's Races to Watch




Massachusetts Fourth Congressional District: Barney Frank and Sean Bielat
Rep. Barney
Frank — the longest-standing gay member of Congress, a 15-term
incumbent, and a Democrat in a solidly blue district of Massachusetts —
took the unusual step of dipping into his personal savings to lend his campaign $200,000
last week. Just to be clear, he’s consistently polled ahead of his
challenger, a total unknown named Sean Bielat, by double digits.

Frank also hasn’t broken the 50% mark in any of those polls — a particularly
bad sign for one of the best-known pols in the state — and the GOP
novice and marine veteran raised $400,000 last month. A poll last week
put Frank 13 points ahead of his challenger, 46% to 33%, but with 11%
undecided, Bielat could turn this into a nail biter if the night turns
into a GOP tsunami. But if nothing else, the fact that Frank even had to campaign should send shivers down the backs of Democrats.

Minnesota Gubernatorial Race
only a few of us would know the name Tom Emmer had Target and Best Buy
not donated six-figure sums to a business PAC supporting his candidacy
thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which
struck down limits on corporate spending in elections.

The two corporate
giants claim the money was given to spur job growth in the state, not
push an antigay agenda. But if Emmer is elected over former Minnesota senator and Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Mark Dayton, the latter may be an unintended
consequence. Emmer, a state legislator, supports a constitutional
amendment banning marriage equality in the state, which already has a
statute barring same-sex couples from marrying.

The National
Organization for Marriage has included Minnesota among a handful of
states where it has run ads stirring up social conservatives. The organization
singles out Emmer’s opponents — Dayton and Independence Party candidate
Tom Horner — for pro–marriage equality stances. A recent poll of likely
voters by Minnesota Public Radio and the Humphrey Institute has Dayton running ahead with 41%,
compared to 29% for Emmer and 11% for Horner. 

Tags: Election