The Five Political Races You Need to Follow This Tuesday

November 5, 2018

© Salisbury Daily Times

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By Gabriela Arevalo

 

Fewer Americans vote during midterms than in presidential elections, but this year it is expected that more voters than usual will turn out to the polls.

For Republicans, it’s a fight to continue to be the party with majority control not only of the White House but also the Senate and House of Representatives. For Democrats, it’s the opportunity to put the brakes on the current politics that fly in the face of their ideology.

Each race will have an impact on the population, but certain races will give us a forecast for what we can expect for the future of the country, show the impact of certain minority groups, or will affect you directly in your community. These are the five races that you should follow closely this election.

 

NATIONAL 

 

Texas: Ted Cruz (R) vs. Beto O’Rourke (D) 

Possibly the most closely followed race in the United States, Congressman Beto O’Rourke is aiming to unseat a current Texas Senator and the runner-up for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election, Ted Cruz. Cruz has attacked O’Rourke for using a Spanish nickname, though he himself does not go by his given name, Rafael. O’Rourke has suggested that they have a debate in Spanish (O’Rourke is bilingual while Cruz has said his Spanish is not good).

What will be decided? 

Texas usually skews Republican, but has had Democratic leaders, and with this election it’s possible that the red state will turn blue, or at least purple. It could be a forecast of how the state will vote in the presidential elections of 2020.

 

 

Florida: Ron DeSantis (R) vs. Andrew Gillum (D) 

The election for the next governor of Florida is shaping up to be the one in which race will have the biggest impact. In the latest debate between the candidates, Gillum stated “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.” Meanwhile, DeSantis has accused Gillum of political corruption in his current job as mayor of Tallahassee.

What will be decided?

Florida is one the states that most influences presidential elections, especially in recent years. But with a frequently changing population, it’s difficult to determine how Floridians will vote. Around 16% of the population is Latino, and around Miami many of them are Cuban and tend to vote Republican. This could change with the thousands of Puerto Ricans who were displaced after hurricane Maria and found shelter in Florida. They can vote, and many are upset with how the Republican administration handled the disaster in Puerto Rico.

 

 

Georgia: Stacey Abrams (D) vs. Brian Kemp (R) 

The race for the next governor of Georgia could be decided this November 6, or it could continue into December- the state’s laws indicate that a candidate needs to win over 50 percent of the votes, and with such a tight race between the politician and the Secretary of State of Georgia, both candidates are ready for a longer race.

What will be decided? 

If Abrams wins, she will be the first African American woman in history to be elected governor in the United States. Given that there are already accusations of Republican-led voter suppression, especially of minority groups, this race has attracted national attention.

 

LOCAL 

 

Virginia: Barbara Comstock (R) vs. Jennifer Wexton (D) 

If you watch local television, you’ve seen commercials for both candidates. Comstock, the current representative for the 10th district of Virginia is facing Jennifer Wexton, who seeks to be the first Democrat in almost 40 years to represent Clarke, Frederick, Loudon, and Manassas counties, as well as parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. Comstock has voted for many of Donald Trump’s policies and Wexton is using this as the foundation of her race, while Comstock has tried to distance herself from Trump and focus on local issues.

What will be decided? 

In recent years, Virginia has begun to lean blue, and voters in Northern Virginia seem to be ready to prove that they are not on board with the politics of Donald Trump. Still, as we saw in the presidential election almost two years ago, what people say before elections is not always in line with what they do at the polls.

 

Maryland: Larry Hogan (R) vs. Ben Jealous (D)

Larry Hogan, the current governor of Maryland, is one of the most popular governors in the United States. Though he’s Republican, he has distanced himself from Donald Trump’s politics and in the 2016 election instead of voting for Trump he wrote in his father, former congressman Larry Hogan, Sr. In a state where Democrats exceed Republicans two to one, it should be an easy win for Jealous, an activist and journalist, but Hogan’s popularity may prove to be a huge obstacle for him.

What will be decided?

Hogan has focused part of his policies on improving the state’s economy, but his critics say that those paying the price for them are students and people who use public transportation. Jealous has promised to focus on the state’s health system, instituting policies that will battle police corruption, and creating a more inclusive economy.

 

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