GOP for nearly a decade. He’s also played up his participation in his suit with other attorneys general to block Obamacare.

The wild card to with is Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. He’s running behind the other three, but has a respectable 10 percent in polls. The fact that he is from the same side of the state as Cox and Snyder may be good news for Hoekstra, who won’t have to compete for the voters in his congressional district. If Bouchard does better than 12 percent, look for Hoekstra to pull out the win in this low-turnout election, especially since Cox seems a bit squeamish about the social issues that matter to Republican primary voters.

Click here to find more of our AEHQ Days to Decide coverage.

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