Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, now eighty years old, is facing his most serious challenger in a long time. Paul Penzone is struggling with name recognition, but the race has been tightening in recent weeks.
In the newly-created 9th Congressional District Kyrsten Sinema, a former school social worker and defense lawyer, is slightly favored to become the first openly bisexual Congressperson in American history.
Proposition 30. A good bell-weather about income inequality. This measure would establish a small, temporary sales tax hike (0.25%) and temporary income tax increases for the wealthy in order to close the state’s huge budget deficit in education. With recent polling putting the yes vote on 30 just under fifty percent, it’s likely to be close.
Proposition 34 would end the death penalty in California. Too close to call.
Proposition 35 is a ban on human trafficking and sex slavery. Should be a no-brainer, I would think.
Amendment 64 would legalize and regulate marijuana. It's been ahead in polling, but not by much.
In the 8th Congressional District, Joe Walsh (who yelled out "you lie" during one of Obama's States of the Union) is looking like he’ll lose to Tammy Duckworth. Yay.
It’s a Republican-leaning state, but Richard Mourdock’s October comments about rape pregnancies being part of “God’s plan” seem to have hurt him badly in his Senate race. Democrat Joe Donnelly has led in two recent polls.
In Question 1, one of four marriage equality referenda nationally, the voters of Maine will consider repeal of a 2009 referendum banning same-sex marriage. Polling is looking good, but SSM referenda have historically tended to underperform polls. There’s reason for optimism, but no more. "Yes" is good here.
Maryland has Question 6, another same-sex marriage referendum, with perhaps the best polling data of any of the four. "For" is good here.
Incumbent senator Scott Brown has been leading strong progressive Elizabeth Warren for most of the race, but she’s starting to open up a lead — she’s currently at +3.5% in the RCP polling average.
Question 2, the legalization of physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, polling very strong.
Question 3, medical marijuana legalization, is also looking like a winner.
Proposal 2, which would add collective bargaining rights protections to the state constitution.
Amendment 1 is the country’s only attempt to place a ban on same-sex marriage in a state constitution this cycle. Polling has shown the amendment narrowly failing, but it’s really too close to call.
Amendment 2 would write a voter ID requirement into the state constitution. A similar law recently passed the state legislature but was vetoed by the governor. A mid-October poll showed it leading 53-40.
Michele Bachmann’s probably going to win. But it’ll be single digits, and a guy can dream.
Measure 80, the most dramatic of the country’s three pot legalization initiatives, is also polling the worst. Likely to fail.
Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana, is showing the strongest polling data of the country’s three pending pot referenda. Passage would set up a showdown between the state and the federal government, which independently criminalizes pot.
Tammy Baldwin is a solid progressive, and if she wins this race she’ll be the first and only openly gay senator of any gender in US history. She’s ahead or tied in each of the five most recent polls in her race, but only up by an average of 2.2 points.