Tomorrow my current and future states of residence are holding primaries. In New York the Republican gubernatorial contest has generated quite a lot of controversy, even though the nominee is likely to lose to Andrew Cuomo, while I’ve heard almost nothing about the special senatorial contest, even though that nominee has a fair shot at unseating Kirsten Gillibrand. (There’s also a regular senatorial election that incumbent Chuck Schumer is a shoo-in to win, but the special election for the other seat should be much closer.) The top two Republican candidates for governor are downstate politician Rick Lazio, who lost to Hillary Clinton a few years ago, and Western New York developer Carl Paladino, who has tried to assume the “Tea Party” label. Paladino, however, is no libertarian, arguing for the use of eminent domain to stop the Park 51 mosque and for state-provided (voluntary) collective housing for welfare recipients. Recently he has been cosying up to the political establishment, causing even Tea Party types to despair of him. The Libertarians will run a candidate in the general election. Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo has made some noises about budget and labor law reform, but my default rule is always to vote against attorneys general. In the Republican senate campaign, economist David Malpass seems like the least bad option from a libertarian point of view.
Turning now to New Hampshire, things are a bit more interesting. There are hotly contested Republican primaries up and down the ballot, which probably means that given same-day registration, undeclared registrants will play a large role in the outcomes, as they did in the 2008 presidential primary, giving McCain the nod over Romney. In the senate race, Kelly Ayotte, Jim Bender, Bill Binnie, and Ovide Lamontagne have gone at each other hammer and tongs for the right to face Democrat Paul Hodes. Libertarians in the state have generally favored Bender, who describes himself as a social moderate and economic conservative and has made favorable noises about federalism and state autonomy on issues like marijuana. The candidate absolutely hated by libertarians is longtime frontrunner Kelly Ayotte, current attorney general who has repeatedly and consistently sided with law enforcement over the citizen. Many libertarians and Free Stater types have said they would rather vote for Hodes than Ayotte. Traditional right-wingers are backing Lamontagne, who’s rising in the polls. Binnie has spent the most money in the race but has sunk dramatically in the polls. If a large contingent of independents vote in the primary, I think Ayotte takes it. However, I can see many libertarians holding their nose and switching from Bender to Lamontagne to keep Ayotte out, so it’s still unpredictable.
The gubernatorial race pits the decreasingly popular conservative Democrat incumbent, John Lynch, against one of a field of Republican contenders. The establishment pick on that side is John Stephen, but both libertarians and conservatives tend to prefer fiery orator Jack Kimball. Lynch remains the favorite in the general election, probably even more so if Stephen doesn’t win.
There are two U.S. House districts in NH, and both have some excitement on the Republican side, especially with Republicans favored to take each seat. Moderate (but nowhere leaning libertarian) ex-congressman Charlie Bass excites few, but could probably squeak through in the general election in the second district, which is more liberal. He faces state rep Bob Giuda, who’s a libertarian-leaning conservative but little known and with no chance of winning, and middle-of-the-road conservative Jennifer Horn, who lost in 2008 but could probably win this year. In the first district, Manchester mayor Frank Guinta and former RNC committeeman Sean Mahoney are facing off. I have to admit that I had no idea who Mahoney was before this race but had long known about Guinta. There really haven’t been any reputable polls in the race, but I suspect Guinta wins it with the ground game.
P.S. My encounter with the town government seems to be over, not with a bang but with a whimper, which is just the way I like it. The inspector wants me to do a little more trimming, but the “tall grass and weeds” citation has been dropped! I guess you can fight city hall, if you know what you are doing. I could certainly see how someone with less persistence and more deference could have been intimidated by those citations, though. That tends to be the problem with regulatory bureaucracies: the weaker and less well endowed suffer more.