Sunday, October 31, 2004; Page A21
Kerry will swamp Bush in this overwhelmingly Democratic city. District voters also are poised to reelect Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) as their delegate to Congress. Former mayor Marion Barry is expected to win a ward seat on the D.C. Council.
The only question here is whether Bush can pull off a stunning upset. New Jersey voted heavily Democratic in the last two presidential elections, and Kerry has assumed he was safe here. But the state lost almost 700 people in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the GOP convention in New York City, which focused heavily on homeland security themes, gave Bush a boost in neighboring New Jersey. Democrats were not helped, meanwhile, when Gov. James E. McGreevey (D) said he would resign amid a sex scandal. Bush lost here by 16 percentage points in 2000, and he chose not to buy ads in metropolitan New York's costly market this fall to test the notion that he might be able to eliminate that gap.
Kerry briefly had hopes here after tapping Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for his ticket, but he dropped all TV ads. Gov. Mike Easley (D), seeking a second term, has held steady leads in polls over former state Senate GOP leader Patrick J. Ballantine. The marquee race is for Edwards's Senate seat. Former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine B. Bowles (D), the 2002 nominee, has seen his lead over Rep. Richard Burr (R) shrink to a dead heat. If Burr's momentum continues through this weekend, he should win. In House races, Democrats say Patsy Keever might upset Rep. H. Charles Taylor (R). Republicans Virginia Foxx and Patrick McHenry are favored to hold GOP House seats left open by retirements.
Although Kerry's campaign ran some last-minute ads in Northern Virginia, a Bush loss here would be shocking. In House races, the big question is Norfolk's Republican-leaning district, where Rep. Edward L. Schrock (R) dropped out of the race Aug. 30. State Del. Thelma Drake (R) replaced him on the ballot, but Democratic lawyer David B. Ashe hopes to snatch this district from the GOP.
Kerry had all but written off the Mountain State until recent polls suggested the race was close. Bush, nevertheless, has the edge. Gov. Bob Wise (D) is not seeking reelection, after acknowledging an extramarital affair. But Democrats expect to keep the office, with Secretary of State Joe Manchin III holding an edge over GOP nominee Monty Warner. In the House, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is favored to fend off former news anchor Erik P. Wells (D).