Two Elections And A Ballot Initiative To Watch Today

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It’s Election Day!

But it’s an off year; nationwide elections for all House seats and a third of the Senate seats won’t occur until next November. But still, there are a few interesting elections to watch — and here they are.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR

With a slew of elections in deeply blue states and cities, the biggest election of 2021 is for governor of Virginia. Although President Joe Biden thumped Donald Trump by more than 10 points in 2020, things have gone decidedly south since Election Day.

Most polls in the last week have put Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe within the margin of error — although one Fox News poll put Youngkin up by 8 points. But McAuliffe is clearly worried; he’s called on Biden to campaign for his twice, along with first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

During an interview at a campaign stop last weekend, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl said to McAuliffe: “You’ve got [former Georgia gubernatorial candidate] Stacey Abrams in here, two visits by the president, a visit by the Former President Obama, a visit by the first lady, a visit by the vice president. Why all the — why do you need all the help?”

“Well,” McAuliffe said, “we did this last time. I mean, we did the same thing in ’13. I mean, we always bring them in. This is what — this is the biggest race in America. Who doesn’t want to be here?”

In the waning days of the election, an alleged sexual assault in a school girls bathroom by a male student wearing a skirt — a story broken by The Daily Wire — along with outrage over school boards unilaterally deciding what children will be taught, took center stage. That has reportedly led to high enthusiasm by Republicans to hit the polls.

“In the 2021 election’s closing days, one McAuliffe aide conceded Republicans are more excited about scoring a dramatic upset that would send a message to the country than Democrats are about preserving the status quo — especially as many polls suggest that voters believe the country is on the wrong track,” the Associated Press wrote last week.

MINNEAPOLIS CITY QUESTION 2

Voters in Minneapolis will decide if they want to abolish their police department and instead use the money to build a “Department of Public Safety” to take its place.

City residents were incensed over last year’s death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, and some top Democrats began to push for the dissolution of the police department. This year, city leaders cut millions of dollars from its police department, but crime has soared in the city, leading to a counter desire to increase the police budget. In fact, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been forced to set aside money to recruit more officers.

The move is not exactly as portrayed by some outlets. While some have dubbed the move a “defund the police” effort, supporters say the ballot initiative will require the department to add trained mental health personnel to handle different situations, along with taking away control of the department by the mayor. The ballot question is as follows:

A “yes” vote supports this charter amendment to:

* replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety (DPS);

* have the mayor nominate, and the city council approve, a person to serve as DPS commissioner; and

* remove language from the Minneapolis City Charter on the police department, including minimum police funding requirements and the mayor’s control of the police department.

A “no” vote opposes this charter amendment, thus maintaining the existing structure of the Minneapolis Police Department in the Minneapolis Charter.

ATLANTA MAYOR

Like most of the city mayoral elections, the Democrats are set to win easily in Atlanta. While each of the 14 candidates for mayor are listed as “nonpartisan,” they sure all sound like Democrats.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms decided earlier this year not to seek reelection, opening the way for former Mayor Kasim Reed to jump into the race. He’s a top contender, as is Felicia Moore, the Atlanta City Council president.

The city’s spike in crime has been the central issue in the race, and Reed and Moore have taken different approaches to address the growing concerns of voters.

With crime exploding in Atlanta and its suburbs, Reed is promising to do the opposite of what Minneapolis proposes — add more officers to the police department. Moore, on the other hand, has said the city “can’t just arrest our way out of this crisis.”

Roosevelt Searles III, a 24-year-old who was previously homeless, is proposing a “100 day” crime plan that includes creation of several public safety accountability boards, audits of every city department and up to 100 city-owned drones to oversee the city.

What’s more, several candidates are residents of the upscale suburb of Buckhead, where top politicians recently made headlines by saying the community could soon secede from Atlanta.

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