It is Election Day 2013. Here’s a roundup of all the big races being decided today.
In Virginia and New Jersey, residents are voting for their next governor, while in New York City, Boston and Detroit, the mayoral race is being decided.
It’s hard to say the New Jersey gubernatorial race is a even a race—it’s more an expected landslide, since Republican incumbent Chris Christie is expected to bulldoze Sen. Barbara Buono, WABC-TV, a New York ABC affiliate, reports.
Odds have it that Christie will destroy his opposition, even though many speculate that he will bow out in the middle of his term to court a presidential run. According to WABC, the polls showed him with at least a 20-percentage-point advantage over Buono, who campaigned without the endorsement of top national Democrats.
Christie spared no expense in appealing to the African-American or basketball-fanatic voter base, securing a surprising endorsement from NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, who urged supporters in a video clip to go vote for the governor.
In Virginia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is expected to win against Republican Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe has been consistently leading in the polls, particularly among female voters, although by a small margin, NBC affiliate WBIR reports.
Both men in Virginia have called upon the bigger forces in their respective parties, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) stumping for Cuccinelli in Virginia and attacking Obamacare. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden has been seen on the campaign trail with McAuliffe. McAuliffe was even joined by the president himself and Scandal actress Kerry Washington, both of whom campaigned on his behalf, WUSA9 reports.
For both gubernatorial races in these two very different states, voter turnout, particularly black voter turnout, is important to the outcome.
According to the Washington Times, in New Jersey Christie has procured about 30 percent of the black vote, which, for a Republican, is shocking. Meanwhile, Cuccinelli is not nearly as beloved among African Americans, getting only about 5 percent, a more typical result for a member of the GOP. New Jersey and Virginia could go down interestingly different paths if the minority voter base does not show up on Tuesday.
As far as the mayoral races go, in New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio, a city public advocate, is also poised for an easy win. Polls have him with 65 percent of the vote, while Republican Joe Lhota secures only 24 percent, Reuters reported.
According to Newsday, de Blasio, wife Chirlane McCray and their daughter, Chiara, voted in Brooklyn this morning, just before 10. At 15 his son, Dante, is too young to vote, but that didn’t stop the young de Blasio—easily identifiable by his wide smile and even wider Afro—from shooting a video endorsing his father earlier in the campaign, which some pundits have argued turned the tide of the race.
The ad “created a certain emotion, a definitive emotional connection between de Blasio and the voters that propelled him from fourth to first place in weeks,” New York-based Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf told CBSNews.com. “The diversity in his family … made him more believable as someone who could talk about income disparities in New York.”
De Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, has also been featured in her father’s campaign, in one video introducing him as not just “some boring white guy who just didn’t know what he was talking about.”
In Boston, racial matters are also a point of contention—more specifically the talking point that racism is rampant in the city. According to the Boston Globe, racial inequity and disparity exists across the board in almost every sector, from health care and education to civic engagement and the media.
“It’s the elephant in the room that none of us want to talk about,” said Michael Curry, president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, according to the Globe.
And it’s something that the two mayoral candidates, both white men, have surprisingly openly discussed during debates.
“There’s racism in all of Boston, systemic, institutional and structural,” John R. Connolly said when asked about racism in the police department, the Globe noted.
The other candidate, Martin Walsh, also admitted, “We have racism in the city of Boston that we have to deal with. We talk about one Boston, but we don’t see one Boston in the city of Boston right now.”
This has made Boston voters and several minority groups excited about the possibilities of the outcome of this election.
“They uttered a word that has not been part of the public discourse around the social, economic and demographic challenges facing the city of Boston,” James Jennings, a specialist in race and politics at Tufts University, told the Globe.
When Boston elects the new mayor, it will be interesting to see if either candidate keeps up with the opening they have created in engaging Boston residents in an open dialogue on race.
Finally, there is the sadness that is Detroit. With the city still reeling after its former mayor was sent to prison—Kwame Kilpatrick was recently sentenced to 28 years for corruption—and the city’s bankruptcy fresh on the voters’ mind, there may not be an enthusiastic turnout at the polls. Kilpatrick’s scams and deceit deeply hurt the city, which is now in a fragile state.
Businessman Mike Duggan is currently leading 2-1, according to USA Today, and if he wins, he’ll become the first white mayor of the 80 percent majority-black city since the 1970s.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, who is black, has the support of some labor unions and the churches, but he is still trailing. Right now, it seems, race isn’t as important to constituents as electing someone to hopefully pull the struggling city out of its rut.
“You look around here and just think, we need to try something different,” Robert Tucker, 64, who is black and a supporter of Duggan’s, told the New York Times. “We need a change, new blood, new thinking. I don’t really care what race he is.”
However, according to the Times, some feel as if not voting for Napoleon means giving up on black leadership.
“As an African-American man, I feel that there is nothing wrong with people feeling culturally connected to who they elect,” the Rev. Charles E. Williams II told the Times, saying that race is important for him and he would continue pushing for Napoleon’s election. “There’s no reason not to bring it up.”
Breanna Edwards is a newswriter at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.