We're into the home stretch before the elections of 1983, and a lot more contests than those in the District and Virginia are going on.
Some of the most visible elections don't seem to be very closely contested. Louisiana, for example, already elected a governor--Edwin Edwards, who served two terms in the 1970s--without a runoff. Democrats Martha Layne Collins and Bill Allain are reported far ahead in the races for the governorships of Kentucky and Mississippi respectively. In major cities, Wilson Goode seems likely to be elected mayor of Philadelphia and William Donald Schaefer will certainly be reelected mayor of Baltimore. Any politician who, on being introduced at a World Series game, gets a standing ovation rather than a chorus of boos is in good political shape.
Are there any elections that give us clues to voters' opinions on national views? Not many: most of these contests revolve around local issues, and the character and ability of local politicians. State legislative elections in Virginia and New Jersey have little national significance. More important, perhaps, are the two special congressional elections on Tuesday Nov. 8. Will the voters of Washington keep appointive Sen. Daniel Evans, a moderate Republican, in office? Or will they elect Rep. Mike Lowry, a strong backer of the nuclear freeze and opponent of nuclear power? Will the voters of the 7th Congressional District of Georgia elect Kathryn McDonald to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, the head of the John Birch Society, who was killed when KAL 007 was shot down? Or will they elect local Democrat George Darden, who supports the Equal Rights Amendment?
Tune in next week. But remember that even these federal elections revolve to a large extent around personalities and issues that are specific to the candidates themselves. Sen. Evans, for example, was a popular governor of his state for 12 years, which counts in his favor; Mrs. McDonald may get sympathy as the widow of the man who represented the district for five terms. These contests at most will give us some clues about the trend of national opinion--clues we can put together with the most recent poll results and try to understand what Americans really want. For a definitive response to the events of our time, we'll just have to wait till next year.